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Of interest, if a bit warmed over and not entirely satisfying at times.

Marking the 20th anniversary of his blog, the bestselling science-fiction author gathers posts from 2013 to 2018.

Scalzi (Head On, 2018, etc.) is never shy about speaking his mind. A socially liberal independent and self-declared “Rockefeller Republican” who no longer votes for the GOP on the national ticket, he includes several posts on the buildup to the 2016 election as well as some composed during the Donald Trump era. The previously topical pieces, particularly those written when it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would become president, taste bitter and are not exactly useful now that their moment has passed. But there are also a number of strong posts on being a feminist ally and the evils of harassment, assault, and prejudice of all kinds. (His 2014 post on Jian Ghomeshi has taken on fresh relevance now that the disgraced Canadian media personality has resurfaced.) The other posts filling out the book include film reviews and musings on pop culture; anecdotes from Scalzi’s past that express his deep love for his family, friends, and felines; and some extremely useful bits of life advice sparked by current events (the one about how to make a sincere apology is particularly clear and helpful). The author is skilled at distilling liberal anger into cogent arguments and talking points. Sadly, his posts regarding politics in the science-fiction community have been omitted from the book. Perhaps he doubted their wide appeal, but given that his readers are likely part of that community, it seems a shame that he failed to include any of those posts, particularly the ones regarding harassment at conventions, which many regard as helping to set new policy. The blog-post format can also feel abrupt on the printed page. However, what the book suggests is that it would be interesting to see Scalzi write a series of long-form, wider-ranging essays on evergreen topics. Perhaps he might also share more about his writing process.

Of interest, if a bit warmed over and not entirely satisfying at times.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59606-894-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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