Book Report

It’s no secret I am a huge fan of Roxane Gay. Her books Bad Feminist, Difficult Women and Hunger are are true literary treasures to me.

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So I was thrilled to get my  hands on Gay’s first collection of short stories Ayiti, which chronicles the complex lives of American’s of Haitian descent, Haitian immigrants and those still living in Haiti. Ayiti examines topics like love and sex, family relationships, education, politics, racism, sexual identity, fitting in (or not) and so much more. And Ayiti is written in Gay’s notable and remarkable voice. Now I’ve got to read Gay’s novel Untamed State.

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Book Marks: Special Readin’, Writin’ and Rantin’ Edition

Several days ago an econ professor from LIU (Long Island University) by the name of Panos Mourdoukoutas wrote a ridiculous op-ed for Forbes.coms complaining about his taxes shouldn’t go to libraries because we have Amazon.com. Not surprisingly, this op-ed piece didn’t go over for those of us who love libraries and all they do to make our communities vibrant places to live and thrive.

Not surprisingly the nutty professor’s ridiculous op-ed didn’t go over well and countless library folks ripped him a new one via his Twitter and other outlets.
Forbes.com deleted the op-ed piece and issued an apology.

I read Mourdoukoutas’s original op-ed and nearly lost my cookies. It was not the way I wanted to start my weak. I wanted to chuck my smart phone across the room. Libraries are sacred places to me, and they offer so much more than books, DVDs, CDs, etc. They are community centers for young and old alike. They offer help for job seekers or people looking to upgrade various skills. People can use the Internet for free and printing, faxing and copying for a small fee. Children can go to story hours, people can hold meetings for, and teens can pick up that latest YA novel. Librarians are angels on earth and I’m always welcomed with a smile and a helping hand whenever I go to my local librarians. Libraries and my library card are essential as breathing so I have absolutely no problem with taxes going to libraries.

As for you Mourdoukoutas? You are about essential as a stroke.

Book Review: Synod by Dan Gunderman


In Dan Gunderman’s historical fiction novel Synod it is 1829 and Goldfinch with his traveling companion, a freed slave named Solomon are on journey through the northern part of New Jersey.

Goldfinch is the leader of Synod, a community of abolitionists and a refuge for escaped slaves during the early years of the Underground Railroad, which takes precedence as this novel unfolds.

Goldfinch is both reserved and not exactly the warmest man. He is also subject to odd visions and distracting dreams. These visions and dreams are hugely violent and predict a violent end to Synod and its mission. The message is Synod will meet its fate when attacked by bounty hunters from the South who want to take the escaped slaves back to their owners.

Goldfinch, Solomon and most of the people who make up Synod agree they must take up arms to fight this potential attack. But is this the truly best option?

Woven throughout this novel are real people like Governor Peter Dumont Vroom and Lyman and Catherine Beecher. So are issues of rivalry, jealousy, betrayal, sex, envy and love. Along for this novel’s journey includes violence, suspense, drama and unsavory political doings.  All these elements give Synod a multidimensional depth and meaning. Clearly,  Gunderman did his homework.

However, I wasn’t keen on the supernatural aspects of this novel. Synod doesn’t need it. It stands alone as a singular work of historical fiction.

Furthermore, Synod is best to be read the darker and colder days of autumn and winter. It’s a bit too heavy during the dog days of summer when many of us want to read lighter fair.

Nevertheless, in a time of deeply imbedded racism, Synod is an important work of fiction.

 

 

 

 

Writers Block

Sorry about the lack of updated material on this blog but in the past week real life has intervened.

However, I am about to start work on a book review and maybe a couple of publicity pieces. I also want to do a Q and A session with a publicist who has sent me quite a few books to read and review.

Your patience is appreciated.

We Interrupt This Blog for this Special and Important Announcement

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Born in Wisconsin and raised in Illinois, Patrick Canning now calls California home where he lives with his dog Hank. Canning has written several books, a collection of short stories called Five Fantastic and a novel named Cryptofauna. Canning’s latest offering is novel The Colonel and the Bee.

The Colonel and The Bee is about an explorer and an acrobat who travel the globe on a huge hot air balloon. On their spectacular journey, the duo search for a treasured artifact and a deadly treasure hunter who also desires it.

Canning sums up The Colonel and The Bee with the following:

“Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.”

Here is more information about The Colonel and the Bee:

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Author’s Website

Author’s Instagram

Amazon Link

Good Reads