July reviews: part 2

Just a few books this time round. There’s a bit of variety in this set of reviews. Enjoy.

Male Sex Work and Society
Edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott
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Harrington Park Press
28th April 2014

In this collection of essays the editors and a variety of other authors discuss male sex work in a sociohistoric context, the social issues and cultures of male sex work and the global context of that work.

Much social policy regarding prostitution is focused on female sex workers; male sex work is usually ignored or marginalised. There is very little discussion or research in to male sex workers. This book aims to open discussion and concludes with suggestions for further research areas.

Review

It was a rather random choice to request this book for review from Net Galley.  It was certainly an interesting experience. Prostitution is not something I’d ever read much about, at least not in a modern context. This was certainly an interesting volume.

Some of the chapters, especially the early ones, were rather simplistic in their approach but the chapters that covered global research in to male sex work, often from original research, was much more in-depth.

An important introduction to the subject.

3/5

Close Reach
Jonathan Moore

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Random House Publishing – Hydra

6th May 2014

Kelly and Dean have spent three years sailing round the world one and a half times. They’re down in the Southern Ocean enjoying the Antarctic summer when they hear a distressed young woman over the radio. What follows next is a life altering (and ending) experience.

Review

I sat down to read two or three chapters, just to get started, and before I knew it I’d read all 190 pages and it was half one in the morning. This is a damn good maritime thriller with gripping action, and compelling character development fot the main character, Kelly. It’s really about the things we’ll do for the people we love.

I could really see the way the main characters’ boat moved through the high swells as Kelly and Dean try to outrun their pursuit, a crab boat manned by Chilean fugitives. The details of sailing seemed accurate and added to the realism of the narrative.

4/5

Reading Style
A Life in Sentences

Jenny Davidson

Columbia University Press
  Jun 24 2014

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Book Website

Review

This book is built on the basis of a lecture, a lifelong love of reading and of words.

It shows.

Covering a wide range of texts and authors, Jenny Davidson discusses why some sentences are loved and others aren’t. There is a certain degree of depth but the book has the tone of extended lecture notes. That isn’t inherently a criticism; for a general reader it certainly provides an entertaining introduction to literary theory.

For the student or educated amateur it’s not an ‘essential’ text;there was too little content in the short chapters, not enough ‘meat’ to get my mental teeth into, nothing for me to chew over. I would say that that is my real criticism. It’s disappointing from a university professor; I was disappointed that the book didn’t live up to the expectations aroused by the blurb.

2/5

And finally, from an indie author I found on Twitter and who’s book is available from Smashwords, we have

He Who Fights and Runs Away: Broken Dark Season 1 Episode 1

Taylor P. Davidson

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Smashwords
2014

Six hundred years from now humanity has spread out in to the universe, leaving Earth but taking the old animosities with them; there’s a new British Empire, ruling giant spacestations and terraformed planets, fighting wars of defense against the European Union and everyone else. A new Prohibition Era is implemented (because people never learn) and a vicious crime syndicate has arisen to supply the demand for illegal booze.

On Calgany, the Alcohol Enforcement Agency lead a raid against the major players, one of whom is Lisa Tant, an infamous smuggler, ex-soldier and veteran of a guerilla war against the EU. When the Agency raid her warehouse, Lisa and her crew are forced to make a run for it. Splitting up and separated from their ship the smugglers try to get to their designated rendezvous point.

Review

The story unfolds with a filmic quality, switching between locations and characters, building the narrative and hinting at the backstory without bogging down in detailed history. Some of the characters are slightly two dimensional, particularly the law enforcement officers who seem to have stepped out of an American cop show before being anglicised. Thankfully the smugglers are more rounded.

In general, I’d say I really enjoyed this short book. The action was gripping.

It’s not a criticism when I say this book reminds me of the TV programme Firefly. I like Firefly, it’s a brilliant series. It has the same elements of an international space community, smuggling, fugitives running from the law, past conflict and old grudges returning to haunt the characters.

There’s only one irritation with this book; my internal editor had the mental red pen out on several occasions. There was several instances of the wrong word used, eg too instead of to, on page 10, clumsy phrasing, missed words, words in the wrong order. I have a list. The author should probably have a quick look through his manuscript and do some editing.

3/5

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