The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Failed Slut, A Successful Farmer, And A Pair of Soldiers

Posted on | June 18, 2014 | 16 Comments

Wombat-socho


I’m going to lead off this week’s book post with a short review of a book which is itself all too short: Kathy Shaidle’s Confessions of A Failed Slut. Ms. Shaidle, proprietress of the Five Feet of Fury blog and columnist at Takimag, has a lot of uncomplimentary things to say about the state of the sexual revolution in America and Canada since the unfortunate 1970s, and she says them in a very entertaining manner. As has been said about Florence King’s Reflections In A Jaundiced Eye and Mencken’s Chrestomathy, the main problem with this book is that the covers are too close together.

This is definitely not a problem with Matthew Harrington’s Godspawn, which would have been a righteous doorstop of a book if I’d bought the dead tree edition, but since I borrowed it from the Amazon Prime Lending Library it was merely a nice long read. Harrington has done a good job of writing a distinctly different sort of fantasy, set in a world where magic works very differently, magicians fall out of the sky periodically, and a farmer’s boy comes back from a mushroom gathering walk in the woods to find all the adults in his village slaughtered, all the children enslaved, and the world’s best bowman searching through the wreckage to see what, if anything, can be salvaged. From that grim beginning stems a coming-of-age novel that’s also an epic tale of revenge involving dragons, an utterly corrupt (but still brutally, effectively, oppressive) Hegemony, a less corrupt matriarchy, and a number of other folks who help our hero on his way. Also, magical oranges that wind up changing the world for the better. All things considered, this is a fun book and well worth the money I’m going to drop on it when I have to give it back at the end of the month.

Equally huge, but considerably more famous, is James Jones’ From Here to Eternity, the classic novel of the prewar Army in Hawaii. This is the restored edition with more of the original obscenities and a couple of sections that were deleted from the original print edition by squeamish editors and lawyers, along with an afterword that discusses those edits, and the whole thing is definitely worth the $3.03 (see what they did there?) Amazon wants for the Kindle edition. I originally talked a lot about this book in the long-ago 21 Books post and really don’t have anything new to add; the restored parts don’t significantly change the plot in any way. I do not, on the other hand, recommend the other two-thirds of Jones’ trilogy (The Thin Red Line and Whistle); Jones was apparently obsessed with using the same characters in all three books despite killing off Prewitt at the end of the first novel, and as a result they wind up being textbook examples of the maxim that most authors have one good book in them, their first, and spend the rest of their careers trying to rediscover the spark that made that first book so special. This is not to say that the latter two books don’t have their moments, because they do, but if I had to do it over again I would have borrowed them from the library instead of buying them.


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Comments

  • Greg Hlatky

    The only serious flaw of “From Here to Eternity” is Malloy, the Magical Leftist.

  • Wombat_socho

    I think it was sly of Jones to have Malloy go on and on and yet have absolutely no impact on any of the men in Barracks 2. Berry died fighting, Maggio’s plan had nothing to do with Malloy’s teachings, and Prewitt, of course, ignored Malloy’s advice and killed Fatso Judson.

  • http://youtu.be/ZGPHeP32hLU CrustyB

    “A Failed Slut, A Successful Farmer, And A Pair of Soldiers”

    For a moment I thought you were telling a “walk into a bar” joke.

  • Greg Hlatky

    Thank you. Very perceptive.

  • DeadMessenger

    Just finished Shaidle’s book: it left me wanting more. A nice, quick and agreeable read to fill the time while you’re Waiting For Something to Happen.

  • Luke

    In case you didn’t already know the e-book version of Larry Corriea’s Monster Hunter: Nemesis is already out, two weeks ahead of its official release date.

  • Pingback: Wombat’s Book Recommendations | Batshit Crazy News

  • JeffWeimer

    BTW, Correia’s new Monster Hunter Nemesis dropped a couple weeks early for Kindle.

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunter-Nemesis-Hunters-International-ebook/dp/B00L17ZHNQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1403204813&sr=1-1&keywords=monster+hunter+nemesis

    That should link through Stacy’s Amazon affiliate account.

  • Wombat_socho

    It’s on my “to buy” list when I have money again, and a review will appear shortly thereafter. Speaking of the International Lord of Hate, he’s gotten into a hostile exchange of Tweets with John Scalzi, who seems bent on proving Stacy’s point about the useless impotence of feminist males.

  • Wombat_socho

    I was trying to think of a way to make that work and failed miserably, so I just wrote the reviews.

  • http://www.FiveFeetOfFury.com/ Kathy Shaidle

    Thanks!!

  • Pingback: ‘Ms. Shaidle has a lot of uncomplimentary things to say about the state of the sexual revolution…’

  • http://www.FiveFeetOfFury.com/ Kathy Shaidle

    Thank you, too!

  • http://www.FiveFeetOfFury.com/ Kathy Shaidle

    Update thanks: The book is now back in the Top 100 for… “Women’s Studies”!

  • Wombat_socho

    All things considered, that sort of fits, no?
    Glad we could be part of making that happen!

  • Wombat_socho

    You’re welcome!