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

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

“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)

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PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise Hunter

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“Husbands have refinanced the family home and moved the equity into their business; quite often, they will set up separate bank accounts with separate mailing addresses.  It is called insurance.” He pauses soberly. “You would think more women would do it, instead of being stupid, trusting imbeciles.” Chapter 6

PAINTING JULIANA is definitely about a Texas housewife which reflects the Texas attitude and spirit about women, and then it is not.  It is a story about dreams, careers, lawyers, light and dark, wind and tornados, canvas and brushes, mental health and psychological abuse. The story is Juliana’s experience of her lawyer husband throwing her out of the house and telling her they are getting a divorce.  She has only what she can grab in 20 minutes and put in her car and by the time she gets to the gas station her credit cards are cancelled and she has only the funds in her wallet.  She is court ordered to leave her 14 year old twins with their father.  He invents lies to tell the daughter and the son.  It takes the whole length of the book and Juliana figures it out and gets a very classy revenge.

Our first introduction to Juliana she is a seven year old and about to start second grade and a dream sequence/ nightmare begins to frighten her awake each night.  The dreams begin when her mother hangs up black – out curtains to keep the outside – outside.  Her mother has experienced so much racism that she has become an agoraphobic and she never goes outside.  Juliana’s parents are both CPA’s and she is not aware that her father is a painter, whose parents insisted he get a safe career and not paint.  He has lost his dream and his beautiful wife insists that he release his painting activity even more.

The writing is fairly fast paced and I think that helps the story move forward and not drag; the reader truly wants to know what happens next and is left guessing the outcome often.  There is a great deal of adultery in the story and subtle but stealth nasty maneuvers using the law.   Partners appear to be working with the other, yet we find that maybe these actions are part of their destruction.  This is Hunter’s first novel.   I think her writing will get better and I am looking forward to her second book.   My copy of the book is an uncorrected proof and had several unfinished sentences and abrupt transitions, which I am sure the editors will correct before the sale copies are sent to stores.

How can a woman endure so many problems at once and remain emotionally open and parent her children in stolen moments and car pool?  Alzheimer’s, no money, parent’s house in disrepair, only an old Indian motorcycle to drive, bills piling up, brother angry and not helpful and then this reoccurring dream; Juliana holds on – barely.  The divorce papers fly out the window, Texas sized problems and no true friends.

tlc logo TLC Online Booktours and Martha Louise Hunter,  sent me a copy of PAINTING JULIANA  for review and it was quite the exciting read and a warning to lots of women who are ignoring what is happening to them or are living someone else’s dream.   A woman finding her true self, the extremely hard way – PAINTING JULIANA

Martha Louise Hunter Online
Martha Louise Hunter on Facebook 
Martha Louise Hunter’s Blog

PAINTING JULIANA was a finalist in the Writers League of Texas Mainstream Fiction Contest.

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Which Way Now? ~Chris Rahn

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Which Way Now?  Is an historic novel about the Midwestern United States during World War II.   Although it starts in the German Embassy in Minneapolis and information about import and export, the reader immediately is captured by the tensions created by Roosevelt’s decisions and the changing war efforts.  German Immigrants were busy proving that they were citizens and some even changed their names; many of the German’s on visas were busy traveling home and leaving as fast as they were able.

In our part of the country we know much more about the Japanese internment camps than we do about the German POW camps, but they were also present here in our state too.

Wilhelm has been moved up into the position of director of the Embassy from the import/export liaison it is his first day on the job and just in time, he escapes arrest for being a German Spy and Intelligence Officer.     He is able to find a job and “hide out” for a period of time, before he is discovered and questioned.  The USA police do not know what to do with him and doon send him to the heartland of America to be in a prisoner of war camp for German soldiers and provide farm labor to provide food for the war effort.

The POWs made it a horrendous experience for each other and demanded loyalties and used extreme measures on each other.  They often had plenty of food and good medical attention.

This history lesson is told around a nice love story and provides solid information about what it was like to live in small town America and be the daughter left home to work and keep the farm going.  It also defines the few choices open to young women at that period of time and how they were confined and restricted in what they could do or achieve.

Our book group filled the whole evening with great discussions of the various aspects of the story, including looking at Germany today after the rebuilding and what they have achieved.   I think this is a story that we need as a reminder of what our history lessons teach us.  It is a keen look at the prejudices and actions of people in various aspects of war and how they got along,  coped and dealt with the hatred and fear being whipped to a frenzy.

Chris Rahn was busy at the time of our meeting, but she is a local author and was helpful about following through on our questions.  One of our members said Rahn had been her work supervisor and was just one of the best people she ever worked for and with.   What I liked especially was her writing style and good word usage.   It was a thoughtful book and the characters were believable and well written.

I would recommend this as a good story, good history lesson and I am sure most high school students would get a better understanding of WWII from Which Way Now?.

(Chris Rahn’s picture and Amazon page)

If you purchase anything from Amazon   or Powell’s   from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you

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