Tag Archives: book reviews

Born From Stardust and Other Poems, by Victoria Zigler – Book Review

Born From Stardust and Other Poems By Victoria Zigler – Book Review

The title poem in this collection begins as follows:
“We’re born from stardust, you and I,
And that alone’s the reason why
I’m pretty sure that when I die
I’ll join the stars up in the sky.”

Born From Stardust is a beautiful poem, and the book of the same name is a highly enjoyable and thought provoking read.

Amongst my favourite poems is “When Mummy Missed Story Time”, in which the poet poignantly describes the emotional reactions of a young child when it’s mother won’t read a bedtime story due to her fear that she has the Corona Virus, and her very natural desire not to pass on the infection to her son/daughter.

There are several other poems which touch on the pandemic, including one dealing with the impacts of social distancing on the individual and on society as a whole. I can relate to this series of poems, and it is a topic which I have, myself tackled in my own poetry.

Other poems deal with the threat posed by climate change. Again, this is a fine series of poems.

The serious poems are interspersed with lighter pieces such as “When Even the Beach is to Hot”:

“You know the temperatures are too high,
When even the beach is too hot!”

The above poem is especially apt at the moment given the very high temperatures we have been experiencing here in the UK and elsewhere.

I have read a number of Victoria Zigler’s poetry collections, and in my view this is her best thus far.

(Note: I received a free copy of Born From Stardust and Other Poems” in exchange for an honest review)

You can find Born From Stardust and Other Poems here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stardust-Other-Poems-Victoria-Zigler-ebook/dp/B095Z78L8P

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – Book Review

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Never-Let-Me-Go-Audiobook/B00LCHY9AM?qid=1618125902&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=E7DR700310ZFRFNCR62W

Summary:

In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England.
Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship, and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

My Review:

Hailsham is a seemingly idyllic setting for privileged boys and girls. It is a boarding school with acres of land, in which the welfare of the children and their education is overseen by “the Guardians”.

Cathy and her friends are encouraged to produce art, the best of which is taken away by “Madame”.

As the novel progresses, the reader is left with a growing sense of unease. Why is “Madame” fearful of the children? And why does she take their best work away to “the gallery”?

There is no cruelty at Hailsham, yet Miss Lucy seems troubled and attempts to communicate to Cathy and her friends something of their fate when they leave Hailsham.

As the story unfolds, we learn (following the departure of the students from Hailsham), of “carers” and “donors”. Every student from Hailsham (and the other institutions in England) must take their turn caring for donors, before themselves becoming donors.

The children reared at Hailsham, and other similar institutions are clones whose purpose is to provide organs to non-clones.

Much of the horror of the story lies in the euphemisms employed to describe horrific acts. The word donor implies a willing person who provides a kidney or other organ for reasons of altruism. However, in Never Let Me Go the students/clones have no option other than to furnish their body parts. Again, donors do not die, rather they “complete”.

There is no mention of any secret police in the novel. Therefore it is not clear how the state ensures that the clones fulfil their destiny and donate organs. Donors are not (as in Huxley’s Brave New World) subjected to intensive conditioning, yet there is no indication that any try to avoid their fate. This is, for me an issue with what is, in general a very well written novel. It seems almost incredible that none of the clones would attempt to rebel against the system.

There is talk by Ruth, Cathy, Tommy and other students about the possibility of students who have produced great art being, somehow able to defer their fate as donors, particularly if they can demonstrate that they are in love. To find out whether this is, in fact the case, you will need to read the book.

A Review of my Further Selected Poems

I was delighted to receive the following review of my recently published “The Further Selected Poems of K Morris”:

“Once again this author has delivered an enjoyable collection of poems, which are a pleasant mixture of different styles, with topics that are often either amusing or thought-provoking. “This Winter Sunshine” and “as I Go” are favourites of mine from this collection, along with “There Once Was A Turkey Called Paul” – the latter of which I found amusing. “To A Departed Dog” was my absolute favourite out of all the poems though, and really spoke to me.”

To read the original review please visit this link, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3869462686.
To read a sample or to purchase the book, please visit https://www.amazon.co.uk/Further-Selected-Poems-Morris-ebook/dp/B08XPMGD3F/.

Effect of Producing a Second Edition of a Book on Book Reviews

I am considering revising/extending my “Selected Poems”, as there is new material which I would like to include. Consequently I am thinking of producing a second edition.

I would be grateful for the advice of my readers regarding whether a second edition would mean that the reviews in respect of the current (and only edition) would be lost? Or is it possible to publish a second edition whilst keeping the reviews for the first one?

You can find my “Selected Poems” here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Kevin

A Wonderful Review of My “Selected Poems”

I was pleased to receive a wonderful review of my “Selected Poems”. To read the review please follow this link, https://echoesinanemptyroom.com/2020/10/21/the-selected-poems-of-k-morris/.

To read a free sample, or to purchase my “Selected Poems”, please go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.

A 4 Star Review of My Book “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not So Serious) Poems”

I was delighted to receive a 4 star review of my book, “Light and Shade”:

“This is a short book of contemporary poetry and limericks, many of which are either pandemic themed or in some way fitting to today’s turbulent times.

I enjoyed this book very much …”.

To read the review in full please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3503147312?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1.

“Light and Shade” is available in Kindle and paperback, and can be found here https://www.amazon.com/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems/dp/B08B37VVKV (for the paperback edition), and here https://www.amazon.com/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems-ebook/dp/B08B4X3GVX/

My Review of “The Wolves of Vimar” by V. M. Sang

I recently finished reading “The Wolves of Vimar”, by Vivienne (V. M. Sang). I greatly enjoyed the book and I have posted the below review on Amazon:

“I don’t usually like fantasy literature, however this was an excellent read which I thoroughly recommend. I shall be reading the other books by this author.”

You can find “The Wolves of Vimar” here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wolf-Pack-Wolves-Vimar-Book-ebook/dp/B00CJ16VZ6/

A 5 Star Review of my book, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not So Serious) Poems”

I was delighted to receive the below review of “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”:

“it was amazing
This is another enjoyable collection of poems by this author, where the poems are split in to a couple of different sections: one for more serious and
thought-provoking poetry, and another for humerous poetry. As is generally the case with collections like this, while I liked all the poems, I did enjoy
some of them more than others, with “The Point of Poetry” and “The Weather Was Chill” being my favourites from the first section of this collection, while
“Vanity” and “When a Young Lady Named Leigh” were my favourites from section two.

*Note: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the
book or the contents of this review.”

To read the original review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3399756232?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1.

To purchase or read a sample of “Light and Shade:

For amazon.com customers please click here

(for the Kindle edition), and here

(for the paperback).

For amazon.co.uk customers please follow this link

(for the Kindle edition), or click here

(for the paperback).

“Not Our Kind: the Problem of Book Reviewing Through Tribal Identification”

https://freebeacon.com/culture/not-our-kind/.

The above article is worth a read and is self-explanatory. As for the poem which sparked the article (which is linked to from within the piece), from a personal perspective the literary work is not particularly to my taste. However the attacks on the poet, Anders Carlson-Wee), which are detailed in the article, appear to me to constitute a gross over reaction to what he wrote and I must confess to being somewhat surprised by the fulsome apology of the periodical which published it.

The poet subsequently apologised for the poem and was (again” criticised for saying that the comments received where “eye-opening”, the criticism being predicated on the fact that blind people can not see and, therefore the language being construed as “ableist”. As someone who is registered blind I have no problem with the use of terms such as “eye-opening”. Indeed I have used this term myself and also frequently say to friends or acquaintances “see you around”, by which I mean not that I will (literally) see them, but that our paths will cross again.

Ultimately any work of literature should be judged on its literary merits not whether it offends a particular community and/or individual. Writers should not be constantly thinking could what I am writing possibly cause offense? If we go down that road we risk a stilted literary environment in which I don’t wish to live.

A Reader Writes

I was delighted to receive the following comments, in an email entitled “A Poem That I Love”, from Lorraine Lewis, regarding my collection of poems “Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind”:

“Kevin,

We just downloaded your book into a PDF Reader.

Wow!

What a lovely book. Thank you Kevin. I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE the piem, “ ‘Ere We Die.” It is just what we have been talking about.

Your poetry is brilliant. I like it because it is not long and drawn out, and over wordy, but gives just something to think about. It is lovely. Thank you so much Kevin.

Lorraine”.

My thanks to Lorraine for granting me permission to reproduce her comments verbatim. Lorraine blogs at BlindWilderness (https://blindwilderness.wordpress.com).

You can find “Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind” here http://moyhill.com/lost/, and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AF5EPVY