3 Nov 2019, 7:33pm
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Beneath the Flames” by Gregory Lee Renz

Kate’s 2¢: “Beneath the Flames” by Gregory Lee Renz

“Beneath the Flames” by Gregory Lee Renz

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

A writing colleague sent me “Beneath The Flames” by Gregory Lee Renz and I couldn’t stop reading it.  I cried and laughed and cheered and admired the characters.

This story demonstrates the power of writing what you know. Right off the bat, we’re fighting a fire, sorrowing with a grieving mother, wondering why Mitch’s mother wished he’d never been born, and bewildered by his father’s rejection, as well as, descriptions of sex  , race issues, and violence. There’s even a canine therapist!

The forward conveys the admiration Thomas M. Jones, Milwaukee Fire Department Battalion Chief, has for the author and his abilities as a fireman and writer.

Renz  published through https://henschelhausbooks.com, an independent and traditional publishing house that works closely with    authors to produce timely, high-quality paperback, hardcovers, e-books, and audiobooks.

You can hear Renz’s archived tele-conference presentation with a writer’s group on November 3, 2019 at www.BehindOurEyes.org

 

More information about the author can be found on his Website: www.glrenz.com.

After serving the citizens of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years as a firefighter, Gregory Renz retired to Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Over the years, he shared stories

of his experiences on the job with friends and family. People could not get enough of these stories, except perhaps his wife who heard them over and over

again. Gregory was involved in a dramatic rescue of two little boys from their burning basement. He received a series of awards for this rescue including

induction into the Wisconsin Fire and Police Hall of Fame in 2006. When he was asked to share the dramatic rescue at several awards banquets, he was moved

by the emotional responses he received and realized just how powerful storytelling can be. Gregory has always been an avid reader and thought maybe he

could craft a compelling novel if he could learn how to get these stories on the page. Numerous creative writing courses, workshops, and conferences later,

he typed

The End to his first novel, BENEATH THE FLAMES, which was inspired by two adorable little girls, around eight and five years of age, who lived across from

an inner-city firehouse he was stationed at for three years. Those two girls stayed in his thoughts over the years, demanding he tell their story. They

are two of the main characters in the novel. He hopes he did them justice.

 

Mr. Renz wrote  in a 2019October   e-mail to Behind Our Eyes Written Word Party Line:  “I’m looking forward to sharing my journey from retired fire captain to published author. And what a journey it’s

been. I should add that the book was recently awarded the Gold Medal in The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award competition. My head is still spinning

over this.

 

is.”

31 Oct 2019, 5:37am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: Natt och Dag, Niklas “The Wolf and The Watchman”

Kate’s 2¢: Natt och Dag, Niklas “The Wolf and The Watchman”

Kate’s 2¢: Natt och Dag, Niklas “The Wolf and The Watchman”

Not to be confused with “The wolf and the watchman: a father, a son, and the CIA” by Scott Johnson

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

This is an awesome story, from when the Watchman pulls the human torso out of the polluted water, to the search for the perpetrator, to the surprise ending.

When Natt och Dag writes (paraphrased): ‘…The storm stalked the town like a hump-backed beetle on spindly legs of lightening…’  it rivals Robert Frost’s ‘…The fog comes / on little cat feet/ It sits looking/ over harbor and city/ on silent haunches/ and then moves on/…’.(from ‘Fog’ by Robert Frost).

I was surprised to find another book with a similar title “The wolf and the watchman: a father, a son, and the CIA” by Scott Johnson.

 

From the WEB:

…Niklas Natt och Dag (“Night and Day”) is a member of the oldest surviving noble family in Sweden. He enjoys playing the guitar, mandolin, violin, and the Japanese bamboo flute. “The Wolf and the Watchman “, his first novel, was named the Best Debut of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers and is being published in thirty countries.

… In his debut novel, Natt och Dag examines the effects of a brutal murder on those who investigate it—and explores the psychological causes for the crime. Stockholm, 1793: Sweden is still recovering from an unpopular war with Russia; some veterans, like watchman Mickel Cardell, lost limbs in the slaughter, and he was one of the lucky ones.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC

The wolf and the watchman DB95349

Natt och Dag, Niklas. Reading time: 13 hours, 43 minutes.

Read by Caspar Rundegren.

 

Mystery and Detective Stories

 

  1. A year after the death of King Gustav III, paranoia and whispered conspiracies fill the land. Mickel Cardell, a disabled ex-soldier and former night watchman, finds a mutilated body. He teams with lawyer Cecil Winge to find the perpetrator. Translated from the original 2017 Swedish edition. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
24 Oct 2019, 5:23am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: Bendell, Don “Chief of scouts Books 1-3”

Kate’s 2¢: Bendell, Don “Chief of scouts Books 1-3”

Kate’s 2¢:  Bendell, Don “Chief of scouts Books 1-3”

Not to be confused with De Barthe Joseph The life and adventures of Frank Grouard chief of scouts USA

 

 

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

Oh, Dear Gussie!  Who doesn’t love a good oater and/or western book, especially when it starts out with our hero shaking in his boots, but, never showing it, as Christopher Columbus Colt, the nephew of the Colt 45 gun manufacturer, rescues the beautiful pioneer woman?

I once read a book by a radio announcer who published his interviews with real, old-time cowboys and the book written by a cowgirl who high-lighted her mother’s life and other strong, Western cowgirls who stood by their men and on their own ‘back in the day’. “Chief of Scouts” by Don Bendell  blends the best of both those books. He has done his homework, research, and has the experience to craft wonderful fiction. He weaves Chris Columbus Colt into historic events with Custer, Chief Joseph, the Buffalo Soldiers, and other historic figures, as well as, a stint of doing it all blind. I’ll look for more of his books to read and, apparently, there are a lot of them.

 

From his website:

best-selling author, mainly of westerns, Don Bendell has penned 29 books with over 3,000, 000 copies in print worldwide. Don is a 1995 inductee into the International Karate & Kickboxing Hall of Fame and 1996 inductee into the Martial Arts Museum of America Don and his wife, the late Master Shirley Bendell are the only couple in history to both be inducted into the International Karate and Kickboxing Hall of Fame…

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Don developed Ischemic heart disease and  Type II diabetes “due to excessive exposure to Agent Orange.”  He is rated by VA as a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran…

Don has a Master of Science in Leadership degree from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Colorado Christian University. He has also been a US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) captain, a licensed Colorado big-game guide and outfitter, bodyguard, executive sales rep, TV Talk show host, and radio disc jockey. In  the nineties, Don also created and wrote the first six books of the popular science fiction “Tracker” series under the pen name Ron Stillman.  See his website for the full scoop on this fascinating author.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Chief of scouts. Books 1-3 DB94901

Bendell, Don. Reading time: 20 hours, 19 minutes.

Read by Jack Fox.

 

Historical Fiction

Western Stories

 

Trilogy written in 1993 and 1994. In Chief of Scouts, cavalry scout Chris Colt must choose sides at the battle of Little Big Horn. In Horse Soldiers, the army battles Chief Joseph. In Colt, Colt tries to suppress an Apache rebellion. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 1994.

 

18 Oct 2019, 6:29am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “The Silent Corner “;” The whispering room”; “The crooked staircase”; “The forbidden door” by Dean Koontz

Kate’s 2¢: “The Silent Corner “;” The whispering room”; “The crooked staircase”; “The forbidden door” by Dean Koontz

“The Silent Corner “;” The whispering room”; “The crooked staircase”; “The forbidden door” by Dean Koontz

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I think it was in 2017 that I received the NLS cartridge titled “The Silent Corner” by Dean Koontz. I read it and sent it back. Then, a few months ago, I received a story that rang a bell. The characters  sounded very familiar  and I was off on a search to find more Jane Hawk stories. I found “The Silent Corner “;” The whispering room”; “The crooked staircase”; “and The forbidden door”.

I was amazed at how many books Koontz has published. Among the many descriptors of Dean Koontz’s works are:  Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mystery and Detective Stories, adventure, and, of course, Bestsellers.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

The silent corner DB89177

Koontz, Dean R, (Dean Ray). Reading time: 14 hours, 24 minutes.

Read by Elisabeth Rodgers.

 

Suspense Fiction

Bestsellers

Psychological Fiction

 

“I very much need to be dead.” These are the chilling words left behind by Jane’s husband, who had everything to live for–but took his own life. Jane is determined to find the truth, because other accomplished, happy people have recently been committing suicide in surprising numbers. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2017.

 

The whispering room DB89869

Koontz, Dean R, (Dean Ray). Reading time: 16 hours, 41 minutes.

Read by Elisabeth Rodgers.

 

Suspense Fiction

Bestsellers

Psychological Fiction

 

Following Jane Hawk’s husband’s inexplicable suicide–and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals in The Silent Corner (DB 89177)–Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2017.

 

The crooked staircase DB91680

Koontz, Dean R, (Dean Ray). Reading time: 15 hours, 59 minutes.

Read by MacKenzie Beyer.

 

Suspense Fiction

Adventure

Mystery and Detective Stories

Psychological Fiction

Bestsellers

 

Jane Hawk plans the capture of the Department of Justice’s Booth Hendrickson, one of the powerful cabal responsible for “adjusting” over sixteen thousand people using brain-altering nanotechnology and then eliminating those they believe would steer civilization in the wrong direction. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2018.

 

The forbidden door: a Jane Hawk novel DB93915

Koontz, Dean R, (Dean Ray). Reading time: 14 hours, 30 minutes.

Read by Emily Ellet.

 

Suspense Fiction

Psychological Fiction

 

Now that fugitive rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk has made some inroads against the Techno Arcadians mind-control cabal, they are more intent than ever to find her well-hidden young son Travis to use against her. And Jane is rushing to stop them. Violence and strong language. 2018.

 

Dean Koontz: a writer’s biography DB48324

Ramsland, Katherine M. Reading time: 19 hours, 28 minutes.

Read by Bob Askey.

 

Biography of Writers

 

Describes how Koontz, born in 1945, endured a troubled childhood, married, taught briefly while writing books in various genres, and then began producing his string of bestselling suspense novels that include Fear Nothing (DB 45719) and The Eyes of Darkness (DB 42555). Includes chronologies of his work and life.

10 Oct 2019, 5:14am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “Dean Koontz, A writer’s Biography” by Katherine Ramsland

Kate’s 2¢: “Dean Koontz, A writer’s Biography” by Katherine Ramsland

“Dean Koontz, A writer’s Biography” by Katherine Ramsland

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

Once I’d read Koontz’s Jane Hawk series, I was curious about the author. This book is extensive and thorough to the nth degree; however, it didn’t include his blood type or DNA sequence. lol

I was interested in his childhood and adult life, but, also in the process of writing, business protocol, and ultimate success.

Surely, you’ve heard that behind every successful man is a woman.  Gerta is the woman behind or, at least, standing by her man. Early on, she offered to be the sole provider for five years, while he made it in the writing and publishing world…or not. He rewarded her trust in his talent and are sitting in a mansion in Newport Beach, CA.

I empathized with his plights of other writers plagiarizing his stories. Early on, in my writing career, the Rochester Area Childrens Writers and Illustrators (RACWI) invited Kent Brown to visit our group. He talked with me,  took my manuscript, saying he was very interested in it. I waited many weeks. Experienced RACWI members encouraged me to contact him and ask about my manuscript. Twice I did that and each time, I was told the editors were discussing it. Then, members who had friends in the Buffalo writers group brought to my attention that an author in Kent Brown’s stable, was having a story published that was mine!  In her version, the very young blind child was walking with a guide dog in harness.    I wrote to tell him that, at that time, children under 16 were not issued trained guide dogs and he should not present false hope to these children. The story was published, but, they changed the ending to have the child running in a meadow.  Hello! How does a blind child run through a meadow without a guide? Obviously, that author and publisher didn’t do their due diligence.

Well, that experience of having my first story stolen, colored the rest of my career. I’ve been loath to share my stories with anyone. I was too inexperienced and naïve to have considered sueing for copyright infringements, as Koontz was able to do.

In the late 60’s, sometimes the anger in his stories was aimed at God…The themes of his novels echoed much of what science-fiction was doing at the time: Examining categories of personhood, promote the bonding of separate species, and renouncing the rigidity of ignorance…from within the same source, comes the potential for benefit and harm.

As the new wave writers of science-fiction viewed Koontz as the old guy, he began to appreciate the suspense genre, especially, that of John D. McDonald. He Straddled traditional and new wave attitudes…Told in a linear manner  with an unusual hero.

He thought that eventually, A science fiction that is molded from the best of the stylistic principles  from main stream and the best from  the story-telling concepts of science fiction would emerge.

I dislike using pseudonyms; however, Koontz stated he often used multiple pseudonyms so that he could experiment with different genres without sullying the reputation he’d built-up with previous stories. His pseudonyms are Aaron Wolfe, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Deanna Dwyer, John Hill, K.R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Owen West, Richard Paige. When his income was sufficient, he began to buy back the copyrights to the books under his pseudonym and re-issue the pieces under his own name. Lewis Carroll,author of “Alice’s adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the looking glass, and what Alice found there”, used this pseudonym because he didn’t want people to associate him with the fantasy stories he wrote to entertain young Alice with the scholarly tomes of mathematics he wrote as an Oxford don, a mathematics instructor, and a master of wordplay.

I like the way Ramsland wrote this biography in chronological order adding in historical references to set the time and flavor of the culture. This was also my contemporary milieu, but I wasn’t aware of all that was happening as it happened.

While this biography is quite long, it is well worth the time for enjoyment and to parse the workings of a very prolific author…and to think, Dean Koontz is only 11 days older than I am.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Dean Koontz: a writer’s biography DB48324

Ramsland, Katherine M. Reading time: 19 hours, 28 minutes.

Read by Bob Askey.

 

Biography of Writers

 

Describes how Koontz, born in 1945, endured a troubled childhood, married, taught briefly while writing books in various genres, and then began producing his string of bestselling suspense novels that include Fear Nothing (DB 45719) and The Eyes of Darkness (DB 42555). Includes chronologies of his work and life.

 

Lewis Carroll: a biography DB42220

Cohen, Morton Norton. Reading time: 21 hours, 48 minutes.

Read by John Horton.

 

Literature

 

Literary biography of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ; and, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (DB 50842). Cohen provides insights to the enigmatic Victorian writer based on thirty years of studying Carroll and analysis of his diaries and letters. Carroll was an Oxford don, a mathematics instructor, and a master of wordplay. He was also friend to many young girls, including the real Alice.

3 Oct 2019, 6:18am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: Witucki, Kristen “Outside Myself”

Kate’s 2¢: Witucki, Kristen “Outside Myself”

Kate’s 2¢: Witucki, Kristen “Outside Myself”

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.

 

Author Kristen Witucki was on the tele-conference with members of Behind Our Eyes/Written Word Party-Line on July 21, 2019. to discuss her books. She discussed development of characters and specifically whether these same novels would have worked if set in a later time. Kristen told us about some other writers she enjoyed and how they influenced her reluctant choice to write about blindness

The story is semi-auto-biographical, which explains how she’s gained insight into the issues at hand. During the interview, she mentioned that her husband had taken the older children out, leaving her with an infant to keep content as she continued chatting.

I enjoyed “Outside Myself”, but, the library system is different now-a-days and the relationship might be misconstrued by today’s cultural standards.

 

from her web-site:

Kristen been totally blind since birth. She was raised in New Jersey. She earned a BA in English from Vassar College in 2004 with a minor in German and certification to teach students in grades 7-12. She followed it with three Masters degrees: an MA in teaching gifted students from Teachers College, Columbia University, (2006); an MFA in the creative writing of fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, (2008); and an Ed.M in teaching students who are blind or visually impaired from Dominican College, (2011). While in school, she earned her living at Learning Ally, where she helped people with visual impairments, dyslexia and other disabilities to access technology related to reading audio books.

The Transcriber is Kristen’s first published book of fiction. Her nonfiction has appeared at the Huffington Post, the Momoir Project, Literary Mama and Brain, Child.

Kristen is working on a project for Learning Ally which will help college students who are blind or visually impaired. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two sons (now three children).

 

From NLAS/BARD/LOC:

Outside myself DB91111

Witucki, Kristen. Reading time: 7 hours, 43 minutes.

Read by Jennifer Hubbard.

 

Disability

Human Relations

Young Adult

 

When Tallie, a girl struggling to adjust to her blindness, calls Adult Reader Services at a library for the blind, she connects with Benjamin, an older man working in customer service. The two bond over the phone and create a special relationship. Strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

26 Sep 2019, 5:03am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: Tolstoy “War and Peace”

Kate’s 2¢: Tolstoy “War and Peace”

Kate’s 2¢: Tolstoy  “War and Peace”

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

It seemed to take forever to read this tome. When it was written, reading is what people did, since there weren’t TVs, computers, and social media. They read!

At times, I wished Tolstoy cut out the history data and get on with the narrative arc, however, in the long run, it was a story that needed to be told.

I must admit, I liked getting totally engrossed in the long, classic literature pieces of old. Now that I have the time and resources to access these classics, I’ll be reading a lot.  They say education is wasted on the young! I suspect the young have neither the time nor the experience nor inclination to appreciate great literature.

 

From: “The Classic Challenge”2007 The Teaching Company. pg79

…Tolstoy uses a contrapuntal strategy, a strategy of juxtaposition, to achieve a kind of shock effect.

…Tolstoy wants to show us both private and public views of events.  He gives us, for example, a timeless Russian peasant witnessing the sack of his town.  The eternal peasant, juxtaposed against the encroaching War, is called “as inconsequential as a fly on the dead face of a loved one.” Note the disconnect here between events that have enormous emotional value for us and the natural scheme of things, which takes no heed of our emotions.

… his focus is not on war itself but on how we tell the story of war, and how individual lives stack up against that backdrop.

 

From: NLS/BARD/LOC:

War and peace DB26275

Tolstoy, Leo, graf. Reading time: 60 hours, 52 minutes.

Read by Alexander Scourby.

 

Classics

Historical Fiction

 

First published in 1864, this epic novel deals with Russia and France at the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. It describes the invasion of Russia by Napoleon and his army, and presents the author’s theories of history.

19 Sep 2019, 4:13pm
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2-cents: Hingson, Michael; Flory, Susy “Thunder dog: the true story of a blind man, his guide dog, and the triumph of trust at Ground Zero

Kate’s 2-cents: Hingson, Michael; Flory, Susy “Thunder dog: the true story of a blind man, his guide dog, and the triumph of trust at Ground Zero

Hingson, Michael; Flory, Susy    “Thunder dog: the true story of a blind man, his guide dog, and the triumph of trust at Ground Zero

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

I read this book when it first came out and I re-read it this year in commemoration of that unhallowed event. At the time, I heard that there was also another guide dog at work in the World Trade Center. The handler took off the dog’s harness and leash to give him/her a chance to get to safety, as the  man thought they weren’t going to make it.  The dog ran out into the hallway, stopped, and came back for the man. They then proceeded to safety together.

 

Several of my six guide dogs have been faithful to me, but, then again, we’ve never been as tested as Hingson and Roselle.  I wonder why David ran off without telling Mike to “follow me!”? He just ran off!  Maybe Roselle followed him anyway, so that’s how they reconnected.

The added information after the story, comparing how let-handed people fit into the right-handed world being comparable to the blind fitting into the sighted world was interesting. The list of resources is a good idea; however, some of the contact information is out of date.

Over all, I’m glad he shared his experience and expertise.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

Thunder dog: the true story of a blind man, his guide dog, and the triumph of trust at Ground Zero DB73300

Hingson, Michael; Flory, Susy. Reading time: 7 hours, 19 minutes.

Read by Peter Ganim.

 

Disability

Animals and Wildlife

 

Michael Hingson, an executive who worked in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, recounts his escape after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Hingson, blind since birth, describes what he and his guide dog Roselle experienced as she led him down seventy-eight flights of stairs to safety. 2011.

 

12 Sep 2019, 4:42am
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Comments Off on Hillman, Laura “I will plant you a lilac tree”

Hillman, Laura “I will plant you a lilac tree”

Hillman, Laura “I will plant you a lilac tree: a memoir of a Schindler’s list survivor”

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read.  I’m just saying…

 

For decades, I have admired Atheneum Books for Young Readers (NY, London, Toronto & Sydney). “I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree: a memoir of a Schindler’s list survivor” by Laura Hillman   (2005; ISBN 0-689-86980-0) admirably upholds their honored tradition for young readers.

I cannot understand how anyone can deny that the holocaust happened. History has documented the brutality of the Christian Crusades, the Armenian Massacre of 1914, and of course, you know who is currently lopping off heads to mention a few atrocities. I have no doubt of man’s inhumanity to man. The issue is how to prevent such events from ever happening to any group of people.

A huge thank you to Laura Hillman for writing this memoir. I know how writing a memoir opens up so many memories one would rather leave forgotten; however, this is written in language to appeal to teenagers, as well as, adults. I liked the way Lesley LePage read this story and hope to find more books narrated by her. Kudos to her for pronouncing all those foreign words.

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

I will plant you a lilac tree: a memoir of a Schindler’s list survivor DBC16342

Hillman, Laura. Reading time: 4 hours, 48 minutes.

Read by Lesley LePage. A production of Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library.

 

Biography

World History and Affairs

 

Presents the true story of a young girl from a Polish ghetto who was sent to a series of concentration camps and survived the war after being placed on Schindler’s List, finally marrying a fellow survivor. Some descriptions of sex, some strong language, and some violence. For junior and senior high.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Hillman

Laura Hillman (born Hannelore Wolff; October 16, 1923) is a German-born American survivor of Holocaust concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau.She is also a Schindlerjude, who survived with the help of Oskar Schindler.She is also a writer and memoirist, as well as a lecturer on the Holocaust, and a former docent at the Long Beach Museum of Art.

 

5 Sep 2019, 5:27am
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Comments Off on Kate’s 2¢: “The Flight Attendant”, “the sleepwalker”, “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands”, “The Water Witches”, “Before You Know Kindness”, “,”The Sandcastle Girls”, “The Night Strangers”, “Secrets of Eden”, and “The Guest Room” by Chris Bohjalian

Kate’s 2¢: “The Flight Attendant”, “the sleepwalker”, “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands”, “The Water Witches”, “Before You Know Kindness”, “,”The Sandcastle Girls”, “The Night Strangers”, “Secrets of Eden”, and “The Guest Room” by Chris Bohjalian

Kate’s 2¢: “The Flight Attendant”, “the sleepwalker”, “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands”, “The Water Witches”, “Before You Know Kindness”, “,”The Sandcastle Girls”, “The Night Strangers”,  “Secrets of Eden”, and “The Guest Room” by Chris Bohjalian

 

Kate’s 2¢: There is a plethora of in-depth biographies of authors and reviews of their books, that state the title, author, published date, and genre; as well as,     describing what the book is about, setting, and character(s), so, Kate’s 2¢ merely shares my thoughts about what I read. I’m just saying…

 

I listened to Jordan Rich’s PODcast “Books In Three Bytes: when he interviewed Chris Bohjalian about his new book “The Flight Attendant”. I read it and then read “the sleepwalker”, “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands”, “The Water Witches”, “Before You Know Kindness”, “,”The Sandcastle Girls”, “The Night Strangers”, and “Secrets of Eden”.

Bohjalian states that although is novels are works of imagination,  He tries to ground his novels in the historical particulars to convey the feel of the time, place, and culture.

While it is true that writers write when they are alone, perhaps in a seemingly vacuum, the acknowledgement list for “The Night Strangers” prove that it really is a group effort.

His technique in several books seems to start with a shocking prologue, then, has the youth narrate the story and, in the epilogue, the adult child wrap up any loose ends.

In ”The Sandcastle Girls”, however, I found the jumping from grown child back to grandparents, to parents, to grandchild a bit confusing. Perhaps, in the print copy, there are little symbols to indicate the back-flash or current time. It is a story full of tragedy, desolation, and man’s inhumanity to man (and woman), but, weaves in an enduring love story  of her Armenian grandfather and Boston bred Grandmother.

I like that “Secrets of Eden” has a study guide at the end of the story, but, be sure to read the story first.

In “The Guest Room”, Bohjalian refers to the Armenian massacre by featuring an Armenian girl forced to be a sex slave. While I thought of a number of other endings for this story, I suppose having the good guy die was better for everyone all around.

I’m going to read more of Chris Bohjalian’s books.

 

 

From WIKIPEDIA:

Chris Bohjalian graduated from Amherst College Summa Cum Laude, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In the mid-1980s, he worked as an account representative for J. Walter Thompson, an ad agency, in New York.[2] He moved with his wife to Lincoln, Vermont, in 1988.

In Lincoln, Bohjalian began writing weekly columns for local newspaper and magazine about living in the small town, which had a population of about 975 residents. The column ran in the Burlington Free Press from 1992 through 2015 and won a Best Lifestyle Column from the Vermont Press Association. Bohjalian has also written for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

Bohjalian’s first novel, A Killing in the Real World, was released in 1988. His third novel, Past the Bleachers, was released in 1992 and was adapted to a Hallmark Channel television movie in 1995.

In 1998, Bohjalian wrote his fifth book, Midwives, a novel focusing on rural Vermont midwife Sibyl Danforth, who becomes embroiled in a legal battle after one of her patients died following an emergency Caesarean section. The novel was critically acclaimed and was selected by Oprah Winfrey as the October 1998 selection of her Oprah’s Book Club. It became a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestseller. In 2001, the novel was adapted into a Lifetime Movie Network television film starring Sissy Spacek in the lead role. Spacek said the Danforth character appealed to her because “the heart of the story is my character’s inner struggle with self-doubt, the solo road you travel when you have a secret”.

Later career

Bohjalian followed Midwives with the 1999 novel The Law of Similars, about a widower attorney suffering from nameless anxieties who starts dating a woman who practices alternative medicine. The novel was inspired by Bohjalian’s real-life visit to a homeopath in an attempt to cure frequent colds he was catching from his daughter’s day care center. Bohjalian said of the visit, “I don’t think I imagined there was a novel in homeopathy, however, until I met the homeopath and she explained to me the protocols of healing. There was a poetry to the language that a patient doesn’t hear when visiting a conventional doctor.” The protagonist, a father, is based in part on Bohjalian himself, and his four-year-old daughter is based largely on Bohjalian’s daughter, who was three when he was writing the book. Liz Rosenberg of The New York Times said in her review, “Few writers can manipulate a plot with Bohjalian’s grace and power.” But she felt that the novel shared too many similarities with Midwives; Rosenberg said, “Unlike its predecessor, it fails to take advantage of Bohjalian’s great gift for creating thoughtful fiction featuring characters in whom the reader sustains a lively interest.” Megan Harlan of The Boston Phoenix described it as “formulaic fiction” and said Bohjalian focused too much on creating a complex plot and not enough of complex characterizations. The Law of Similars, like Midwives, made the New York Times bestsellers list.

He won the New England Book Award in 2002.

The Double Bind was a Barnes & Noble Recommends Selection in 2007 and debuted at #3 on the “New York Times” bestseller list.

In 2008, Bohjalian released Skeletons at the Feast, a love story set in the last six months of World War II in Poland and Germany. The novel was inspired by an unpublished diary written by German citizen Eva Henatsch from 1920 to 1945. The diary was given to Bohjalian in 1998 by Henatsch’s grandson Gerd Krahn, a friend of Bohjalian, who had a daughter in the same kindergarten class as Bohjalian’s daughter. Bohjalian was particularly fascinated by Henatsch’s account of her family’s trek west ahead of the Soviet Army, but he was not inspired to write a novel from it until 2006, when he read Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, Max Hastings’ history of the final years of World War II. Bohjalian was struck not only by how often Henatsch’s story mirrored real-life experiences, but also the common “moments of idiosyncratic human connection” found in both. Skeletons at the Feast was considered a departure for Bohjalian because it was not only set outside of Vermont, but set in a particular historical moment. The novel was an enormous commercial and critical success: It was Bohjalian’s fifth New York Times bestseller and was selected a “Best Book of the Year” by the “Washington Post” and the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch.” It was also an NBC Today Show “Top Ten” summer pick in 2008.

His 2010 novel, Secrets of Eden, was also a critical success, receiving starred reviews from three of the four trade journals (Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly), as well as many newspapers and magazines. It debuted at # 6 on the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. It premiered as a Lifetime Television movie on February 4, 2012, starring John Stamos, Dorsa Giyahi and Anna Gunn. This was the third time one of Bohjalian’s novels was adapted for a movie, following Past the Bleachers in 1995 and Midwives in 2001.

His thirteenth novel, The Night Strangers, was published in 2011. It’s a ghost story and received excellent critical reviews and drew comparisons to the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Atwood, Alice Sebold, Stephen King, and Ira Levin. But reader response was mixed, with some readers frustrated with the ending and Bohjalian’s use of the second person for parts of the narration. The book won the New England Society Book Award for fiction in April 2012.

His The Sandcastle Girls (2012) is about the Armenian Genocide and its century-long denial by Turkey. The novel includes two stories in one: the story of Elizabeth Endicott and Armen Petrosian, lovers who meet in Syria during the genocide; and the story of Laura Petrosian, their granddaughter, who after a century tries to understand why they were so silent about their youth, while her suburban existence is quite different from the violent setting in which her grandparents fell in love. According to USA Today, Bohjalian makes “a near-century-old event come to life in a way that will make readers gasp with shock that such a terrible event — Turkey’s determination to kill all the Armenians in their country — is such a small part of our knowledge of world history”. Oprah Winfrey chose it as a Book of the Week: “This rendering of one of history’s greatest (and least known) tragedies is a nuanced, sophisticated portrayal of what it means not only to endure but also to insist on hope”.

Since then he has written such other New York Times bestsellers as The Light in the Ruins; Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands; The Guest Room; The Sleepwalker; and the forthcoming, The Flight Attendant.

His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.

On September 1, 2017, Bohjalian spoke a Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture at the Library of Congress.

Writing style

Bohjalian novels often focus on a specific issue, such as homelessness, animal rights and environmentalism, and tend to be character-driven, revolving around complex and flawed protagonists and secondary characters. Bohjalian uses characteristics from his real life in his writings; in particular, many of his novels take place in fictional Vermont towns, and the names of real New Hampshire towns are often used throughout his stories. Bohjalian said, “Writers can talk with agonizing hubris about finding their voices, but for me, it was in Vermont that I discovered issues, things that matter to me.” His novels also tend to focus on ordinary people facing extraordinarily difficult situations resulting from unforeseen circumstances, often triggered by other parties.

Personal life

Chris Bohjalian was born to an Armenian father and Swedish mother. His Armenian grandparents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. On October 13, 1984, Bohjalian married Victoria Schaeffer Blewer during a ceremony at the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City; his brother, Andrew Peter Bohjalian, served as his best man. Chris and Victoria live in Vermont. Their daughter, Grace Experience, is an actor based in Manhattan.[10]

 

From NLS/BARD/LOC:

The flight attendant DB90518

Bohjalian, Chris. Reading time: 11 hours, 40 minutes.

Read by Erin Spencer.

 

Mystery and Detective Stories

 

Binge-drinking flight attendant Cassandra Bowden has the occasional blackout. Waking up in a Dubai hotel room trying to piece together the previous night, she looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his utter stillness and still wet blood, and begins to lie. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

 

Before you know kindness DBC05525

Bohjalian, Chris. Reading time: 14 hours, 53 minutes.

Read by Barbara Plude. A production of Connecticut State Library, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

 

Suspense Fiction

Family

 

At a family reunion in New Hampshire, twelve-year-old Charlotte mistakes her father for a deer while hunting with her uncle’s rifle. Her father’s animal rights activist group brings the divisive issues of gun control and animal rights to the forefront in this spellbinding page-turner. Some violence.

 

Close your eyes, hold hands: a novel DB78965

Bohjalian, Chris. Reading time: 8 hours, 17 minutes.

Read by Grace Blewer.

 

General

 

Living in an igloo of ice and trash bags half a year after a cataclysmic nuclear disaster, Emily is convinced that she will be hated as the daughter of the drunken father who caused the meltdown. She assumes a fictional identity while protecting a homeless boy. Violence, strong language, and descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2014.

 

The night strangers: a novel DB75918

Bohjalian, Chris. Reading time: 15 hours, 34 minutes.

Read by Erik Sandvold.

 

Supernatural and Horror Fiction

 

After pilot Chip Linton crash lands his plane into Lake Champlain, killing thirty-nine passengers, he, his wife, and their ten-year-old twin daughters escape to a small New Hampshire town. But their Victorian house is haunted, and the town is full of witches, who focus on the twins. Some violence, some strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2011.

 

The sandcastle girls: a novel DB75215

Bohjalian, Chris. Reading time: 11 hours, 29 minutes.

Read by J. Michael McCullough.

 

Historical Fiction

Family

 

Syria, 1915. American Elizabeth Endicott is helping Armenian refugees from Turkey when she meets Armen Petrosian, whose family has been wiped out by genocide. Years later Armen and Elizabeth’s granddaughter Laura learns of her forebears’ history–and a buried secret. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. 2012.

 

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