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This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
Not realistic, but who wants realism anyway? This is a fun read! Kept my interest! This is great for those who can stomach ickyness for entertainment. (read, zombie-aholics)
 
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Parlow | 4 other reviews | Dec 7, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
By the logic of the second story in this book ("Ronald"), I need to give this book a bad review. It came without swag. It came without first class comped orgies. It came without packages, boxes or bags. It did come from Germany, so I got to put my basic German to good use reading the envelope's customs declaration form (although I could have probably guessed what buch meant even without a German 101 course). But I've got to channel Ronald here -- pull out an awful passage and compare the book to Kafka. Except there aren't really any truly awful passages in this book, and I've never read Kafka, so I suppose I should just review The Book of Names properly.

The Book of Names is a collection of stories about horrible people doing horrible things to each other in absurdest fashions. Right up my alley. It was an amusing read, sometimes a bit spooky, sometimes a bit mirthful. We jump around, from Germany to the UK to Australia to Canada. Completely readable and the technique is more than fine. I would say the performance is wound very tightly. It's a compelling group of stories and there's the fun, at least in my copy, of matching up the people in the stories with the diagrams on the front and the alternative titles for the short stories on the back. And the stories aren't all about men. There are stories about women, a little more than a third with female protagonists. But therein lies what about this collection makes me uncomfortable.

Now, it's hardly as if the men here are pinnacles of virtuousness, but the woman all seem to be variations of bitches be crazy. Catfighting ("Sandra"). Promiscuity ("Barbara"). Delusional ("Emily"). Vindictive ("Shannon"). Man-hating career woman ("Marty"). They seem so much more one-note than those stories with male protagonists. Is it the stories? Or are my ovaries just more attuned to lousy feminine characterizations? I mean, realistically, does Marty, an educated, well-placed career woman really think that enslaving men forever and having women run everything is really a solution? And what's wrong with Barbara, a senior, enjoying sex? I don't see why I should be disgusted by that, like the man through whose eyes Barbara's story is told.

So I can't embrace The Book of Names completely. But I had an enjoyable two evenings reading it. Now off to sell my copy on ebay (the last Ronald reference since it's the end of the review). (

The Book of Names by Royce Leville went on sale January 13, 2015.

I received a copy free from Librarything in exchange for an honest review.½
 
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reluctantm | 8 other reviews | Aug 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very nice grouping of stories. Enjoyed the really unique voice Mr. Leville has. I love compilations of short stories much more than a novel. I think an author has to write wicked tight and with great skill and deftness to pull people in and hold them, and I really think Mr. Leville did that with these.

Quick, engaging reads of dark human nature-- I would recommend them.
 
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DanaJean | 8 other reviews | Jun 28, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found myself laughing quite a few times while reading Royce Leville’s peculiar story collection, The Book of Names. Mostly, it was the sort of nervous titter elicited from seeing someone else squirm.

The “names” of the title are the protagonists of each story – a rogue’s gallery of oddballs that includes a locksmith who has secretly obtained the keys to every residence in his town, a vengeful gravedigger for a small town parish wrongfully accused of a terrible crime, an underappreciated marketing executive, a motley crew of illegal immigrants trapped in a shipping container, a flirty, murderous septuagenarian and an out of work Olympic racewalker.

The majority of these people feel misunderstood and employ fanciful, and sometimes downright creepy, ways to gain control over the world and people around them. Whether it’s something relatively normal, such as the man who creates an elaborate adulterous fantasy about a lady contortionist or as unsettling as the locksmith’s investigations into the homes of all the town’s occupants in his role as self-appointed protector and moral arbiter. The marketing exec even goes so far as to invent an entire world, Herth, ostensibly as a bedtime story to amuse her daughters, which ultimately plays out like a wish fulfillment fantasy of female empowerment.

Most of the stories are fairly short and are written in a crisp, compulsively readable style. Though not quite as whimsical, I think Leville’s work would appeal to fans of Kelly Link for its off-kilter characters and skewed take on the world. They are sometimes funny, sometimes a bit chilling, very sinister and vastly entertaining.

Also, I should mention that I received my reviewer’s copy directly from the publisher, Rippple Books (located in Germany). They sent it gift-wrapped (!) and signed by the author. The book itself has a “Travel Page” on which all the book’s readers are asked to write their name, date and location so that the book contains a records of its travels, which I thought was neat. And the short story titles are written on the back of the book (out of order) while the index page shows only the protagonist’s first names (thus the title) so it was kind of a fun challenge to match the actual titles with the stories once I was finished. Really cool, fun packaging.
 
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blakefraina | 8 other reviews | Jun 25, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was so happy to see a book that’s not a 50 Shades or Twilight copycat available for me as ER that I requested it at once (I should add that the list of ER books available in Italy is always very short for copyright reasons and usually limited to the two mentioned categories in e-book format). It arrived as real paperbook by post and even had the author’s autograph inside – my first! How thoughtful – thank you!!

I usually avoid short stories. English is not my native language and it often takes me a couple of pages to get into the flow and in case of short stories I have to change focus too often to enjoy them fully. Now this book was a real exception. The stories were mostly super short but interesting and quirky enough that I always wanted to read „just one more“ when one was finished and so I got through the book quite quickly. I apologize however for taking so long to get started with it – RL got in the way.

The book has twenty stories on 243 pages, titles are character names. Some stories are set in the US, others in Australia and some in Europe, mainly Germany. For me the writing sounded a bit as if a German with an extraordinary English vocabulary had written them. I can’t really put my finger on it (as I wrote above not being a native speaker myself), but something in the way sentences were formed made it different from other English texts I usually read. It might also have been the use of third person narration in present tense which was a bit unusual.

The stories themselves are a mixed bag in a very good way, there was only one I didn’t get and that was „Sandra“. Some are very realistic, some are scary, one or two are dystopean. The ones set in Germany are very well observed imo, especially the one (forgot the title) with the 50th birthday. I am sure the author worked much personal experience into the more realistic stories, you believe them at once. But the quirky ones aren’t any weaker, often have surprising twists (the first one is a good example) and show that he has great imagination.

I am very glad I got this ER and I will keep the author on my watchlist from now on.
 
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Deern | 8 other reviews | Jun 22, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found most of the stories within The Book of Names interesting and all were well written. I am definitely going to search out the earlier novel by Royce Leville. Normally I zip through short stories but With the stories in The Book of Names I read one at a time each one staying with me.
 
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Moppette | 8 other reviews | Jun 5, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"Everybody has a novel in them" goes the old saw and self publication seems to lend weight to its truth. Sadly, most of them are awful. However, nobody ever suggested that everybody has a short story collection in them - and rightly so. Royce Leville has produced a collection of 20 short stories with The Book of Names that has not a single dud between the covers. Every single story has a point and a protagonist worth getting to know and that is what these stories do: they introduce you to a character or name and they all, every, one of them intrigues you, and educates you. The sheer range of subjects and subject matter is enormous and not one disappoints. Leville establishes a structure for his stories and fits each of the tales into the structure so convincingly that you would imagine them perfectly crafted one offs. His language and construction is flawless and the entertainment value is up there at the top. I can think of no reader I know who would not enjoy these stories (take me up on the challenge and tell me if I'm wrong). It turns out that RL has previously produced a novel and trust me I am tracking down a copy forthwith.½
 
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papalaz | 8 other reviews | May 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting collection. I found the majority of the stories to be original and entertaining. The different geographic locations seemed at times to be somewhat contrived, but this is a minor quibble. Recommended
 
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Denisodea | 8 other reviews | May 8, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I got this book free from Library Thing in return for a review.

Short stories are not my favourite form of literature, so I rarely read any.

However, I found this collection very readable and suspenseful; I read one every night in bed before putting the lights out.

The author has a distinctive style, and I found these stories different from any I had read before.

He writes about people who perhaps try to do the right thing, as I believe we all do in our way, but who have a different set of morals than most. One man thought it was the right thing to do to bump off a certain sort of person, since he believed he was thereby doing the world a favour. It turned out that perhaps he was focusing on getting rid of precisely this kind of person because they resembled himself, and he was really in this way attempting to get rid of his own undesirable tendencies.

The book was well-written but with too much focus on the macabre to my taste. Some of the stories were a bit scary, and some of them I may not quite have got the point of.

If you are fond of short stories, particularly ones that are somewhat spooky, I would thus advise you to give this book a try. You will probably find it enjoyable, and even if you don´t you will keep turning the pages.
 
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IonaS | 8 other reviews | Apr 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
The concept was good and in most parts I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. It did start off slowly but it is worth continuing. Also it did take a few chapters to get used to how the story is described through various characters. The constant footnotes were distracting and although some were very humourous, I gave up reading them fairly quickly - they broke up the story too much. My only other comment is why the policemen never contacted Environmental Health!?! A much easier way to investigate!

I received this book as a Member Giveaway from LibraryThing.
 
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MarcusB01 | 4 other reviews | Jan 22, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
As is very often always the case, I received this book free in exchange for a review. Despite the kindness of receiving a free book I'm absolutely candid about the book because I want everyone to know what they're getting as much as I hope to when I'm shopping.

The plot summary on this one is delicious! Essentially it's a Sweeney Todd or Delicatessen but in the modern day. What do you do when a big restaurant critic has come for a meal and you're out of meat? Well you improvise of course!

To the positive, this book is delightfully entertaining, assuming your stomach isn't turned. The descriptions of the "meals" aren't terribly graphic but if the idea is enough to make you turn a bit green then you might want to give this a miss because there are a LOT of meals. Also, the characterizations in this book are sharp and diverse and give the novel a lot of color and panache. Lastly, the book has an unusual feature for a work of fiction, over 200 footnotes. These are not, strictly speaking, required reading but they add a lot of back story to the novel and they're often quite dryly hilarious.

To the negative, the plot is a bit wobbly at times in that the characters get away with a lot for a long time that wouldn't really have worked out. It fails slightly in realism but that's all very easily ignored. Also the book suffers from some rather mysterious textual errors confusing your/you're and there/their. This is unusual because the rest of the production is so crisp. Still it's only a minor distraction.

In summary, if you like a dark tale and don't mind a lot of cannibalism, then I can't recommend this one highly enough. You won't be able to resist eating it up; assuming it doesn't eat you first.
 
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slavenrm | 4 other reviews | Dec 29, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
I received this book as a Member Giveaway from LibraryThing. It came in the mail right after Christmas and it was wrapped in Christmas paper, which was a simple and kind gesture that made my day.

Since I am not opposed to cannibalism, I found this book to be more humorous than horrifying (as others might cringe). I may have even gotten a little hungry here and there if I actually liked meatballs. ;)

But really, the book was written in a very unique and creative manner. Royce Leville had everyone's perspective going around in the book and I loved hearing the very real-like and entertaining variety of everyone's point of view. In that, I was impressed at how there were so many perspectives without being confusing. I knew exactly who was expressing when they were expressing.

The story makes you think about what you could be eating when you go out to restaurants. It opens your eyes to the way people can sometimes just stumble upon something that causes them to commit an act they generally wouldn't commit. At the end of this book, you could say that what goes around comes around and it tied up nicely. I really enjoyed reading this.

I also want to add this link that a friend happened to share with me right as I was finishing the book up. It's interesting that this article is very similar to this book:
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/nigeria-restaurant-selling-human-meat-dishes-busted-143...
 
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Luna.Falena | 4 other reviews | Feb 13, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
I was happy to receive this book through the Member Giveaways. I found the story very enjoyable and it kept me interesting all the way to the end. The book had it all, corruption, sex, greed, etc. The footnotes throughout made it a bit more interesting. A fun (but twisted) book to read.½
 
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clowndust | 4 other reviews | Feb 3, 2014 |
Showing 13 of 13