Reader, Writer, Reviewer

Opium Fiend by Steven Martin

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Published by Random House, June 2012 *****

This fascinating book was not only a memoir about Martin’s bizarre decent into opium addiction, but a treatise on the history of opium smoking throughout the world.  His extensive knowledge originated with his obsessive collection of antique opium paraphernalia.  An expat in Southeast Asia, Martin had a curiosity for all things oriental, and he figured the subject of opium was esoteric enough to corner the market.  But amassing a huge collection of opium accoutrements inevitably means sampling the wares.  What began as “research” into technique became an addiction that ruled his life.  He luxuriated in the idea that the methods he followed were all but forgotten and he uses his experimentations in antiquity as an excuse to fuel his habit.  I thought Martin told his story very well, incorporating captivating historical tidbits and even some humor.  His experiences were certainly unique and he did a great job keeping me engaged.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.

Author: Julie Merilatt

I live in a Chicago suburb with my husband and a house full of books. Book collecting, reading, and reviewing consume my life. I have a special affinity for all things Alice in Wonderland. I began my education at Carthage College, wanting to be an English teacher. Eventually I decided that Carthage and I weren’t a good fit anymore, so I transferred to North Park University, where I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher. So I finished my education with a degree in English with a writing concentration. I was always a voracious reader and wrote my first review in April 2007. I don’t remember why exactly I decided to write a review, only that I had just finished The Agony and the Ecstasy and had a strong feeling that I needed to express how I felt about it. This inspired me to write reviews about each book I wrote and after posting on Amazon for two years, I was invited into the Amazon Vine program. I am also an active reviewer/member of Goodreads and enjoy being an active member of the online book community.

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