Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
and on Twitter

I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Culture Man: An Adventure

Culture Man: An Adventure, Guy Cook, 2017, Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Rob is a resident of present-day England, specifically, the town of Winchester. He runs a blog where he commits to do one culture thing per week, like visiting a local museum or art gallery, and then writes about it. Marianne, his ex-girlfriend, is a biochemist for a major food company.

One day, Rob makes himself a peanut butter and jam sandwich. It's not jam, it's one of Marianne's biochem creations. Combined with a painful, but non-fatal, bite from a lizard during a previous trip to Greece, Rob suddenly gains super-hero powers.

No, he does not turn into the Incredible Hulk. He does gain the ability to run 100 meters in six seconds, and he can fly. The first thing Rob wants to do is to win a local tennis tournament. Because of his culture blog, Rob starts to call himself Culture Man.

Every super-hero needs a super-villain. Someone called the Velvet Vandal has evidently been reading Rob's blog. That is because items from the places mentioned in the blog are stolen. The two eventually agree to meet at the top of Winchester Cathedral for the Final Confrontation. Who is the Velvet Vandal? Does someone fall dramatically to their death from the top of the cathedral? Are Rob's abilities permanent or do they have an expiration date? Does an ambitious Oxford Professor of Biochemistry have any involvement?

This is a very "quiet" superhero tale, but a very good one. It shows what can happen when an average person becomes a super-hero. Yes, it is well worth the reader's time.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Reign of the Vedic Gods

The Reign of the Vedic Gods: The Galaxy of Hindu Gods Book 1, Swami Achuthananda, 2018, Relianz Communications Pty Ltd.

This book attempts to introduce the reader to the world of Hindu gods. There are a million of them (gods, that is).

Ganesha is the one with the head of an elephant. He was created, according to one folk tale, because Shiva (his father) had been intruding too often on Parvati's (his mother) bath. Using the dead skin and dandruff from her body, she created a son and gatekeeper. After Shiva is driven away by Ganesha, Shiva gets furious and chops off his head, not realizing that it was his own son. Parvati is very upset, but Shiva tries to console her by putting the head of an elephant on Ganesha's body. Shiva is known as the god of destruction; he does not do so well at creation.

Indra, the greatest of the Vedic gods, was hidden as a baby for a long time. Prithvi, his mother, did it to keep him away from a jealous Dyaus Pita, his father. At the time of his birth, humans were in the midst of a major famine, because the demon Vritra had stolen the clouds. There was a major battle between Indra and Vritra, which was won by Indra, and the rains returned. Indra also defends people and animals from other demons, leading to his becoming ruler of the universe.

Most Hindu and Aryan holy books talk about there being thirty-three gods (a reasonable number). So where did the number of 330 million gods come from? The book also talks about India's caste system, still entrenched in Indian society, despite attempts to change it.

First of a series, this book does a very good job at painlessly introducing the reader to Hindu gods. As a suggestion, for anyone who wants to learn more than the basics, read about one god at a time, instead of trying to understand all of them. This book is the place to start.