Review: Kidnapped

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kidnapped is an excellent adventure. I found some of the Scottish history a bit less interesting than I had expected, but the emotional immediacy of David’s experience more than made up for my own failure to understand the Jacobite risings/rebellions. The old Scottish English gets a bit thick, but I thought Stevenson handled it very well, and the annotations carried me along when I needed them.

I do find a little fault in Stevenson’s considerable spoilers delivered through chapter titles, foreshadowing, or outright explanation. When possible, I’d rather not know what to expect for the next ten or thirty pages. This comment is a bit unfair, as every other page did bring some new and exciting scene or another, but the experience was similar to being told that around the corner there’s a hungry dinosaur that will chase you until you reach the forest. Really cool stuff might happen during the twenty pages between the dinosaur and the forest, but I’d rather things felt a bit more open. Does it have to be the forest?

Anyhow, it’s a great read.

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Review: Green Hills of Africa

Green Hills of Africa
Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Green Hills of Africa is a book about a hunting trip. I mean it. I thought the hunting would provide a backdrop and some framing for the real story within, but I gave up on that about halfway through. So, I just admired the prose and took in the sights. That was enough. I mean that too. Every time I cracked open the book, I was utterly transported to Hemingway’s Africa. I just wish he’d been doing something more interesting than shooting at every damned thing with a horn.

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Review: The Amateur Emigrant

The Amateur Emigrant
The Amateur Emigrant by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not a whole lot happens during Stevenson’s trip from Scotland to San Francisco, but he does find quite a bit to say about the six thousand mile journey. Mostly, he complains, but I like the way he complains. The Amateur Emigrant is a witty 19th century travelogue full of first-hand descriptions and candid observations.

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The AUDIOBOOK version of The Captain’s Door by C.S. Houghton


The AUDIOBOOK version of The Captain’s Door by C.S. Houghton is now available on! Sit back, drive, or get some housework done while listening to narrator K Orion Fray bring Mina’s story to life with her skillful and emotional performance. Enjoy! (And, get it free if you sign up for Audible!)

The Captain’s Door on

Rating: Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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“Estragon: We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?
Vladimir: Yes, yes, we’re magicians.”

― Samuel BeckettWaiting for Godot


Review: The Nick Adams Stories

The Nick Adams Stories
The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My attention has been elsewhere lately, mostly on NaNoWriMo and my own writing, so I wasn’t sure if I would do any more than choose a star rating and move on after finishing The Nick Adams Stories. However, I want to throw some of the blame for my current state of disinterest in Hemingway’s direction, or at least towards those who posthumously pieced together this volume. I understand the need and desire for a collection like this, with works both finished and unfinished, polished and trashed, all thrown together in some sort of chronological Nick Adams life-order. Still, only about half of the stories held my interest to the end. Much of this collection drives home Hemingway’s good judgement — he knew better than to publish every scrap of beautiful prose he penned.

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EPIC in character NaNoWriMo encouragement sent by my ML

My regional NaNoWriMo municipal liaison, and narrator of the upcoming audiobook version of The Captain’s Door, K Orion Fray @SonRevolutionKF, just sent me what might be the most epic note of encouragement ever recorded:

letter to Craig from Rohad.mp3

The whole thing is written and recorded as one of my own characters. I love it! That’s some serious NaNoWriMo coaching!

C.S. Houghton

Rating: White Fang

White Fang
White Fang by Jack London
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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