Book Review: Shakespeare in Hollywood

Book Review: Shakespeare in Hollywood

Robert F. Willson Jr.’s Shakespeare in Hollywood, 1929-1956 is a historical study of several of Shakespeare’s major works and the films which were inspired by them. The book covers productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar. It also discusses several other Shakespearean films, mostly films such as To Be or Not to Be, and A Double Life that were extremely loose adaptations of Shakespeare, often bearing no obvious resemblance to the original whatsoever except for some ambiguous Shakespearean themes.

In the introduction to the book, Willson discusses the perception of Louis B. Mayer, the longtime head of Metro Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and how he believed that a Shakespeare film would essentially be a failure at the box office mainly due to lack of interest among the mainstream film going public. However, certain filmmakers had a desire to prove their artistic ability through less commercialized films, and Willson’s thesis argues that studios then made these movies to cement their images as purveyors of the artistic rather than just a studio churning out films which were guaranteed successes. Also, he attempts to establish that certain aspects of these films came to characterize Hollywood cinema as a whole. For example, the idea of adaptations of novels into film that was obviously being done for these Shakespearean films is still a commonplace practice in filmmaking today.

Willson writes about several film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, however the chapter of his book which most successfully supports his thesis is the second chapter, called “‘Doing Shakespeare Right’: Warner Brothers’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)”. In this chapter, Willson most clearly demonstrates the studio’s desire for artistic respect, and also shows how the studios tempted a wider audience into seeing these films. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was previewed to women’s clubs and parent and teacher organizations. According to Willson, the reviews from these organizations gave the studio confidence that they were on the right track in their efforts to “elevate the cultural content” of their films. The studios also focused on the audiences who would traditionally be less interested in a film like A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Willson describes the studio’s tactic of using contract players, instead of hiring actors on a film-to-film basis. James Cagney, the actor who plays Bottom in the production was a very well known star and this factor contributed greatly towards the success of the film.

This aforementioned chapter was very persuasive pertaining to Willson’s thesis. When he first argues that studios wanted to make more artistic films to prove their credibility, it is difficult to understand why they would want to do that during such an influential time in cinema, and possibly risk losing loads of money on a film that very few people were interested in seeing. In this chapter though, it is explained well why these filmmakers had confidence in bringing Shakespearean theater to the big screen despite the nervousness that Louis B. Mayer had surrounding the idea. Through their careful promotion of the film to two entirely different audiences they ended up with a success, thus enabling characteristics like the adaptation of plays and novels to film to carry on into modern filmmaking.

For the most part, the other chapters of Willson’s book prove his thesis similarly. However, he does discuss Romeo and Juliet and Othello, and seems to be subtly suggesting the idea that because these films flopped maybe Mayer was correct, and that audiences really were not ready for Shakespearean adaptations. This idea is the only factor that weakens Willson’s thesis, because the other material in the book predominately supports his idea that by selling these films properly to both those interested in culture, and those interested in mainstream film, a Shakespeare adaptation can easily be a success.

The notes and accompanying bibliography in the final pages of the book would prove very useful to someone doing an extensive research paper on a topic in this area. The bibliography lists roughly seventy sources which Willson consulted for his book. The notes are useful as well and there are comments within them that highlight which ones may be of particular use to those interested in similar topics.

Although a general knowledge of Shakespeare’s plots is not essential to understanding this book, a reader would get the most out of it if they were at least aware of the different characters and basic plots in the plays. Therefore, it could be appreciated by people interested in film history or someone just looking to learn about Shakespeare in an interesting way. This text would also prove especially useful to a literature student who has previously studied Shakespeare in depth. Willson’s analysis of the films just further enhances an already solid understanding of Shakespearean texts.…

Best Cooking Recipes Reviews

Best Cooking Recipes Reviews

Maybe you just moved into a new house and you are just trying to determine how can you make it on your own, and how can you keep up with the increasing demands of your children about food. If you are looking for diverse combinations, you will probably need a new source of recipes. Here are some ideas about choosing a cooking book with the best cooking recipes reviews.

Don’t choose a book by its cover, they say. It is true, as you will not need the most expensive and popular cooking book available. It all depends on your preferences and lifestyle. For example, if you are an active person that doesn’t like to cook too much at home, you will probably need the best cooking recipes for microwave. This is a lot different from a young mother, who would probably look for healthy and complex recipes for her children.

Content vs. Style

Photos and videos are ideal when you are looking for best recipes online; however, there is a secret when choosing a recipes book. The really useful books don’t have so many illustrations. Maybe it is OK to post a photo of the recipe at the end, but make sure the purpose of photos is to educate, not to impress. Maybe you will not be happy that your foods don’t look exactly like the ones in the book, and this is definitely affecting your morale. If you are just looking for a cooking book with the best recipes reviews for microwave, you will not need so many photos showing the food in the oven all the time.

Navigation

Maybe you are the kind of cook that likes to stay on the phone while waiting for the food to be ready, or maybe you are looking for a complicated recipe with foreign spices. Any good cooking book needs a glossary and a list of terms useful for the cook. Without this, you might end up spending more time with translations then with actually cooking.

Clarity of recipes

People looking for microwave recipes are usually looking for fast recipes that are easy to understand and make. It is why the clarity of the recipe is the secret of its success. Read it from the start to the end, and make sure you understood everything about it before starting.

Extra information

We live in a modern world where the taste of the food is not the only aspect that matters. People are interested about calories, carbohydrates, long term diets and healthy foods. Make sure your recipe book has many positive reviews and that they are also giving dietary advises and information.

Niche

Some recipe book readers are looking for specific recipes, such as the one for microwave. Read the reviews about any cooking book you are about to buy, and make sure it addresses specifically to your needs. Don’t worry, as there are specialized recipes books for grilling, baking, but also for specific appliances such as the blender or microwave oven.…

A Book Review of The Kite Runner

A Book Review of The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is an excellent story of human relations influenced by restrictive social and religious norms, of betrayal caused by personal weakness, of years of suffering from guilt and attempts to escape from it, and eventual redemption through confronting the cause of guilt and doing something right to, if not make it right, then at least balance the evil of the past. Following in the background of the private stories of the main characters is the story of Afghanistan as a country, and the suffering of this land provides a strong emotional undertone for the rest of the story.

The two main characters of the story are Amir and Hassan who, as boys, were growing up together in the 1970s Afghanistan. Even though the boys belonged to the same household, their status was not the same: Amir was Pashtun, and the son of an influential businessman in Kabul; Hassan was a Hazara, part of Afghanistan’s much persecuted ethnic minority, with no social prospects aside from being a servant to a Pashtun family. Nevertheless, Baba, Amir’s father, treats both Hassan and his father, Ali, well, and the boys are inseparable while growing up, even though the social disparity between them is noticeable through such aspects like Hassan’s illiteracy and his subservient behavior during play.

The defining event of the story takes place during a kite-fighting tournament that takes place in Kabul in winter of 1975. Amir wins the tournament, with Hassan serving all the while as his kite runner – the person who goes after the opponent’s downed kite to secure it for the winner as a trophy. When Hassan does not return after going after the last defeated kite, Amir goes looking for him and walks on the scene of Hassan being confronted by Assef and his two friends – the Pashtun boys who often picked on Amir for being bookish and for liking Hazaras. While Amir watches, unseen, Amir rapes Hassan. Amir does nothing to help his friend and then pretends like nothing happened.

From this moment on, Amir is constantly racked by guilt, and his way of dealing with it is try to drive Hassan away so he does not have to face his friend every day and remember his betrayal. His attempts are unsuccessful, as Hassan proves his devotion to Amir over and over again, until Amir’s thirteenth birthday, when he frames Hassan as a thief for stealing his birthday presents. Even through Baba immediately forgives Hassan, Ali sees this as too much of a disgrace and leaves the household together with Hassan.

When the Soviets invade Afghanistan in 1979, Amir and Baba are forced to flee. They go to Pakistan first and from there manage to emigrate to the U.S. They live in Fremont, California, and eventually become immersed back into the Afghan immigrant community through the local flea market. There, Amir falls in love with a daughter of another immigrant, Soraya Taheri, and they rush through the traditional engagement process because Baba is very sick with cancer and does not have long to live. Baba dies soon after Amir and Soraya get married. All this time, Amir continues to live with his secret and his guilt.

Almost ten years after fleeing Afghanistan, Amir receives a call from Rahim Khan, one of his father’s friends, who has been living in their house in Kabul ever since they left. Rahim tells Amir that Hassan is dead, killed by the Taliban, but Hassan’s little son, Sohrab, is still alive and in an orphanage. He also tells Amir his family secret, that Baba is actually Hassan’s father. For Amir, rescuing Sohrab from Taliban-dominated Afghanistan becomes a way to “be good again.”

Amir goes through a terrible ordeal in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to find Sohrab and take him to safety of America. In the process, he comes face to face with his old nemesis, Assef – now a Taliban official – and almost dies in the encounter. Their ordeal leaves Sohrab with emotional scars that make him refuse to speak. The story ends on a hopeful note, however, with the boy acting as a kite runner to Amir during a picnic and finally speaking to his uncle – speaking the same words that his father once said to Amir, more than a quarter-century ago.

I liked the book very much, for many reasons, and would readily recommend it to my friends. First, it gives the reader – especially the reader from a Western culture – a new look at Afghanistan. Few people realize that, until the revolution that ended the monarchy and the Soviet invasion that followed, Afghanistan was a vibrant country, with well-developed business community and rich cultural life. The only Afghanistan most people – myself included – know is a backward, destitute ruin of a …

Book Review: Redeemed by Rilic by Mychal Daniels

Book Review: Redeemed by Rilic by Mychal Daniels

Redeemed by Rilic is the fourth book in Mychal Daniel’s Olodian Alien Warrior series. Redeemed by Rilic is full of greatness with a brilliant story-line and come-off-the-page real characters!

It is no secret that I LOVE sci-fi romance, but lately I feel like every book I pick up is sci-fi romance is pretty light on the actual story-line and overly focused on the sex. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some heat in my sci-fi, but I need a STORY. I need real characters! Redeemed by Rilic did just that. It didn’t stop at SEXY. It delve into a new world and conflicts with depth, just what sci-fi should be about. It was a fun read and I loved the main character, Avery. She was just adorable and written with such passion, it is hard to believe she isn’t a real person.

I would also like to talk about something else, that might ruffle some feathers, but it’s the truth. BBW books…sometimes get too focused on the internal (and negative) dialog that surrounds the “big” part of the BBW. (For those of you with blank looks…BBW = Big Beautiful Women) The negative internal dialog can be hard for me to read, often I think because they echo my past and sometimes current thoughts. If I am going to read about someone like me, I want them to be proud of themselves and self accepting. Give us girls something to strive to be like! Avery was like this. Yes, her size was brought up. She also didn’t negative-talk herself down constantly and pointed out what she loved about herself. Inside and out. Daniels nailed it. She made a big beautiful women that was intelligent and confident, yet not without flaws. AND a man shouldn’t make it all better. You should feel beautiful without the man, with the hopes that he takes your self confidence to a new level. Redeemed by Rilic, did THIS.

The world building was well done, especially since I was coming in at book 4 in a series. I never felt lost or confused and I didn’t feel like there was a lot of back information shoved onto the pages, it just seemed to flow into the natural story-line. This sci-fi was a well rounded read with a great Happily Ever After and I will certainly be picking up more in this series!

I rate Redeemed by Rilic 4 out of 5 Bullets!

4 Bullet rating

Please assume all links in this post are affiliates and Booked & Loaded has the potential to receive monetary gain from any purchases used via the links. These purchases help support the blog and help pay for the cost of running this site. Thank you for your support!…

Book Review of The Diana Chronicles

Book Review of The Diana Chronicles

With the ten-year anniversary of Princess Diana’s death fast approaching, “The Diana Chronicles” by Tina Brown provides a fascinating profile of a very complicated, yet influential woman.

Brown starts with the days that led up to Diana’s death, debunking any conspiracy theories that Princess Diana was murdered; instead painting a sad, tragedic accident that took her life. She discusses how Dodi El Fayed came into the Princess’s life and how Diana, recently divorced, accepted his friendship because, ironically, the El Fayeds made her feel safe.

Brown’s writing is witty, yet sensitive, and unforgivingly honest. After examining the accident, Brown takes a direct look at Diana’s parents, their marriage, and the family Diana was born into. She reveals little tidbits that might not have been known or realized about the princess, starting with her family’s service to the crown that dated back to the Stuart kings. Diana herself was a rare Spencer blonde, with the majority of Spencers redheads. Her parents’ marriage is examined in depth. It’s the death of baby John Spencer shortly after childbirth, which begins her parents’ slow descent toward divorce. Diana and her younger brother, Charles, are most affected by their mother suddenly out of their lives due to the separation. When their father remarries Raine, the Spencer children, including Diana are hardly civil to her. Yet, behind the mask of hurt and pain of her parents’ divorce, Diana is a sensitive child. She enjoys cleaning, learns to cook, and her amazing empathy makes her a wonderful nanny to an American couple, the Robertsons, as well a sweet kindergarten teacher. It’s in this world as a young nineteen-year-old woman, Diana becomes acquainted with Prince Charles.

Brown examines the man Prince Charles is and the pressure he was under at the time he met Diana to find a bride. He was thirty and the love of his life, Camilla Parker-Bowles, was married, yet young Lady Diana Spencer seemed to exhibit those qualities he was looking for in a wife. The royal romance was on.

Brown paints a very human picture of the princess. After Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, cooking and cleaning aren’t on the menu for the Princess of Wales. Diana’s faults, her quick Spenserian temper, her insecurities about her relationship to the Prince which led to her bulimia, are interlaced with her strengths, her empathy and her compassion, to give an accurate portrait of a woman who so badly wanted “happily ever after” in her own marriage after watching her own parents marriage fall apart.

Brown tackles both sides of controversy by providing the facts and letting the reader draw their own conclusion. Such topics include: was James Hewitt Prince Harry’s biological father? Was Diana’s telephone conversations with James Gibley purposely taped? Where Prince Charles telephone conversations with Camilla Parker-Bowles taped? The evidence Brown presents is surprising.

With all the books out now, this book is a standout. Brown immerses the reader into Princess Diana’s world and it’s with great reluctance they’ll want to leave.

 …

The Works of Comic Book Theologian, Jack T. Chick.

The Works of Comic Book Theologian, Jack T. Chick.

I was just standing there on the street corner scoffing at people going into a Bible Study group, say Robert Johnson, former Atheist and newest member of Christian Reading Always Carefully Keeps People Off Things (CRACKPOT) Ministries. “But when Reverend Zeke Gage handed me the classic Chick tract, ‘Hi There,’ I had no idea of the changes that it would make in my life.”

Due to budget constraints and lack of support which the good reverend blames on the influences of Satan upon the world, the tract had been printed out on the parish’s inkjet printer rather than the classic small black booklet format found in non-Christian religious books on bookstore shelves the world over. Usually a perspective reader will have to pick up a copy of the Talmud, Tao Te Ching, or Koran to come across the works of comic book theologian, Jack T. Chick.

Chick tracts, which are known the world over for their factual portrayal of religions like Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism and especially Catholicism can be ordered off of the site Chick publications or many can be printed out and downloaded because of the author’s conviction that sharing the gospel and spreading the word about the Vatican ties to the Communist party are more important than making a profit. In fact, the tracts have been so successful that they have spawned several fan sites such as the Monster Wax Museum.

“I had no idea that not accepting Jesus as my savior was endangering my soul. Man, if I’d known not praying that simple prayer found at the bottom of that comic would have put me eternally in a lake of fire and brimstone, I’d have prayed it much earlier. The best part is I don’t even have to change any of my behaviors. It seems once when I get saved, I stay saved no matter what I do. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”

Andrea Johnson said that such ignorance of the word of God is common as a secular public education system does not stress the gospels nearly enough citing inappropriate concerns over separation of church and state. “What is more important? Making sure freedoms and rights or respected or keeping people away from an eternally hot destination?”

Doctor Will Smith said, “You may think CRACKPOTs are only concerned about keeping you away from the work of the devil, but that is an erroneous assumption. We are also committed to providing good, Christian reading material in an effort to get more souls for Jesus. We cannot very well justify taking something away from people unless we put something in its place. That just would not be right with God.”

Robert Johnson said that he looks forward to his glorious mansion in Heaven and committing acts of further Evangelism for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Man, I can still do drugs and beat up people and it is all right as long as I ask for forgiveness.”

 …

The Cold War by Martin Walker – Book Review

The Cold War by Martin Walker – Book Review

In The Cold War, Martin Walker gives a detailed summary of the Cold War. He opens with an introduction briefly outlining the conflict, as well the changes it brought not only to the nations directly involved, the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies, but to the entire world, especially the East Asian nations. Walker begins the first chapter with the Yalta Conference in the February of 1945, during the closing days of World War II, between the leaders of the “Big Three” powers, Stalin of the Soviet Union, Churchill of Britain, and Roosevelt of the U.S., which he states to be the start of the Cold War. Walker talks about the optimism of the 3 leaders of the future that was to lie ahead of the German defeat. The leaders discussed how Europe was going to be divided among the Allied countries. The author noted that the Soviets have had a long history of being invaded by other forces throughout its history, most famously Napoleon during the 19th century. The Soviets wanted control of the eastern European countries, especially Poland (as the Germans in both World Wars, and Napoleon in 1812 had when through that country to attack the Russians), to have the same system of government working closely with the Soviets, “just in case” of another invasion in the future. Stalin’s desire to make all of Eastern Europe communist led to unease between the leaders. Also, in April of 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had more or less attempted to maintain good relations with the USSR, died. After Harry Truman succeeded as president, American relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated rapidly. The first Soviet nuclear testing in 1949 brought about the Nuclear Age.

The author then proceeds to give the reader some background knowledge about the state of the Europe after World War II. The economy of all of Europe was in ruins, reaching a critical point by 1947. Coal and electricity supplies were acutely short, and food rationing was worse than it had been during the war. There was twice the number of unemployed as there were in the worst days of the Great Depression. The United States was forced to provide billions of dollars of aid and write off billions more in debt. The $5 in loans provided by the US and Canada to Britain was being used up at reckless rate, as the Treasury called it. The terrible winter of 1947 did not help the situation, either. Britain was so poor by that period that it had to grant independence to many of its colonies, including India and Pakistan in 1947. The main reason for the aid is to help bolster economies in order to prevent a communist takeover. This did not prevent people from voting communist in Eastern Europe, however, thus forming the Iron Curtain between East and West Europe. Relief efforts, such as the Truman Doctrine managed to keep Greece and Turkey away from communist rule, and the Marshall Plan provided much-needed relief to the countries of Western Europe. Food aid was provided to parts of Soviet-controlled Berlin by the Berlin Airlift.

Walker goes next to describe the rest of the world, where a civil war is taking place in China between the US-supported government and the Communist forces, the Middle East, where much of the actual fighting caused by the Cold War took place (ironically, noted the author, since the conflict was between white men in the Western world). He talks about the Korean War and the rise of Communism in Asia. All those, he states, added to the tension between the two superpowers of the world, the United States and the Soviet Union.

Walker then describes in detail some major events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the launching of the first satellite, then the first dog, then finally human, into space, and conferences between American presidents and Soviet leaders. He divides the war into two phases, the first being the period of great tension between World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which armed forces were brought to full alert, then a “New” Cold War after about a decade of relative calm, brought by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. He also discusses the effects of the War on the economies of both countries, and others involved in it, including the debts that the countries had to accept in order to sustain their development of nuclear arms. Social life during the Cold War is also discussed, describing the everyday life of the people, mainly on the Western side, and how they did various things that are unheard-of and may seem silly today, such as learning how to defend from a nuclear attack, how to build a shelter, and others like peace rallies, songs opposing …

Best Books About Dragonflies for Kindergarteners

Best Books About Dragonflies for Kindergarteners

Are you working on preparing a dragonfly themed lesson plan for your kindergarten age children? If so, don’t forget to throw a few books about the insect into the mix. Here’s a quick rundown on several that you may find beneficial:

“Are You a Dragonfly?”

Judy Allen’s book “Are You a Dragonfly?” would make an excellent opener to a dragonfly focused lesson plan. It introduces just enough information about the insect to pique a child’s interest. I’d suggest pairing it with Susie Caldwell Rinehart’s book “Eliza and the Dragonfly.” Its storyline focuses on a child that learns to appreciate the insect for what it is.

“The Life Cycle of a Dragonfly”

JoAnn Early Macken’s “The Life Cycle of a Dragonfly” is another book to consider. As the book’s title indicates, it will give the children an overview of the insect’s life cycle. Full-color photographs are included as well. Thus, it would be perfect to read right before a science related activity. I’d suggest pairing it with Heather Lynn Miller’s book “This is Your Life Cycle.” Her book covers similar material and is just downright giggle worthy.

“Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies”

Blair Nikula’s book “Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies” certainly has classroom appeal as well. I thought that the large photos were wonderful. The book also contains a decent amount of information about various dragonflies that could be incorporated into a child’s lessons. It could feasibly be paired with Cheryl Coughlan’s book “Dragonflies.” It contains nice photos too. In combination, the two books should give the children a basic awareness of various species.

“World of Insects: Dragonflies”

Emily K. Green’s book “World of Insects: Dragonflies” is also worthy of a look. In my opinion, it may be used to teach the children about a dragonfly’s physical characteristics and capabilities. The children should also appreciate the interesting facts contained within the text.

“Dragonfly’s Tale”

If you want to teach your children about dragonflies and cultural diversity, I’d recommend picking up a copy of Kristina Rodanas’ book “Dragonfly’s Tale.” Its storyline focuses on the retelling of an indigenous legend. Personally, I found the author’s handling of the subject matter appropriate and the illustrations were beautiful. You may want to consider pairing it with Yolanda Cullagh’s book “Sabrina the Beach Fly” just for fun. Its storyline focuses on a dragonfly with social aspirations.

“Over the Steamy Swamp”

Although the storyline doesn’t entirely focus on dragonflies, I still found Paul Geraghty’s book “Over the Steamy Swamp” worthy of inclusion too. What I found valuable about the book was the author’s measured portrayal of the circle of life. It shows how different creatures, including the dragonfly, look at one another as food. The illustrations were nicely done and age appropriate as well. As such, I would suggest using the book as a stepping off point for discussions about the dragonfly’s place within the food chain.

 …

Spotlight & Interview ~ Titanshade by Dan Stout

Spotlight & Interview ~ Titanshade by Dan Stout

If everything is going according to plan, I am currently sitting beachside with a copy of Titanshade in one hand and a margarita in the other!
**If everything is not going according to the plan, someone might want to send bail money.

After vacation edit: I survived. No bail money required!! I was grateful enough to start Titanshade beachside and hope to finish it by the end of the month!

But, you are not here to talk about my beach adventures. You are here because of your desire to consume and devour books and hopefully find a new book obsession, right? Lucky you, I have this fun little interview with the author of Titanshade, Dan Stout and all of the info one could desire about his newly released noir fantasy thriller…TITANSHADE!
line 1

This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Carter’s a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It’s also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city’s future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure’s never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter’s investigation leads him into conflict with the city’s elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.
Dan Stout, Titanshade, Urban Fantasy, Noir, Fantasy,
amazon-logo-1
goodreads
barnes-and-noble-icon
ibooks
Dan Stout, author, fiction author

Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes about fever dreams and half-glimpsed shapes in the shadows. His prize-winning fiction draws on his travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller.

Dan’s stories have appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and Mad Scientist Journal.
Author Interview, Interview, Author

Everyone welcome Dan Stout to Booked & Loaded!

B&L: Welcome, Dan! I have been looking forward to getting my hands on Titanshade after being struck curious by its cover and totally intrigued after reading the blurb! I will never apologize for being a cover junky!!!

Dan: Thanks for having me. And no need to apologize— I am unashamed about my love for cover illustration and design! This past year I scored a major holiday haul when I was gifted copies of Art & Arcana and Paperbacks From Hell, both of which are deep dives into the kind of cover art and illustration I loved as a kid and an adult.

B&L: What did expect before seeing the cover for yourself?

Dan: So, one of the incredible things about working with DAW Books is that they love it when the author has a vision for the cover. My editor, Sheila Gilbert, asked if I had any suggestions, and I was able to pitch a rough idea. When the cover artist, Chris McGrath, got involved, he got an advance copy of the manuscript, and checked in regularly to make sure the artwork was in-line my vision of the characters. DAW just connected us on email and let us go at it. Seeing my characters come to life like that was geek heaven.

Of course, Chris is a brilliant artist, so he took my rough concept and delivered something far beyond my initial ideas. He pretty much blew my mind with every sketch and iteration. He also brought a ton of small details that help put it over the edge—things like the aviator sunglasses that really make the cover pop.

B&L: Do you feel it accurately reflects the feel of Titanshade?

Dan: Absolutely! After seeing Chris’s artwork, I knew that the final look was going to be good, but the finished design exceeded my expectations. From the slight tilt to the artwork to the spray-paint feel of the title logo and the distressed treatment give the book a torn and ragged feel that’s a perfect match for the story inside. It’s so clear that the team at DAW really got the feel of the book and took the time to bring it to life. I’d love to give a shout-out to Katie Anderson, who did the jacket design, and Alissa Rose Theodor, who did the interior.

B&L: What inspired you to write a book where 8-tracks are high tech?

Dan: I’m really fascinated by the concept of fantasy worlds apart from ours: …

Book Review: The Double-D Avenger

Book Review: The Double-D Avenger

It’s no secret that when any book is made into a movie, the film is going to blow if you’ve read the book first. But, is it possible that a film made into a novel could actually be better than the movie? I think so, and as proof, I offer Jerrod Balzer’s novelization of a William Winckler screenplay, The Double-D Avenger.

Released through Skullvines Press, this comedy of Double-D proportions is about Chastity Knott, a woman who runs the most successful pub in town. But after a breast exam reveals that she has cancer, she closes up shop to travel to South America in search of an erotic cousin of the banana that has magical healing properties. But that’s not all it does, as Chastity soon learns that she has superpowers thanks to the Crockazilla plant.

Upon returning home, her celebration is cut short by the evil plots of Al Purplewood (snort) who runs a bikini bar across town. Al sends his three sinister strippers to bump the chesty Chastity off, and instead, Greek goddess Hydra Heffer shoots and kills Chastity’s cowpoke suitor Bubba Olympian. This leads Chastity to swear to use her powers to bring to justice the trio of Hydra, a former pirate named Pirate Jugs and a thawed out cavewoman, Ooga Boobies.

The battles in the book are truly of Tit-anic proportions, and with a plot like this, you can expect breast jokes to be overrunning the bra cups. Being a fan of puns, this book worked for me quite well, since I was alternating between giggling or groaning at the jokes. (Groaning in a good way, mind you.)

Jerrod’s sense of humor actually helps make the script even better as he fills in gaps in the histories of the characters, which weren’t covered in the movie. One of the best jokes involves a scientist dying of a heart attack, and another involves the sexual molest of a stuffed bear.

Fans of schlock comedy will find very little to complain about, and as adaptations of screenplays go, this helps to make a goofy comedy into a solid page turner where the only pauses you’ll make will be to laugh or groan at the jokes.

I give The Double-D Avenger four stars and recommend it to anyone looking for the breast, er the best in comedy entertainment.…