The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack

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A History of India by Michael H. Fisher

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 26, 2022 at 7:10 AM

A History of India by Michael H. Fisher

I think that India proved to be too vast and complicated for a single Great Courses Text. Fisher gives a good try starting in prehistory and going to the present day, but I always felt like he was jumping around and rarely making connections between his topics. The first sixteen lectures are a highlights reel of events before the sixteenth century. Then he slows down a little, but I still felt like we were leapfrogging through history tryin...

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Black Orchids by Rex Stout

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 25, 2022 at 8:40 AM

Black Orchids by Rex Stout

I like the shorter Nero Wolfe mysteries even more than I do the full-length novels. They’re obviously more compact and that makes me feel like I can digest them more quickly and that deludes me into thinking I have a better chance to figure out who committed the crime—not that I came anywhere close to doing that in either of the two mysteries in this volume.

 

The heart of the first story is the black orchid of the title...

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The Odyssey of Homer by Elizabeth Vandiver

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 24, 2022 at 6:55 AM

The Odyssey of Homer by Elizabeth Vandiver

I’ve read The Odyssey more frequently than I have The Iliad. It’s always been primarily an adventure story for me and in addition to the text, I’ve enjoyed reading about the places that might have inspired the fabulous lands discovered in this poem. What Vandiver does in this Great Courses book is give you the substance behind the epic that makes it clear why this book has resonated with audiences for millennia and why ...

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Hell for the Holidays by D.M. Guay

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 23, 2022 at 5:45 AM

Hell for the Holidays by D.M. Guay

This novel is a wonderful walking calamity slowly unfolding for the reader’s pleasure. It starts with our hero, Lloyd, enjoying some paid vacation for the holidays so he can escape the insanity that is his job where he keeps demons from escaping into our world. Then the problems begin. Too much snow is forecast on the night of his mother’s annual Christmas Eve Party. The in laws, who hate each other, all arrive early for Christmas be...

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Perry Mason 33 The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom by Erle Stanley Gardner

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 22, 2022 at 9:00 AM

Perry Mason 33 The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom by Erle Stanley Gardner

I’ve only read a couple of Perry Mason mysteries but this one was by far the most fun yet. It starts with Perry finding a beautiful woman on his fire escape who is trying really hard not to be seen or identified. He then gets pulled into the kind of case that wouldn’t be nearly such a big deal today. His client has divorced his first wife in Mexico and then gotten remarried. He thought she also ...

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The African Experience by Kenneth P. Vickery

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 21, 2022 at 8:50 AM

The African Experience by Kenneth P. Vickery

Here’s a wonderful overview of mostly Sub-Saharan African history from the dawn of humanity to the present day. That’s a heck of a lot of material to cover and Vickery does a masterful job of exploring the highlights of early human existence, Africa in the pre-colonial period, the colonial period, and the post-colonial struggles. Vickery also struggles for balance in his presentation, so this is neither overly romantic nor...

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Why Economies Rise or Fall by Peter Rodriguez

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 20, 2022 at 7:10 AM

Why Economies Rise or Fall by Peter Rodriguez

Peter Rodriguez manages to talk about global economies without getting bogged down in all the “isms” like capitalism and socialism. He looks at the major economic events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and explores both success (the Japanese Miracle, the Asian Tigers, China, India, etc.) and failures (Japan, China, Latin America, etc.) (And yes, I realize some of those nations are in both lists.) It’...

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Destroyer 52 Fool's Gold by Warren Murphy

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 19, 2022 at 6:30 AM

Destroyer 52 Fool’s Gold by Warren Murphy

This is the best Destroyer novel in several books. Chiun and Remo look like the master ultra-human assassins they are and they have a mission which shows off their skills nicely. The main plot revolves around an ancient plaque inscribed with the writing of a lost South American kingdom of traders that is found in a cave in the U.S. and tells of a mountain of gold hidden somewhere. The world is instantly interested and Remo and Chiun...

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Faded Steel Heat (Garrett Files #9) by Glen Cook

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 18, 2022 at 6:55 AM

Faded Steel Heat (Garrett Files #9) by Glen Cook

Be warned, this is a good story, but only if you can get past the first fifty pages. During those pages, I set the book down four different times and wasn’t certain I wanted to pick it up again. After those fifty pages, Cook spends less time on annoying banter and starts to develop a mystery that is centered at least in part on the Weider family who often appear on the borders of Garrett’s other adventures. The Weiders ...

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Gotrek and Felix 12 Zombieslayer

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 17, 2022 at 6:00 AM

Gotrek and Felix 12 Zombieslayer

Victory was turned into an even worse danger at the end of the previous book and now Gotrek and Felix must turn the tide of a zombie apocalypse if they are to save the Empire. And just in case stopping a constantly growing army of the living dead isn’t hard enough, they also have to find a way to keep Snori Nosebiter from finding his doom because he’s lost his memory and will be damned if he dies before he recovers it.

 

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