patriciaswisdom.com Rotating Header Image

 

THE THING ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS and other stories ~Rebecca Adams Wright

“These are ceaselessly inventive stories, witty, wry, and wondrous, by turn, and all graced with an emotional sincerity that ensure they never dip into mere whimsy.  This is speculative fiction with both a head and a heart.”  -Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl. (From the cover)

THE THING ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS and Other Stories is that it is a collection of fine boned stories that connect in the present moment, while drawing close history and future into the reader’s comprehension while evolving into a truly original possibility.

I grabbed the Uncorrected, Unproofed book as I was heading for a doctor’s appointment.  One more stories and one more test turned into an incredible 9 hour waiting event and THE THING ABOUT GREAT WHITE SHARKS held my attention through each test and waiting for an outcome.  The stories grabbed hold of the mind’s eye and held on until the story stopped.  The stories swirled around in my head while sleep was induced and pain relieved.  My advocate perused the stories while I rested.

The chapter titles caught my attention:

  • Sheila
  • Tiger Brigh
  • What to Expect When You’re expecting an Alien Parasite
  • Orchids
  • Melville loves Hawthorne
  • The Other Husband
  • Barnstormers
  • The Space We Share
  • Poland, 1952
  • Keeper of the Glass
  • Yuri, in a Blue Dress
  • Storybag
  • The Thing about Great White Sharks
  • Aleph Bat
  • The White Chalk Road

How amazing would it be to be flying in an ornithopter in an air show and to know that you just saved your teams future by flying a new and dangerous configuration?  How hard would it be to give up your dog companion and good friend because the law said it was to be done? How would you rationalize or explain a school locker turning in homework after the student died?

I was very pleased to be reviewing these stories for TLC Book Tours so I could share them with you.   I did not like every story in the book with equal delight and yet the book got me through a difficult day with the clever, heartfelt writing

About the author from TLC web page:

“Rebecca Adams Wright is a 2011 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop and a former University of Michigan Zell Writing Fellow. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan and has won the Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize. Rebecca lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her husband and daughter.”

Rebecca Adams Wright Facebook
Rebecca Adams Wright Website 

Related:
What the Zhang Boys Know
Flings
No Longer And Not Yet 
Half As Happy Stories 

I REGRET EVERYTHING: A Love Story ~Seth Greenland

“I don’t know that poets will ever have a public role again but for me poetry is something that must be read closely because the finest work demands a radical empathy.” (Unproofed, uncorrected copy page 91)

I REGRET EVERYTHING is a story I highly recommend to all readers.  Written by a poet and satirist, this novel is compact and complete in expressing it’s theme; the words are silken and clever all at the most wonderful pace.  The vulnerability, which is expressed between these two characters, is heart opening and magical in ways that make the reader empathize and want to know that depth of connection.

Jeremy Best is an estate lawyer in a huge firm in NYC; he wanted to be a writer/poet but his graduate school advisor damaged that possibility. He made poetry his secondary career and had several poems published in notable periodicals.  He had his life all planned out and safe, hoping to make partner in the firm and had not found a life partner at age 33.

Spaulding, the boss’s daughter, is 19 and has been in boarding school in Europe, came home and tried to commit suicide. She needs to be under care and on medications if her divorced parents have their way.  She would like to be a writer and a poet and while working at her father’s law firm she discovers that Mr. Best is a published poet.  She who is quirky and shy begins a friendship with Mr. Best and they text poetic lines to each other as she works on life and figuring out where she needs to be to go forward with her dream.

“By the time he finished the cake he was less vexed.  It’s truly amazing the power of knowing someone, somewhere, is willing to listen to you for free, to know you’re less alone than you think.  Isn’t that what everyone with a beating heart really wants?  To know they’re not alone.  When it started to get dark and I told him he had to go back to Connecticut he was too tired to argue.  We returned to my apartment to get his suitcase.”  Spaulding to younger step brother Marshall (Page 251)

I know that all good poetry needs to be read a number of times, as with this story.  There is so much to enjoy and one reading will not resolve all the dynamics into an evolution of thought or action.  I do not think I would like to see this story made into a movie the words are so crucial for me and the producers would change it into a plain old love story – banal and trite.   The words are so important – wondrous.

What does it mean to be alive?  What is this reference to no regrets at death and yet these evolved characters are having lives full of regrets and control?  The discovery of authentic self is dynamic at any age; toss in humor and WOW.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review and I am thankful.

About Seth Greenland (from TLC page)
Seth Greenland is a novelist, playwright, and a screenwriter. He was a writer-producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO series Big Love, is an award-winning playwright, and the author of the novels The Angry Buddhist, The Bones, and Shining City, which was named a Best Book of 2008 by the Washington Post. Greenland lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Seth Greenland Online
Seth Greenland Wikipedia

Related:
The Divorce Diet 
US 
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 
The Courage to Be Free 

THE LAST GOOD PARADISE: A Novel ~Tatjana Soli

“Everyone encouraged one to ‘live the dream,’ but no one talked about how to pay for it.”   “He was learning the hard way that even divine cooking didn’t make one immune to being unloved.  Sadly, food wasn’t always enough.”  (Unproofed copy at 25% of Kindle reader)

Ever dream about living on an isolated island in the South Pacific?  THE LAST GOOD PARADISE is about that very concept of escaping to a remote island, having no fancy amenities handed to you and relaxing to a happiness of self-discovery.  Soli has put in more twists and turns than you can imagine including such amazing back stories of each of the characters that it is very difficult to put this book down.

I recommend this book to folks who like to read about how a character reaches their best potential and wants to ameliorate the back-story into the reality that is surfacing into the story now.  This is a study in responsibility and relationships between individuals and commitments and how they are going to play out their own happiness and future.  I found the writing compelling and the words kept me reading in the few draggy/ redundant moments; I was not actually on a sunny atoli in the South Pacific having nothing to do and gourmet food arriving on time!

THE LAST GOOD PARADISE introduces us to Ann and Richard a Los Angeles power couple that is attempting to become pregnant and about to open their own restaurant.   Ann is an attorney who has been making the money and saving for this big adventure of Richard’s when their plans become a train wreck and they hurriedly gather their savings and race out of L.A.   They travel lite, taking only a backpack and a tourist bag full of cash; and a brown one-piece bathing suit!

When they get to the remote resort, they meet Loren, a Frenchman, who won the resort in a poker game; he has chosen this remote lifestyle for his own.  A most interesting fellow, who has brought Titi, of the Royal family, and her childhood betrothed, Cooked to help him run the resort, reclaim their heritage, and become the owners upon Loren’s death.

Dex and Wende are aging rock star and his young muse, both are attempting to escape from the pressure of the public and move forward onto new pathways and adventures.  After 2 months of being isolated, the events on the island assist Dex in writing new songs for the band and Wende has found her own passion and not just being the muse and “hottie”.

There is an underlying environmental issue, which begs for some responsible re-action and recovery in that it has truly affected lives and the way of life,  also the whole problem of the  huge resorts for the wealthy including the theft of the land and lifestyle from the original people.

I have read all of Tatjana Soli’s novels and enjoyed them all.  This is the first one I have been sent for review.  I liked this story very much and think others would also as it required me to take a look at the choices I had made and my responsibilities over my life.  Was I a follower or a “wild-child”?

I think book groups would enjoy this read, as there is a lot to discuss.  I think a study guide would very much enhance this book.

About the author from the TLC Book Tour page:

“TATJANA SOLI is a novelist and short story writer. Her New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, was the winner of the James Tait Black Prize, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the LA Times Book Award. Her critically acclaimed second novel The Forgetting Tree was also a New York Times Notable book . Her stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Boulevard, and The Sun, and have been listed in Best American Short Stories. She lives with her husband in Southern California.”

Tatjana Soli Twitter

Related:
The Divorce Diet 
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 
Walter’s Muse
US 

THE SERPENT OF VENICE: A Satire ~Written by the witty, clever, author, Christopher Moore

“Shakespeare and Poe might be rolling in their graves, but they’re rolling with laughter.  Moore is one of the cleverest, naughtiest writers alive.” ~Carl Hiaasen (cover)

Christopher Moore enthusiasts will love this book.  Teenage boys who need to read THE MERCHANT OF VENICE by the Bard will love reading this book.  Teenagers will love this book and the irreverent humor and saucy taste of Shakespeare’s famous comedy.

“Moore’s greatest asset is his skill with language. Readers with a certain Monty Python nerdiness will rejoice in its hundreds of insults…and jokes… Witty and wise…Serpent is a bright, quick novel.” ~ USA TODAY  (cover)

Yes, indeed THE SERPENT OF VENICE is all of this and these reviewers who are paid for their words folks are absolutely spot on with the thoughts they share.   I did read this book cover to cover in 6 hours, it is Christopher Moore in full – bodied wetsuit of jest, humor and brawdy paraphrasing of Shakespeare’s glorious comedy.

I did laugh several times, and I know 3 older women who have shared PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING, another Moore novel, with our book group, which we all enjoyed.   I found THE SERPENT OF VENICE over the top and  I believe F*#K is definitely not my favorite adjective.  The serpent was a delightful addition to the story, Pocket was a great and clever court jester-emissary-narrator and the women were just amazing.  Pocket’s sidekicks Drool, the muscle guy, and Jeff, the monkey, were just so-so characters and helpmates to the story.   I did enjoy the parallels and additions and then I just got tired of reading the book.   I would not read the story again, but I have referred the book to Mothers of 15-year-old boys who are not reading much of anything right now; the first report is that one son thought it was great and is currently reading it.

I did feel compelled to look up The Merchant of Venice in Spark Notes* and that was so reassuring that I borrowed my daughter’s complete Shakespeare and read the comedy start to finish; enjoyed the humor and rough language immensely in true form.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for sharing this new book with me.

In Christopher Moore’s own words:

(The afterword was the best part for me) “ The point of this, I suppose, is that I didn’t intend The Serpent of Venice to be a story about discrimination, although discrimination is manifest among the characters.  For me, it’s a story about hypocrisy and greed, courage and grief, anger and revenge.  But most important, I wanted it to be a story that shows how cool it would be to have your own dragon, which I have wanted since I was five.”

Bio and links:

“Christopher Moore is the author of thirteen previous novels, including Lamb, The stupidest Angel, Fool, Sacre’ Bleu, and A Dirty Job.  He lives in San Francisco, California” (back cover)

www.chrismoore.com
Follow @TheAuthorGuy
Friend Facebook.com/theauthorguy

Related:
Strings and Bones
The Crown 
The Chalice  
Equal Rites