Sunday, May 1, 2016

Madame Bovary - A Review

I must admit I didn't feel so manly toting around my dog-eared copy of Madame Bovary the past six weeks. I was stared at on planes and subways. I live in a household with three females and was mockingly regaled by each.

I told them all the explosions and spy intrigue in the book was keeping me riveted to the pages. They knew this was a falsehood since I struggled through the novel and hate books/movies with high explosions to plot ratios.

But I needed to read this novel for no other reason that it has become a classic. It set France aflame nearly 200 years ago and caused poor Gustave Flaubert, the author, to suffer through an immorality trial. He was acquitted, and rightly so. A novel where no body parts are described, where no sex scenes are described, immoral? A criminal trial launched against a French author for publishing a book set in France, immoral? A novel with only one or two common swearwords, immoral? Pshaw!

Today, it is required reading in many high schools. It just shows how much literature has degraded over the centuries. Not to call 50 Shades a Gray literature, but it makes one wonder the beheading that would have befallen (every pun intended) the modern author if she published it in Flaubert's day. Off with her head!

Emma. Emma. Emma. Is the bored housewife of a country doctor. Her choices used to make her more exciting don't turn out well for her. Poor Emma. She gathers little sympathy from readers, though. And Flaubert's greatest crime in publishing the novel is he expressed the hidden desires of bored housewives everywhere on the page.

In Madame Bovary he pushed the envelope of literature and should forever be rewarded. The novel seems rambling at times--almost restless--and I believe Flaubert wrote it this way to reflect the restlessness of Emma. Apart from Flaubert being terrible at setting in the novel, this was a groundbreaking novel in every respect.

Henry James once said, "Madame Bovary has a perfection that not only stamps it, but that makes it stand almost alone; it holds itself with such a supreme unapproachable assurance as both excites and defies judgment."

It's worth a read even if romance is not your preferred genre.

#MadameBovary #MadameBovaryReview

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Did Robert Smith of The Cure Like Prince?

div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">

Prince died this week on Robert Smith's birthday -- April 21st.

It's difficult to tell whether Robert Smith of The Cure was a fan of Prince. After lots of searches I have been unable to find an interview where he mentions him. But one thing is for sure, Robert Smith thinks his Starfish and Coffee was one of the best songs of the 1980s and he listed it as such in a poll he did.  The song can be found on Prince's Sign 'O' the Times album.

Above is a one minute take. Enjoy!

#PrinceTheCure #StarfishandCoffee

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Best Selling Non-Fiction Book of 2017 Will be Prince's Autobiography

I'm writing this on 4/21/2016, the wrenching day that Prince has died and left the world in shock. Typing the words doesn't make it seem any more real. Fact is, I don't want it to be real. When I was younger I admired him for his music and later I admired him for the artist he unabashedly became. His musical talents were truly boundless and without measure. They called him The Kid.

When one thinks of Prince, literature is not the first thing that comes to mind. If it does, The Little Prince novella is a cheeky response at a dinner party. Still, many of his lyrics were poetic and his The Ballad of Dorothy Parker was homage to the fine American poet of the same name.

Prince and literature?

Yet in 2017 I am predicting that Prince's forthcoming biography from Random House will be the number one selling non-fiction book. It already is getting a lot of buzz and if Prince came anywhere close to completing it, you can bet it will be read the world over.

"We've seen the future and it will be."

Meantime, The Very Best of Prince is a must own album if have nothing else by Prince Rogers Nelson.

#PrinceAutobiography #PrinceDeath

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On Negative Book Reviews and Writing the Novel That's Inside of Me

As a writer I have been fortunate in that the majority of people who review my books give positive reviews. Every now and then I get a negative one. This, in itself, does not bother me. Negative reviews are the price of art. Good art should come from an unfamiliar place and when it does it has the ability to exhilarate and shock the eye of the beholder. Because of this authors who are only getting positive reviews are doing something wrong, as strange as that may sound. Take any great book of literature and you will find many horrible reviews. "The Catcher in the Rye," one of my favorite little jewels of literature, has many one star reviews.

So not only do I expect the occasional bad review, but they are necessary if I am being true to my art form. The kind of review I hate the most--yes, even more than the "this was the worst book ever written"--are those that say "this is not what I expected." Read another way, the reviewer means this is not the book they wanted me to write.

Pardon, moi. I recently got a two-star review in such a way for Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life.

I need to write the book that's inside of me begging to get out; the one that nags at me while I'm sitting at the table having a holiday meal with my family while I stuff another piece of broccoli in my mouth; the one that talks to me at two in the morning when I'm having trouble sleeping.

I have no way of knowing what a random person I have never met will need to me write for them. Even if I had such a blueprint, I would not do it. I simply write the books I want to read and that will push the art form forward. I am not trying to sound cruel or be calloused. I can accept bad reviews. Ii really can. Please, try not to judge my books because they fail to be the book you wanted me to write.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Cure Albums Ranked - All 13 of Them to Date

Check out this link where PopMatters ranks every album by The Cure.

This is how I rank them. In my view The Top is completely underrated. Agree?

1. Disintegration
2. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
3. Pornography
4. Head on the Door
5. Seventeen Seconds
6. The Top
7. Wish
8. Bloodflowers
9. Faith
10. Three Imaginary Boys
11. The Cure
12. 4:13 Dream
13. Wild Mood Swings

#CureAlbumsRanked #TheCureBand

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Songs Based on The Divine Comedy

Last week I announced that the final installment in my Divine Dantes trilogy was published. It follows the characters of The Divine Comedy in a mess-up modern world. There's adventure and a rock-n-roll love story. Will Eddie ever settle on a name for the band?

The effects of Dante's The Divine Comedy on modern pop culture are immeasurable. Check out the songs about the poem:

“Angel (Lust)” Joe Jackson             Heaven and Hell         1997
“The Bridge (Envy)” Joe Jackson             Heaven and Hell         1997
"Dante's Inferno" Iced Earth
“Dante’s Prayer” Loreena McKennitt     The Book of Secrets 1997
"Highway to Hell" ACDC             Highway to Hell         1979
“Tangled Up in Blue” Bob Dylan     Blood on the Tracks 1975
“Tuzla (Avarice)” Joe Jackson             Heaven and Hell         1997

#DivineDantesTrilogy #DivineComedy

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Divine Dantes Trilogy is Published!

$.99 Ebook

“[A] lively and good-natured work with a great deal of humor . . ..”
Publisher’s Weekly Reviewer

“[R]eminds me a little of the fun I find in Carl Hiaasen or Christopher Moore, but he definitely has his own vibe . . ..”
Breakthrough Novel Award Expert Reviewer

A Best Second Novel award finalist in the Indie Book Awards, "The Divine Dantes: Squirt Guns in Hades" is the first in a trilogy of laugh-out-loud books paralleling Dante Alighieri's classic poem, "The Divine Comedy," where the characters of The Inferno are encountered in modern times with surprising results. At the center is Eddie, a young rocker who is heartbroken after his girlfriend, Beatrice, leaves for Venice. This not only ends their relationship, but also the world's greatest two-person rock band. At Beatrice's request, Virgil-their erstwhile manager-cum-travel-agent guides Eddie to Europe to meet her without Eddie being in on the secret. Will Eddie want to see Beatrice? Will the band get back together? And if it does, can Eddie settle on a name for it? Read the first novel in this literary, rock, love story today!

$0.99 Ebook

Book 2 of The Divine Dantes's Infernal Trilogy finds Eddie and Virgil in Barcelona, Spain. Eddie, the young rocker with an active mind, thinks they are there to get on a cruise. Virgil, however, has tricked Eddie and arranged for Bea to secretly meet them. Meantime, Virg and Eddie visit famous Barcelona landmarks (La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, La Rambla Street, etc) as Eddie adds his trademark commentary. Will Eddie speak to Bea when she arrives? And if he will, does their two-person band get back together?

$1.99 Ebook

In this final volume of The Divine Dantes trilogy series, Eddie finds himself on a cruise with his beloved Beatrice. There will be mayhem, love and of course rock-n-roll.

Buy the trilogy today and get ready to rock on in a Divine Comedy way.

#DivineDantes #DivineComedy #RockNovels