Book Review by Maranatha: The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer

The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer is another mystery review by our esteemed guest writer Maranatha. Read the review here to see if the Book of Lies is a book of duds or a book of surprises.

Anonymous Quotes on Life and Relationships by an Unfamous Author

We usually do book reviews, talk about authors and other randomness. Therefore, I figured a little more randomness on Cracked Spines couldn't hurt. Here are some random anonymous quotes from an anonymous author. You know who you are and thanks for the quotes.

"Pain makes you selfish. You react to things in a way you normally would not when you are in pain. The problem is, loved ones who hurt you never see that and think that your selfishness is the root of the problem, not the pain that they cause."

"Marriage is like taking a professional dive from a high diving board. You either fully commit to the jump and land safely in the water, stop short and look like an idiot or flop as you leap and wind up bleeding and amnesiac on the way down. Nonetheless, it is better to look like an idiot than to get all the way to the end and have to figure out who you are all over again."

"When you love someone and that person betrays you, you go on loving that person, but acting like you hate him, so no one knows how much it hurt or you pretend like nothing happened. Either way, you look and feel like an ass."

"I never understood why so many writers kill themselves. If they are ever pissed off, sad or feeling crazy, they can just write stories in which they kill everyone that pisses them off, have a happy life and ramble on like a lunatic. They should always take great pains to ensure no one reads those stories, though, lest they get arrested or put in a loony bin. Still, it beats offing yourself. That being said, I am a writer, so I contemplate killing myself on a daily basis. In fact, my obsession with suicide is why I am writing this."

"Having a bad day at work does not make you depressed. Having a poorly functioning brain does."

"Inspiration is a cruel thing. When it is fantastic, it is either fleeting or it engulfs your entire life. When it is not so good, it convinces you that a piece of crap is brilliant."

"The people with the worst lives give the best advice, so quit knocking hypocrites. They know their sh*t."


Well, there have it, some uninspirational quotes from an unfamous, anonymous author. That is all for now.

Shelly Barclay

Book Review: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder is a historical fiction novel that weaves an incredible story around the lives of some historical figures and one historical mystery. It is an interesting tale of a past that is suspiciously like how a science fiction writer would imagine the future . . . and with good reason. A mixture of true historical explorers, scientists and more coupled with time travel, genetic experimentation and technological advances makes The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack a must read for anyone who knows anything about Victorian era history, though there is hardly anything truly historic about it.

Most historical fiction novels are based more on fact than fiction. They may throw in the life of a fictional character or a fictional occurrence or two, but, for the most part, they tend to stick to things or people as they truly were while adding some embellishments for our reading pleasure. Such is not the case with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. This book has a few accounts that are true to history. For the most part, the events that take place are purely fictional and the people who exist in the book never did most of what the book has them doing. Of course, Mark Hodder clearly states this. This is intended to provide twists to history and it does.

What is great about Hodder's book is that he makes adequate, though far fetched, explanations for the deviances between true history and what occurs in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. What we know of as history was destroyed by a time traveler who goes back in time to save his family name. He unintentionally changed the course of history and introduced ideas into the past that were not supposed to be introduced until later. Thus, he creates a Victorian age filled with polluting contraptions, genetically altered creatures and genetically altered people. The time traveler is none other than London's mysterious "Spring Heeled Jack."

Readers who are into romantic or epic-style historical fiction should look elsewhere. Those who enjoy mystery, suspense, intrigue, cheap thrills and science fiction mixed with their history should look no further. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack should appease any such reader.

Shelly Barclay

Book Review by Maranatha: Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy is one of the best known writers in the thriller genre. Maranatha gives us the scoop on how his latest book pans out. Is it worth reading? Maranatha tells us here.

Book Review by Maranatha: The Camel Club by David Baldacci

Interesting characters, a murder mystery and political intrigue . . . this latest book chosen and reviewed by Cracked Spines guest writer Maranatha sounds like a movie starring Bruce Willis. Of course, a book like this is always better as a book, not a Willis movie, so we'll have to take Maranatha's advice and give this Baldacci book a try before it hits theaters. Read Maranatha's review here.

Themes in The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is an American literary icon. His simplistic, ruggedly masculine novels are easy to read and yet hard to define, much like himself. The Old Man and the Sea is no exception. It is quintessential Hemingway, through and through.

The Old Man and the Sea takes us on a fishing trip with an old man who takes his small fishing boat (little bigger than a rowboat) out to sea everyday. The man is on a bad run of luck at the start of the novel. He is determined to take a fish the day the reader goes out to sea with him. As the novel progresses, his bad luck and determination only get stronger.

The two main themes in The Old Man and the Sea, and the only two worth talking about, are respect and perseverance. Both appear particularly concerning the natural world, but there is also a significant respectful relationship between the fisherman and a fisherboy. This relationship plays a large role in the book, though the boy is absent for the main part of it.

Nearly the entire book is about the man fighting with a monstrous marlin in the Gulf of Mexico. He does not have enough food, strong enough tools to ward off predators and an assistant. All alone, he allows the fish to drag him for days, while still determined to catch him. His hands and back are wounded by fishing line, but he catches the fish, only to be plagued by sharks on the return trip. The sharks eat his marlin, but kills as many of them as he can, even when he knows the struggle is lost. In his mind, he is apologizing to the fish for killing it only to have eaten by sharks.

This brings us to respect in The Old Man and the Sea. There seems to be a reason Hemingway did not name it The Old Man and the Marlin. Much of the book's narrative is the Old Man's thoughts. His thoughts convey a great respect for the sea and the creatures that live in and around it, including the fish that is giving him so much trouble.

The Old Man and the Sea is a quick, but memorable, read. It is also appropriate for all ages.

Shelly Barclay