Category: Book Reviews

A blog by Shalon Sims about education, creative writing, literacy and psychology

Canadian Indigenous Speculations

IntroductionIndigenous Speculations In this essay, I explore various Canadian Indigenous speculations, including the artwork of Sonny Assu, and science fiction of Cherie Dimaline, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Before I get into it, I’d like to acknowledge that…. I’m very grateful to live and work on the traditional, unceded and ancestral territory of the Musqueam I’ve…
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Fear & horror in children’s literature – A review of the truly scariest kids and YA books

Part 1: Lost in the Woods I am fascinated by the special kind of horror that can only be found in stories about and for children. Since the very first children’s books by Perrault and the Grimm brothers, and before that, in folktales and oral traditions, stories about children have so often been gruesome and…
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Let children read books for adults!

Was I alone in my quest for adult reading materials? Around the age of nine or ten I discovered Stephen King, and I would never go back to the Sweet Valley of children’s books ever again. I recall sneaking my mother’s horror and thriller books from her bedroom bookshelf, one at a time, and reading…
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What a top New York agent wants: the element of surprise

Sitting down with Don Maass of the famous Donald Maass Literary Agency last week, I wasn’t all that nervous. Probably the lack of sleep and my impending major surgery scheduled for four days later had dulled my need for validation. Or maybe it was because I actually believe in the book I was pitching; I…
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When You Reach Me – a writing craft review

This review of When You Reach Me, a Newberry Award-winning novel by Rebecca Stead, is hopefully the first of a series on writing craft in middle grade science fiction. I’ll explore issues of writing craft, such as theme, tone, voice, plot, characterization, etc. in a few of my new favourite books. My aim is for…
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Plot design & story structure: Joseph Campbell vs Christopher Vogler

In this article, I discuss my process for developing plot and share the incredible tools I discovered to examine, critique and improve the plot of my novel. Download this new and improved for 2021 Campbell vs. Vogler Plot Design Template that will help you design your plot by examining if and how your story follows the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell and Christopher…
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25 reasons to read William Gibson’s Neuromancer

For the writers (and readers) out there who have not read (or who have not finished reading) William Gibson’s Neuromancer NEUROMANCER!  Well, I don’t want to come across as a book snob, but I do have to ask: How can you call yourself a well-read fictionado without having read Neuromancer?  In classic Lily-(from How I…
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Book Review: The Story of B, by Daniel Quinn

During my research on spiritual fiction, I was recommended to read Daniel Quinn’s books, Ishmael and The Story of B.  At my local new-and-used bookstore, Companion Book, I found a cheap copy of The Story of B and I was pleasantly surprised while reading it. 

Profound Insights: Out of the Silent Planet by C.S Lewis

The best book I read in 2010 was Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S Lewis.  It is a very small book and inconspicuous.  This was the copy I picked up:

Long Sentence #1: Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Reading this amazing book by Joseph Campbell, the classic, The Hero with a Thousand Faces and the first sentence just about blew me away. Not only is it extremely beautiful, it’s also incredibly long!  It’s 538 characters:

Quantum Connections: Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku’s book, Physics of the Impossible, has helped me to understand a subject that I thought I never would: quantum physics.  Ever since my first year of college in 1997, when my philosophy of religion instructor, Dr.Katz, talked about atoms being mysteriously connected, I wanted to understand this process and became curious about quantum…
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