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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

Mental House: The Roman Opening - MENT I am giving this three stars because it is genuinely interesting and entertaining, but I still have some criticisms. It seems kind of disjointed. It is a story about a member of a New York public school chess team who has dreams that reveal reality until about halfway through the book where he is confronted by a demon who is trying to coerce him into making a pact with the devil. Then suddenly the subject changes. It is so abrupt that I found myself checking to see if I had missed some pages. The rest of the book seems to be a series of very short short stories about people who find themselves being consigned to hell. There is one story per chapter. It is true that these stories are eventually tied together into a coherent whole, but it does not seem like they are closely related for a long time. I would also like to criticize it for the writing style. For one thing the author over uses the ellipsis. I don't think he ever uses a dash. Where other writers would use a dash he uses an ellipsis and often an ellipsis appears in the middle of a sentence where there doesn't seem to be any need for punctuation at all. Also there is too much deliberate misspelling to indicate accents and emotional states. A few misspellings to indicate that the character has a certain accent is okay, but when it goes on and on it becomes a distraction. It is also more pleasant to read when an emotional state is indicated by a descriptive word or punctuation instead of words like ohhhhhhh. This may sound like nit-picking on my part, but these practices really do give the book an amateurish feel. Nevertheless, the story is not bad on the whole. I just think the author needed a good editor who would have worked with him on a rewriting.