Books 2015…. and one last review! Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights

BooksIt’s almost 2016 and I am feeling a little guilty. See, I got a copy of Salman Rushdie’s latest offering (Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights) back in the late summer. I read it over a week, wrote my review and… sat on it.

I didn’t review it in the Fall or Winter. And here it is, almost 2016 and I can’t look at my copy The Satanic Verses without feeling a little ill.

So why the hold up? Well, I only do two reviews a month on WKAR’s Current State and I like for my reviews to stick (You can find links to all my reviews here). In other words, I want them to feel important. I want to take on the bestsellers, celebrate new authors or works I found, say something maybe about the Michigan literary scene or literature in general (I love taking on a classic). And this book didn’t inspire me. There was just something I always wanted to say or review more.

I had some great reads over 2015! I loved Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper, adored In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume and recommended The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman to everyone I know. I also was dismayed by the mess that is Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last and couldn’t get rid of my copy of Above Us Only Sky by Michele Young-Stone fast enough. And don’t get me started on the heartbreak that was Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. I’m still recovering from that publishing error.

So to take care of my Rushdie guilt, I have decided to just post my draft of my book review here. This is me, cleaning my reviewer palate and preparing for the new year ahead. You can read my book review below. (And Happy New Year!) Continue reading

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Banned Books Week (Sept 27 – Oct 3)

BBW-logoWe are in the midst of Banned Book Week, that time each year when readers and authors alike scan articles and essays about attempts to ban books from libraries and schools over the last year and wonder “What the heck is going on here?”

I’ve had the pleasure for the last three years of doing the book reviews for my local NPR station (WKAR) as part of their show Current State, and each year I try to take on another book that has faced the always surreal argument for censorship.

  • This year I reviewed The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. You can listen to my discussion or read my review via this page.
  • Last year, I reviewed Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. You can check that our here.
  • During my first year as part of Current State, I discussed the importance of this holiday and why we need to reflect on it via this audio essay.

I’ve also snuck in over the years other authors that have faced censorship, including (with links) Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Judy Blume, Harper Lee, and J.K. Rowling. In the future, I will be reviewing Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, so this is not slowing down for me anytime soon.

I hope you enjoy checking out some of these book reviews and try to read something a little controversial this week.

New WKAR Book Review: J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye

Current StateNext week is Banned Books Week, so today on WKAR’s Current State I took on one of the most banned books in American Literature, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-jd-salingers-catcher-rye

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this page. Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event

Current StateOne of the things I love about doing the book reviews on WKAR’s Current State is catching up with writers that mean a lot to me. I got to do that again in this review, taking on the new novel by Judy Blume, In the Unlikely Event.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-judy-blumes-unlikely-event

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

If you would like to check out In the Unlikely Event (and you should)  you can find it on Amazon here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this page. Continue reading

Writer’s Corner: Does Jane Austen Need an Agent?

Whenever a newbie writer has had the misfortune (if that is the right word) to ask for my advice, I will always say the same two things:

1. Enter as many writing contests as possible. It will build up your resume, give you free opinion from someone who isn’t family or a friend if you are actually good or not,  and you never know who a judge might be (For example, my radio series, The Dante Experience, was produced and directed by a judge of a radio script competition I entered).

2. Try to get an agent. An agent’s job is to find you a publisher and help you succeed. They have contacts you don’t have. You need them.

The problem is with number 2; while it is right to say it, it does always leave a little bad taste in my mouth since my experience with working with agents has been lackluster at best. So far I’ve had four agents. Continue reading