The Reasons

What is this blog for?

It’s for reviewing books of all types. I started putting reviews on Goodreads around 2007, and did so off and on every since then. In 2013, when our first child was born, I started a blog with my wife. A little while after that, I submitted a review to The Stake which went over well. That inspired me to create an independent blog just for book reviews.

Where did the title of the blog come from?

I lifted this name from one of my favorite Shearwater songs. It contemplates a whale bleeding out into the water as glimpsed from below, inspired by a scene from the documentary Blue Water, White Death. It’s a pretty great film if you’re the nature type. I also stole it for my Twitter handle (@Leviathan_B).

What’s your favorite book?

This question is hard. Instead of mulling over old favorites, some recent series that have really won me over are Thomas Cromwell and Southern Reach.

What’s your favorite bookstore?

When we moved to Des Moines, we lucked out big time by landing pretty close to Beaverdale Books. But I can’t buy new books very often, so I’ve been using the library more than ever—the branch near us is awesome. And another favorite spot is Half Price Books. I really like what they do to keep a bunch of great books in rotation for the public.


10 thoughts on “The Reasons

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a couple of comments there. I really appreciate that. Your visit to my blog led me to your wonderful blog here. Will go through your blog in more detail soon. Do hope to have more conversions on books with you.

    • Hi, Pankaj, thanks for stopping by as well. Sometimes I get too focused in on my own reviews and have to remind myself to explore other book blogs. So from time to time I make an effort to connect with those who have read some similar titles. I’m glad I found your site.

      I look forward to discussing whichever books we share interest in. Feel free to comment any time! Take care.

  2. Thanks for following The Immortal Jukebox Levi. I hope you are finding lots to entertain you and maybe making some discoveries. If you haven’t visited for a while check it out again. Please feel free to add comments. Good luck with your fascinating blog. Regards Thom.

  3. Wonderful blog! You’ve inspired me to begin hunting for some of these titles on my own. I do have some recommendations for you, if you’d like.

    The first, and perhaps my favorite book, is The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis. It’s already considered a classic of Greek poetry and literature and I am convinced its reputation as one of the most important works of literature in the 20th century will only grow. If you need an English translation, the one by Kimon Friar is pretty good, but I think a crucial depth of structure and meter are always lost when poetry is translated out of its original language. Still, as far as epic poetry goes, there isn’t much out there from the past few hundred years that can beat this, in my opinion.

    If you’re looking for historical fiction, The Afghan Campaign by Steven Pressfield is a great starting point for understanding Afghan (especially Pashtun) warrior culture and just why, I believe, we can never “win” in Afghanistan. I read it just before I went to fight in that damned, stupid war in 2013. And it helped to reinforce my suspicions about just how damned, stupid I was. 🙂

    Finally, back on the poetry theme, I’ve been readying Oral Poetry from Africa: An Anthology, compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White. I’m not sure about your feelings regarding poetry, but I have always been interested in oral traditions and their transmission. So much human culture has been lost through the ages because it was never written down, and yet it still forms an essential backdrop to who we are. If you’re not careful, you’ll breeze through this one. But poetry generally needs to be savored a bit, to be appreciated.

    Anyway, keep up the great work and I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the future!

    • I almost forgot Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. I read this one a long time ago, but it helped instill in me a spirit of exploration which still runs deep today. It also fueled my resolve to one day visit Antarctica, preferably with a science mission. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but the dream’s still alive.

      • I did read about Shackleton’s journey once. I think the book was called South, but I can’t remember the author. The story is cool in and of itself but I didn’t think the particular book I read was anything special. Would love to revisit again with this one by Lansing. Have you read The Lost City of Z by David Grann? That’s a pretty good one about a classic adventure tale!

    • Hi Ian, thanks so much for clicking in, and especially for commenting. I appreciate the thoughtful recommendations.

      I think you are listing things up my alley. I have a nifty encyclopedia set of great works of Western literature, and I realized I need to actually read The Iliad and The Odyssey. They don’t look too intimidating. Do you think I should read The Odyssey and then the one you recommended? It sounds great.

      Good call on the historical fiction one. I find I need more narrative non-fiction and historical fiction so that I can slowly piece things together. History and politics are not my strong points.

      I like poetry a lot. I read a decent amount of modern poetry back in the day, and also some standard classics while in school. I was thinking that in some upcoming year I’d dive back in and try to go through several collections. The one you mentioned sounds like a worthy addition.

      I’m adding these all to my to-read list. Thanks again!

      • Sorry for the delay in responding! The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy, so I sometimes file things deep in my mind somewhere and they randomly pop out like a month later. I would recommend reading Homer’s Odyssey before reading the book by Kazantzakis. They’re totally different in the directions they take, but to understand Odysseus the Homeric background will be helpful. I’ve read the Iliad as well, but honestly I enjoyed the Odyssey much more and felt that you don’t really need to read the Iliad to understand what is happening in the Odyssey.

        As for narrative non-fiction and historical fiction, I have mostly been interested in how historical events have shaped the predominant ideas and conflicts of our time. It amazes me how much our culture seems to exhibit some sort of self-induced amnesia sometimes. 🙂

        Anyway, I really enjoy reading this blog and look forward to more of your reviews in the future!

  4. Pingback: Liebster Award – postconsumerbookclub

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