Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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Jim C Hines is going to start a Kickstarter soon.


And has everyone been "buying" books free or otherwise too?  Because I have.

Still free

Gazpacho for Nacho - Tracey C. Kyle, Carolina Farias

This is an excellent book. I love the use of a family cooking together as well as the recipe and glossary in the back of the book.

Nice little children's book

Biscuit in the Garden - Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Pat Schories

I love the use of the garden and birds in this wonderful children's book.

[(Down the Rabbit Hole)] [Author: Juan Pablo Villalobos] published on (October, 2012) - Juan Pablo Villalobos

If you have seen Narcos on Netflix, then you should read this book. Seriously.

Villalobos' book is at once both horrifying and brilliant. Told from the viewpoint of a young boy who reveals far more than he believes, the book looks at not only the drug trade but also people's responses to it.

And the names are important.

Still free for kindle, at least in the US

Mother Goose Picture Puzzles - Will Hillenbrand

This is an excellent little book that teaches children to read using picture puzzle.  In other words, instead of a word, there is a image.  The illustrations are lovely.  I love the fact that there lesser well know nursey rhymes included.  If you like nursey rhymes, this is worth picking up.

Good bu

Hatch! - Roxie Munro

This is a very informative book about birds and eggs.  It is designed for children but doesn't talk down to them.  However, the kindle edition is badly formatted.

Booker Winner?

The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel

Mantel has won the Booker, twice, for the first two books in this trilogy and the odds of the final volume making it a trifecta are pretty good.


If you know anything about the Tudor period, you know how Cromwell's story ends.  If you don't, well why are you reading this?


You could say that Mantel perhaps gives too much detail, and that would be fair.  But I should note, I read this after reading a shorter book, and in half the amount of time, I read more pages.  Mantel's prose does take you away.


What I like best about this series is how Mantel presents Cromwell himself.  Cromwell has always been a shady figure.  Always there, always doing, but always unknowable.  While Mantel makes him more accessible, she keeps that aura of unknowing, suggesting that Cromwell kept himself hidden from himself.

Free Comics



Master link  ;


There is close to 800

Free kindle book

Hope Never Dies - Andrew Shaffer

AS’s book of poems, Let’s See Them, is currently free.

Free Apple books

So Apple is offering a bunch of free ebooks as well.  Most of them are also offered on other ebook platforms, but they do have kids books that Kindle isn't offering for free - including Ghostwriter ones.  This includes free comic books as well.

Got an issue wth this one

The Hungry Shark - Tamia Sheldon

While some sharks do sometimes eat seaweed, they also eat meat, so the fact that story features a shark that eats seaweed and not meat is a bit strange. The artwork was nice

The Door - Margaret Atwood

Some of the poems are absolutely lovely - like the Owl and the Pussycoat homage or the poem about Joan of Arc. Some, quite frankly, could have been shorter.

Great book

The Changeling - Victor LaValle

There are people out there, and I bet you know at least one, who believe that fantasy fiction is simply genre fiction. That it is, to borrow a phrase that appears in movie reviews by people who do not read or watch fantasy very often, little more than magic and Morris men. (I've only ever seen Morris Men in Terry Pratchett, btw). These people are stupid. But you knew that. What you should do is direct them to this book.

LaValle's novel is on one level about marriage, about parenthood (fatherhood in particular), race, and class. It is an example of literature, of pointed societal conversation, of a love of books. On the surface the story is about Apollo and how he becomes a man and eventually a father. It takes a bit for the plot (and title of the novel) to kick in, but when it does, it does. The build up is, in fact, excellent writing. Reminded me a bit of James Baldwin.

When the title takes hold, the book becomes literature and good fantasy. LaValle does not disregard or drop the issues that he raises in the beginning but incorporates them in the fantasy narrative, which is what good and excellent fantasy does. Apollo's pain and uncertainty as he struggles to find meaning or sense out of what has happened are real, are heart rending.

Seriously, just read it.

Standard reading for Montreal

The Tin Flute - Gabrielle Roy, Philip Stratford

Dickens is well known for his shining his light on the working class of London. But Gabrielle Roy did the same for the working class of Montreal. The drawback with Dickens is that he never bothered or even thought about women; perhaps because she was a woman Roy does. The focus of the story is on the family LaCosse, in particular the eldest daughter Florentine and mother Rose-Anna and how the women have to negotiate lack of money and society as Canada enters the Second World War.

While there is focus on men – in particular Rose-Anna’s husband and the character of Jean, who becomes a man of interest for Florentine, the heart of the novel is on the struggles of the women. There are the long descriptions of Rose-Anna’s struggle to find hearth and home. Her anger about the family’s inability to afford things for her children – new clothes, school, a tin flute.

And that is the pathos of the novel, the struggle to achieve to become more. Whether or Florentine achieves it is left to the reader, but the book is about the restriction of options that poverty brings as well as how those who say the will buck the system are actually those who perhaps make it worse, who lack caring.

It is not a hopeless book but it in some ways it is a braver book than any of Dickens work.

Kindle Freebie at least in the US

I am Malala - young reader's edition

RIP Albert Uderzo

One of the creators of Asterix, Albert Uderzo, has died at the age of 92. 


Mary Beard wrote an excellent article on the books.  You can read it here