Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine gave it 3 stars in their Feb. 2008 issue:
Capone has a vivid imagination and a unique voice. Written in the first person, his book reads like an autobiography, though the younger man and much older woman plotline may make some readers uncomfortable.
Summary: Wayne Benson is a 30-year-old bachelor who's tired of working hard all day and then shopping for groceries, making dinner, doing laundry and cleaning his apartment. The answer to his prayers is The Sunset, a retirement community he toured with his parents when they were looking for a new home.
The only problem is Wayne's too young to be accepted into this type of residence. But he devises a scheme to age himself by donning theatrical make-up and a gray wig. Wayne easily settles into life as a senior citizen and finds an elderly girlfriend. What follows is a sometimes funny, sometimes sad look at old age. (REBEL PRESS, Feb., 233 pp., $15.95)
In God Is Dead by Ron Currie, Jr.—a novel in stories—we see what happens throughout the world after God dies. Literally. He takes the form of a DinkaIn God Is Dead by Ron Currie, Jr.—a novel in stories—we see what happens throughout the world after God dies. Literally. He takes the form of a Dinka woman in Darfur, gets killed, and is eaten by feral dogs. Then the shit really hits the fan.
I don't want to give too much away, but the reactions around the world are varied, and Currie handles each separate chapter expertly, and with a streak of black humor. I mean, the world continues, and could/would remain the same as it ever was if not for the extreme reactions worldwide. So society breaks down for a while as humans adjust to life without God, as new beliefs are put in place, as new reasons for war are born, and as new reasons for carrying on are examined. Kind of like I felt after my Yankees lost to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.
Coincidentally, I've read three post-breakdown-of-society books in a row: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, God Is Dead by Ron Currie, Jr., and The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Three very different books, so it may not be fair to compare them. But Currie more than holds his own against those much-honored writers. In fact, God Is Dead is one of those books that leaves a lasting impression, and sticks in your mind long after reading it. I already want to go back and re-read it....more
Rob Saunders is the lead character in this stylish novel by Roger Morris. After witnessing a suicide one morning, Saunders impulsively picks up the noRob Saunders is the lead character in this stylish novel by Roger Morris. After witnessing a suicide one morning, Saunders impulsively picks up the notebook the girl dropped, and is strangely comforted by the presence of this souvenir in his briefcase. But as we read further into the book, we learn that Saunders is not the only character who finds comfort in routine, in physical objects, in hopes and dreams that may never be realized (yet are always on the horizon).
Every character in this book is affected by--and witness to--Saunders' movements in his daily life, and in fact, through use of different POVs, we know what they are thinking and feeling, know how they react to Saunders' increasingly obsessive actions as he seeks out more and more tragedies (and souvenirs), and know what their own quirks and "comforts" are. People crave their routines, while also yearning to break out of their ruts and do something exciting or spontaneous. Conversely, if their routine is upset, they feel lost. But how can one feel safe and comforted in this increasingly unsafe new world of terrorism, climate change, and suicide bombers anyway? That's the question Morris poses.
As the story progresses, Saunders' desire for more and more comfort drives him (ironically) into more and more dangerous situations. In the end, something has to give. Morris' use of short chapters and different character POVs really keep the pace of this novel fast, as each chapter flows perfectly into the next. If you are looking for a quick, engrossing, different book to read, I highly recommend Roger Morris' Taking Comfort....more
If you need a baseball fix this winter, I heartily recommend Hardball. I found this gem on the discard shelf of my library, and picked it up for ten cIf you need a baseball fix this winter, I heartily recommend Hardball. I found this gem on the discard shelf of my library, and picked it up for ten cents!
It chronicles a Little League team in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green housing projects during the summer of 1992. It's about more than just baseball, however. Author Daniel Coyle does an excellent job of weaving the personal lives with the baseball personas of the individual players. You get to know each player, his home life and personality, and how and why he came to join the team, the Kikuyus. The field is the players' escape from the reality of the projects' gang wars, murder, teen pregnancy, and broken families.
The book also discusses the politics that seep into the league, and the tension that arises between the original founder of the league (who is African-American and from Cabrini-Green), and the white coaches who volunteer their time to try and teach the kids baseball, as well as win their trust and friendship.
This is an old book, published in 1993. An excellent journalist, Coyle has since gone on to write a novel, and a book about Lance Armstrong, Lance Armstrong's War. You don't have to be a baseball fan to like Hardball. It's about society, and opportunity, and community. Pick it up. ---------------------------------- A side note to Mr. Coyle: It's been nearly 15 years since you wrote this book. I'd love to see a follow-up, even if it's an article and not a full-length book. Where are the kids now? What are they doing? Who succeeded? Who succumbed to the lure of gang life? What has happened to the residents—and gangs—of Cabrini-Green, now that a new urban renewal is happening, and the old projects of the neighborhood are coming down?...more
Well, I finally gave in and read THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy. I usually resist reading books that I am "supposed" to read. This novel just won the PuWell, I finally gave in and read THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy. I usually resist reading books that I am "supposed" to read. This novel just won the Pulitzer, but come on, how many post-apocalyptic stories, novels, and films have been done? Dozens? Hundreds? Nothing new under the sun, I figured. I also resisted for so long because of McCarthy's lack of punctuation in his novels, a trick that I find pretentious. But I caved and joined the bandwagon.
Now, besides his lack of quotation marks and apostrophes, his writing style is of the sort that you either love or you don't. I swear at some points McCarthy was just making up words on the fly. Thirty pages into the book I hated it, and regretted ever going down the road. But like a bad movie you don't want to walk out on in the hopes that it will get better, I stuck with the novel, waiting for something to happen.
The father and son, who are the lead characters, travel the road in search of other "good guy" survivors of the unnamed apocalypse (nuclear war, I guess) that ruined the world, burning it to a lifeless gray ash (if you removed all the times McCarthy used the words "gray" and "ash," the novel would be a third shorter). They are on a vague route toward the coast, in the hopes that it will be better and there will be more people near the ocean. Meanwhile, they have to scavenge for clothes, food and water, while keeping an eye out for the "bad guys," other survivors who might want to kill them and steal their provisions.
Page 90 (of 241) came and went, and I still wasn't liking it any better. McCarthy seemed to be as lost as his characters, wandering aimlessly in search of something meaningful. Then on page 93 McCarthy decided the book needed more of a plot. There is a scene in a basement of a house that just turned the whole book around. Now it got interesting. Also at this point, McCarthy begins to tell the story in a more straightforward manner, shaking off his Mr. Fancypants literary style somewhat and just getting down to the basics of telling the story.
But there is more to this book than "stuff happening" on the road. It is about the relationship between the father and young son, and the father's attempt to keep the boy alive and well, as well as keeping him on the side of the "good guys." That part isn't hard because the kid is innately good, and there were a few instances where I wondered if McCarthy was hinting at something larger, messianic. Either way, the father's instincts were to protect the boy; if the Earth was going to have a future that included humans, his life was more important than the father's.
I'm not one for having everything wrapped up nicely at the end of a story. And McCarthy didn't do that. Without giving it away, I can say that the end is left open and he can write a sequel if he chooses. Or, it can stand as it is, with the reader left to imagine the next day, month, year, century of this place called Earth....more