The Infernal by Kim Wilkins

639895I started reading this early May but put it aside to deal with health issues. I had to have a tumour taken out of my face and was in hospital for a little over 2 weeks, so you can imagine I wasn’t in the mood for horror. Also, it was hard to read as my eyes were swollen and as they recovered, they got tired and on top of that, I didn’t have the concentration to read a novel. Magazines, short stories and collections of short journalistic pieces have been my latest reading materials. But I’m back (sort of) to novels! Hurrah!

I’m a fan of Kim Wilkins and own many of her novels. This is her debut novel and I chose this for the Read Harder challenge. I could even double-dip and count this for fantasy, but I think that would be stretching it as it is more urban horror. It is a good story and a really good debut. Plus I am glad to say that Wilkins novels has improved! This is a good scary story and even while it is a reread for me, I had forgotten who the reincarnated sorcerer was – I was sure it was either boyfriend or the would-be boyfriend, but it totally came as a surprise to me. Again!

I do have some quibbles (when do I don’t? Maybe I’m too harsh) but overall, a good story – atmospheric mixed with realism.

 

The Hidden Web: Finding Quality Information on the Net – Maureen Henninger

2034122This book is going straight into the recycling! Not because it is bad mind you. This was published in 2003 – reprinted 2004  (this book is 13 years old) and a lot has changed in the world of www resources since then. The majority of the resources listed are defunct. Does anyone remember the Altavista search engine? That is the problem with this sort of book – which should never be a published book in the first place because the speed of change makes it almost obsolete as soon as its published. Some of this was a trip down memory lane. I was goggling at the old PubMed interface. Hehehe! Lists of resources – these used to be called subject gateways, have now been taken over by LibGuides software. And there has been some noises from library land about whether subject guides are actually useful. It is a fact of life that the majority of people will go to Google first if they have an information query – and hopefully one of these guides will come up in the list of answers! But probably not. Google was built on the CLEVER model developed by IBM which used link analysis (bibliometrics and scientometrics) – concepts developed by Eugene Garfield and his company Institute for Scientific Information (home of the citation indexes). That’s the one useful thing I learnt from this book and seeing that Eugene Garfield died recently, it is sort of appropriate. I have yet to finish reading this book (it is very hard to read it actually, it is very didactic with lots and lots of screenshots). I’ll test out a few more resources before it meets its recycling end.

Anecdotes & Antidotes – Harry Cooper

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I finished this some time ago and I guess it is time for me to write a review before I pass this book on for another reader to discover. This was given to me some time ago, I forget by whom. It’s written by a vet working in country practice who achieved local fame by appearing on a home and garden program called Burke’s Backyard. Cooper then went on to star in his own program called Harry’s Practice. I don’t think I watched any of those (animal hospital and rescue programs make me cry so I avoid them), but I did watch Burke’s Backyard for a time. Cooper is what you’d call a very ‘ocker’ person and this comes through in his writing (off-putting for me). Some of the stories are quite entertaining though. His anecdotes about his time working in the UK after university, and his tussells with wombats are fun reads. However, there is a terrible poem at the back of this collection of autobiographical stories. I know it is a tribute to his beloved dog (featured on the cover) but still.

The White Mast – Philip Johns

800px-Celtic-knot-basic-edit.svgI bought this book at a library sale about 20 years ago so it has all the usual library markings on it. It is a children’s (or young adult) fiction which wasn’t obvious at the time when I bought it. What caught my eye was the title illustration of a white ship done in celtic style on a dark blue background. There was no Goodreads entry until I made one – not surprising though as it was locally published by an outer south-east Melbourne publisher. This is a story about a mysterious house that repels people’s attempts to climb the wall to see into the grounds. What is the mystery of the house? That description was on the back cover and that intrigued me too. It’s an enjoyable story with a good mystery but the ending is a bit weak and leaves all sorts of unanswered questions. This isn’t a reread for me so I’ve listed it on Bookmooch.

Gangland Melbourne – James Morton & Susanna Lobez

12030339‘It’s just like Chicago!’, said one US GI who witnessed a shootout in Melbourne’s Elizabeth Street in the ’40s. There are a few interesting facts in this account of criminal gangs that haunted Melbourne through its short life. But in the end, that is what it ends up, a list of facts without much context. It would have been much more interesting had the authors did some research about the various social issues and the law during the periods discussed. I would have got more out of it if the authors had included some cost comparisons (18 pounds in the ’20s means nothing to me – what would that be in today’s money?) and offered some conjectures about why Melbourne’s gangs moved from the inner suburbs to the outer suburbs. The chapter about the Victorian police force included some interesting tit bits and confirmed that since the split of NSW to form Victoria, the police force have always been corrupt. The second commissioner got the job by pretending to be someone else after his application as himself failed and Blamey, who was a commissioner before WW2, was willfully blind and worse. The addition of Chopper Read was unnecessary. As it is, it is just a ‘nice little money earner’ as Daley would have said.

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