ClubReading.com Reviews

I don't plan on doing too much of this, but there are some posts from the old sites that I really like and want to keep around and refer to occasionally. So I'm going to add them here with the rough original post dates. But I don't plan to completely recreate the old sites. This new site is meant to be about new content and new adventures.

So...Buckle Up!

"The Silver Ships," by S.H. Jucha

S.H. Jucha's debut novel, "The Silver Ships," introduces a future universe where colony ships from old Earth have settled in different, distant systems, and worked to make a life for themselves.

Two of the groups, with very different experiences and opportunities, meet again after centuries. The now, very different cultures must work through some challenges and face a common alien threat.


The main character, Alex, while out asteroid mining, snags what appears to be an alien ship entering his solar system. The ship appears dead at first, but Alex soon makes contact with the ship's AI, who reminds me a little of Mike from "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."

The adventures soon put Alex in a leadership role and challenge his abilities and force him to grow up.

"The Silver Ships" is a fun read, good science fiction with interesting characters. There are a few plot coincidences (right person in the right place at the right time...), but the story doesn't suffer and I'm eager to see what's next from S.H. Jucha.

Besides, the universe is a big place and coincidences are bound to happen. :-)

Enjoy!

"Breaking the Surface" by Greg Louganis

Review written for ClubReading.com by Bill in 2001

I love to read. Every once in a while, a book comes along that reminds me so thoroughly why I love to read. This is just such a book.

I've been following the rescue attempts of the Russian Submarine, Kursk. At the time I'm writing this, the British rescue efforts are rushing to the scene. There is still a faint hope that the crew will be saved.

This story has struck a particular chord in me. I spent more than a dozen years serving in the Navy, riding on nuclear powered submarines. We knew the risks. We coldly practiced drill scenarios for flooding, fires, steam line ruptures, all the while, living in one of the most hostile environments on earth…beneath the surface of the earth's oceans. And now, with practiced logic and cold calm, I watch on the news as this horrible catastrophe plays out.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the crew and their families and all those desperately trying to rescue these men.

How precious life is! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could spend every moment of every day conscious of just how spectacular that moment is? But we can't. For most of us, we are caught up on the day to day of living. We have jobs and bills, new tires to buy, dishes to do, cat sick to clean up…sometimes the spectacle of life is more than we can stand.

Thank God for heroes. People we can look up to and remember greatness is just around the corner. Greg Louganis has been a hero of mine for a long time. I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics. The amazing athletes that can run like a cheetah, or jump in the air higher than most of us can reach. To steal a line from the master, "What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable!"

In Breaking the Surface, Greg Louganis brings to light the depth of character of such a hero. Here is a man who from a very early age was on top of the world. An Olympic Champion, the world leader in 10M platform and 3M springboard diving. What the world saw was a successful, good looking young man smiling from the gold medal platform…seemingly not a care in the world.

Greg tells us a story of a boy who from a very early age was ridiculed, called names, insecure and depressed to the point of suicide. The list of challenges that the author shares with us is incredible.

The author shares with us key pieces of his life. As we read, Greg tells the story of growing up into an Olympic athlete. He shares with us his dealings with hatred and bigotry as a gay man. Greg talks openly about an abusive relationship that cost him a great deal both emotionally and financially.

The author talks about his life after becoming HIV positive. Greg shares his deepest fears with us. How he dealt with being sick, how he dealt with the death of family and friends.

This amazing man shares with us how he is dealing with the day to day reminders of our mortality. He discusses the AZT alarm going off every 4 hours and how every cough or cold can lead him to wonder if this is the end. And with these constant challenges Greg wins another two gold medals in the 1988 Olympics.

My thoughts of Greg Louganis as a hero have changed. Before, I saw him as a great athlete accomplishing amazing feats of skill. Now, after reading his autobiography, I see him as a great man. A man of courage and amazing internal strength and beauty. I have gained strength and wisdom from his sharing. I am a better person for having read this book.

Thank you Greg Louganis.

"Americas Boy: A Memoir" by Wade Rouse

Reviewer: linda

A small-town boy who dresses in his mothers bikini when he's five so he can be queen of the pageant has some issues to address in his life, especially when that small town is in rural southwestern Missouri.

Rouse tells wonderful tales of a family that may not have understood him, but loved him nonetheless. The family tales are the best part of this memoir; I kept seeing my family in his tales, even though our families have different oddities. The stories of Rouses schooling will strike a chord with anyone who was picked on in school for any reason (at least Rouse had the female half of the school that liked him).

I think the heart of this memoir was supposed to be his rediscovery of who he really is, but it never made it. I'm glad he's become better adjusted, but the stories of his childhood are the heart of the book to me. An exceptional read. And no, that has nothing to do with the fact that he works for Washington University!


"A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian: A Novel" by Marina Lewycka

Reviewer: linda

The main characters in this book are Ukrainian immigrants in the U.K. The narrator is the youngest daughter, and she doesn’t remember WWII. Her father and older sister, however, have vivid memories, memories they have never shared with the narrator. The book weaves the tale of the father’s marriage to a much younger Ukrainian (Russian?) gold-digger who is looking for permanent residence with tales of the past. The narrator and her sister have not spoken since their mother died, yet the gold-digger, as a common enemy, gets them back together. And they both learn lessons about the value of family.

A very entertaining and moving story.


"A House in Sicily" by Daphne Phelps

Daphne Phelps inherited a house in Sicily called Casa Cuseni. At the time, Daphne had no knowledge of Italian, no money, and was war-weary. At 34, she moved to the small Sicilian town of Taormina expecting to sell the house.

After 50 years and guests like Tennessee Williams, Bertrand Russel, Henry Faulkner and Roald Dahl, Daphne Phelps has a wonderful story to tell.

This is a charming and entertaining memoir, full of fun and earthy stories told in a no-nonsense style.