Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Dead End In Norvelt (Jack Gantos)

Dead End In Norvelt is a fictitious memoir of Jack Gantos, charting ‘the most boring summer ever’. At the beginning of summer holidays, Jack is playing around with some things his father found in a Japanese bunker during World War Two, including a (supposedly) unloaded rifle. Unfortunately, the gun goes off, triggering his stress-related nosebleed problem and getting him grounded for the rest of summer (FAIL!).¬†Soon his mother forces him to work with old Ms Volker, who writes obituaries for the local newspaper, and Jack thinks his summer is as bad as they get. Then all the old people start dying like flies and a Hells’ Angels chapter swears vengeance on the town for the death of one of their comrades and Jack discovers that there’s almost no chance of him dying of boredom when there are so many other ways to end up six feet under…

This book is great! It’s well written, funny, and, being based on the author’s childhood, has a definite ring of truth that is far too often lost in other books. It has a lot of stuff I like, writing, history and an old lady who asks the Grim Reaper to tea. Unfortunately it did not involve llamas, so I give it (drumroll, please)… 8.5/10!

(Cue wild cheering) Thank you, thank you! I’ll be back soon with more great books!


How to Kill an Uruk-hai

Uruk-hai breath harshly and deeply, and are enormously strong, tense creatures; top-heavy juggernauts with massive chest, neck, shoulder and jaw development. They snarl and grimace constantly, as they are in constant pain and their only relief lies in violence. Their gait is not dissimilar to that of walking up a steep hill, because as soon as they are spawned they are locked into heavy plate armor, so there is a perceived sense of crushing weight and momentum to their stride. They have difficulty turning quickly. They have limited formal training, just basic drill work, but they are lethal, instinctive fighters, much more dangerous than common Orcs. They use their falchions and spiked shields almost interchangeably, smashing and bashing. Their defenses are power blocks – no finesse, no deflections, just brutal chops that could bounce an attacking weapon back the way it came. Though they are incredibly dangerous fighters, there are several simple was to kill an Uruk-hai.

What You Will Need: A sword/spear/axe/other melee weapon, a bow/sling/other ranged weapon, basic fighting ability.

What To Do:

Bow-based Tactics – Aim for the neck or, if you are an Elf, the armpits, where their armor is weakest. The area around their mouth is similarly undefended, although a strong bow can pierce their chestplate or helmet.

Sword/axe-based Tactics – Again, go for the neck or the legs. Although a good hack in the chest would serve to at least maim your opponent, it is infinitely easier to bowl them over or hold them back via wildly swinging your weapon until help can arrive. If none will, and you’re taking on the forces of Isenguard alone, well, good luck!

Spear-based Tactics – The spear is one of the best weapons to use against large groups of Uruk-hai and, if you are in a small hallway or entrance of some sort, you will be able to hold them off for am indefinite amount of time. Unfortunately, you will be very vulnerable to ranged weaponry.


  • Uruk-hai are very dangerous, and if they are about to attack your farm you should probably run.
  • If you encounter any Hobbits carrying strange golden Rings that seem to whisper to you, run like crazy.
  • If you are requested by said Hobbits (and/or Elves, Dwarves, Men and talking trees) to join their Fellowship and journey to Mordor to destroy evil once and for all, feed them to the Uruk-hai.

Warning: Following the instructions described in this manuscript may result in death, maiming and/or being sold into slavery. Always read the label.