The Chronology of Water

By Lidia Yuknavitch


I've read various biographies through the years. But this is the first memoir I've read. There is a difference. Memoirs are not historical timelines. They are recollections of memories. Something the author acknowledges is prone to change, to become something easier to accept, to polish over pain. But in this case Ms. Yuknavitch flows along with most of the difficulties in her life. 

First I need to express why I haven't read memoirs in the past. Because I think they're going to be winnie stories designed to get sympathy. This book doesn't do that. 

Ms. Yuknavitch looks back on her life and freely admits her love of drugs, sex, and explores her own short comings of realization. As an example, late in the book she goes back to the moment when her father was teaching her to ride a bike. She by her own decision lets go of the handle bars and crashes. 
This book has a non-critical review by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club: A NovelMr. Palahniuk praises the book. Most of the reviews are by women, so it's possible that only a few men have read this book. And that is something I like to comment on further. 

I was able to bond with this book for two reasons. First we both had fathers who served in Korea, both were angry men. Second, a shared love of water.  These two reasons transcende gender, race and political lines, they are simple ways to connect, personally. So it's possible to draw emotions in similar circles even with people that you would normally walk away from. That bond made me like this book. I also like her thoughts on reading and writing. So there were other smaller connections that formed with the memories that bond throughout the book. 

Although I rate this book as five full sails, it doesn't mean I didn't have an issue with this memoir. I felt in talking about her father, she at times eludes to possible sexual abuse either towards her older sister or herself. But she never goes into a full accusation. If your thinking, details like that are to painful, you're right. But it's a memoir, a book that is designed to heal. If it happened, there should be away to walk through that kind of pain, reveal it openly, then walk, or swim towards a moment of healing. By the time I was done, I felt she omitted something. But only on the subject of abuse with her father. By omission, the reader brings their own thoughts and every reader will inject a different interpretation. 

Overall The Chronology of Water: A Memoir is well written (Lidia has her own unique style) and well conveyed through honesty, acceptance, and personal realization of one's self. 

What If Only

By Tobias Van Buren


Rating: Five Full Sails

Excellent production, passed proofreading. Excellent characters and story lines.

Paperback Link : What If Only 

Kindle Link : What If Only E-Book

About The Author

Tobias is a past winner of the South Carolina fiction project. He spent his working life in the coastal areas of South Carolina as a commercial fisherman, that included, clam cultivation, shark fishing, crabbing, and shrimping. 
He is semi-retired in Vero Beach Fl. 

About The Book 

I read the paperback version which is two-hundred-sixteen pages. What If Only is a collection made up of thirty-two short stories with a varied cast of characters young, old and middle aged. It would not be correct to say that these characters are experiencing everything that most of us feel and go through in our lives, but the reader will feel commonality in some cases. The exception is how Tobias gets inside his characters heads, and while your following the situation-you the reader-are understanding things the characters cannot grasp. You'll empathize with some, shake your head at others, and in the case of the title story, What If Only, you can sense the regret.    

Question For The Author

What is your best fish story?  He told me, "commercial fisherman don't have fish stories."  I pressed on, because I find that hard to believe.  He said read, Blood Work, in the book. The story recounts catching a shark. 

Interview & Review: Bob Brink

Book: Murder in Palm Beach


Bio: Bob Brink is a retired journalist who worked in the Midwestern United States and Florida. His byline’s have appeared in thousands of news stories, features, and entertainment reviews. In recent years he Ghost Wrote a short memoir and two novels.  He has won numerous writing accolades and several awards.  A Midwesterner, Bob graduated from Drake University in Des Moines Iowa.

Book: Murder in Palm Beach , The homicide that never died.

Rating : Four and a half Full Sails   (Explanation of My Rating System)
   This book is based on true events that occurred in West Palm Beach Florida, starting in the mid 1970’s.   Written in a style that reminds the reader of an old detective novel, with characters whose names seem to jump right out of early genre, Murder in Palm Beach , is a true detective story with a strong emotional twist. Three distinct worlds collide, the life of a well-connected wealthy restaurateur, the local legal authorities, and a brawler named Mitt Hecher.  Mitt is disliked by the local police, because he is in constant trouble. He is a barroom brawler with karate skills.  Rodger Kriger the restaurant owner is wealthy, has a family, and a girlfriend on the side. Rodger also has a big mouth, and that is the impetus of the plot around his murder. The local authorities end up with a prominent citizen murdered and no solid leads during an election year, so someone has to take the fall for murder.  The assistant DA John Scarponia has failed before to put Mitt Hecher away, but now he sees an opportunity.  Will justice prevail?
   This story is engaging from the start, for several reasons. It has a strong emotional draw, you really get attached to the thug Mitt Hecher. Mitts character evolves as he falls in love, gets married, becomes a father. This book will stir the curiosity of any reader to search Google a few times—even if you’re not a Florida resident—because of the accusations that are made by the characters and the references to national political powers. Mitts life is in turmoil for several years, his wife develops an illness and he manages to survive in prison and becomes well liked by other prisoners and guards. He uses his skills as a fighter to teach other inmates self defense. His actions in turn get noticed by the guards and warden in a positive light. I never guessed the ending—it was not expected. The next time I drive over the Sunshine Sky-way bridge, I'll think about how this book ended. 

Interview: Bob Brink
Artemis: What book are you reading on your Kindle right now?
Bob: Crossers, by Philip Caputo.  Philip is the author of about fifteen books including—A Rumor of War—a classic memoir of his time as a Marine in the Vietnam war.
Artemis: What books influenced you as a teen and young adult?
Bob: Probably the one that most impressed me was The Great Gatsby, for its flowing eloquence. I once had the last page memorized.  Also, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye had me staying up late a couple of nights, and I was enthralled by  Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, which was a lot easier to get through.
Artemis: Tell me a little bit about your writing process.
Bob: Unlike a lot of novelists, I don’t outline. I have a concept and a rough idea of where I want to go, and may jot down a few notes on that. As I write, the ideas pop-up and I go with them.
Artemis: I really like how Mitt’s character changed. Tell me about that metamorphosis.
Bob: He went through a complete change. I looked at his evolution from a despised societal outcast who beat up guys for money, to evolve and become a protector of the weak. In prison he becomes a caring father and husband.
Artemis: I think you succeeded at developing Mitt Hecher, he became this great guy that I would not mind being friends with.  Your readers are in for a surprise at the end of the story.  Bob, thanks for being on my blog, best of luck with your book-Murder in Palm Beach .  
Bob: Thanks for having me on, enjoyed it!


By Haidji 


Harables: Short Stories 1 (Volume 1)  Eighteen short stories for the young adult reader. I would recommend this book to young girls between twelve and sixteen.
After reading the reviews on GoodReads it seems she has a slightly broader audience than just teenage girls. I stand by my recommendation because I feel that is her niche.

Let's sample, The Crystal Girl.

From the book: The sun reflected over the beach sand on this late spring afternoon, while Clare was walking over the sand, holding a crystal in her hands.
Blonde hair, brown eyes, pale skin.  

That excerpt from the story is the opening paragraph of The Crystal Girl.  My daughter read it and immediately created a scene in her mind with her fertile imagination.  As an adult reader, I wanted more description of the scene. 

Harables is an inspiring, blossoming book for a young mind. It tackles subjects that many teens face like being transferred to The New School. Another story that responds to the imaginative young reader. 

This book has the voice of spirited youth, enjoy. 

Next Post 05/26/2017

Harables  ( Volume Two)

The Death of Artemio Cruz


By Carlos Fuentes

The The Death of Artemio Cruz  is a Latin American Classic that crosses borders of status, nationality, and cleverly mixes through brilliant writing a blend of the first person voice with alternating, second and third person voices to build a story that has no plot. Right from the beginning you know what has happened. Mr Cruz is dying. What Fuentes builds through a change of voice is a character devolving under his own consciousness and actions taken throughout his life.  
Rating: Five Full Sails

Carlos Fuentes, Wikipedia Biography  was heavily influenced by the movie Citizen Kane, which he first viewed at the age of ten and acknowledged, in interviews, that he saw the movie several times throughout his life, leaving an indelible impression on him as a person and as a writer. The parallels of Artemio Cruz and Citizen Kane are clear.

Next Book Review Post 
HARABLES Book One Short Stories
By Haidji

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Other resources

Spanish Version
La Muerte de Artemio Cruz (Spanish Edition)

English Version
The Death of Artemio Cruz

Harold Bloom: Critical Interpretations

Carlos Fuentes' the Death of Artemio Cruz (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations (Hardcover))

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Future Post, A Change Of Skin, Also By Carlos Fuentes.

Life In The Lions Mouth

By James R Dubbs

Robert the central character in a cast of many is a young man who must come to terms with events concerning his father, his own inability to stand up for himself and his strange habits. To remedy this he joins a traveling circus. 

Life in the Lion's Mouth, is a young adult coming of age story that is set in the early nineteen-sixties rural Pennsylvania. He faces challenges of conscious, deals with loss of honor and hope for redemption and homesickness. He does this while traveling with his new friends and co-workers. To Whitey, the circus manager, Robert is someone to take in and mold for bigger things. To Randy, Robert is a friend. From Archie, Robert must try to defend himself, and his love for Archie's sister, Anna.
Anna, who captures Roberts heart, is a guitar swingin show stopping country singing girl who befriends Robert and gives him a more relaxed nickname.

Through their travels together, Robert wants something, he needs to resolve a issue from his childhood, and his journey to get that resolution takes him through farm towns, small towns, the folk scene in Greenwich Village NYC, and finally back to where everything started.
The writing is descriptive, clear and Mr. Dubbs creates many visuals throughout the book.


Next Post: Classic Book Review
The Death of Artemio Cruz, By Carlos Fuentes. English Version

Remember all my links for books go to the lowest price  of each book available on this blog. Including all the pictures, which are links too.  The price for this book through my links is $ 4.99.  Createspace links have this book at $10.99 so always use my links when buying books to get the best price.


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This Love Is Not For Cowards, By Robert Andrew Powell


This Love Is Not For Cowards

Salvation And Soccer In Ciudad Juarez

First Published in 2012 by Bloomsbury Press. This non-fiction work captures a time many people would hope to put behind them in the City of Juarez Mexico. The timeline of this book goes into the recent past, and unfortunately is still relevant today.A city ravaged by gang wars, extortion, kidnapping, and mixed with the hope of its citizens to rise above the current state of mind and madness, to become something greater, to believe in not only a higher power, but an on going higher purpose for those who live each and every day to its fullest.

This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad JuΓ‘rez
The author, Robert Andrew Powell, a sports journalist, has taken on a menacing and frightening subject. Soccer in the midst of a narco-terror state.

Mr. Powell, mainly follows the life of Marco Vidal, a young jugador (player)with the Indios futbol team in Juarez Mexico. Marco, an excellent athlete, talented, un appreciated, who faces a constant struggle to prove himself to the many couches he needs to work with. The team, Indios, owned by the Ibarra family is also followed along with the changes in coaching staff, El Kartel, a fan club, and numerous other people who have interest or involvement with the team. The main struggle of the team is to stay in Primera, which is the top league in Mexican Soccer. You will follow the team every step of the way in their struggle to remain viable and relevant in their city, and to stay alive.
  I'd like to especially note the chapter near the end about the dead women of Juarez. Mr Powell also did a separte investigative peice on the subject and his research brings clarity to urban myth's surrounding this on going tragedy.  I'd also like to note the last few chapters in the book, as his time is coming to an end. The author takes us through his personal changes of acceptance of violence and what that means to all of us as human beings.  Thought provoking.

Note to reader: I only post reviews of books that are deserving of excellent reviews and I find the links that will take you to a vendor with the lowest price for that book.  Put this book on your list or start reading it today,
This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad JuΓ‘rez

Next Post will be on 03/29/2017  Life in the Lion's Mouth, by James R Dubbs

Be Well and #GetChecked 

Bullfighting, By Roddy Doyle


Short Story Collection

By Roddy Doyle

In my continuing effort to find excellent relevant books on the cheap. I bring you Bullfighting. 

Bullfighting is a collection of short stories, one of the stories is titled Bullfighting, and throughout this collection of shorts is a recurring theme. All the stories deal with men who are going through various stages of loss of something, something that made them who they are. It could be grief, loss of virility, or loss of a loved one.

I enjoyed Bullfighting: Stories the best, because it deviates slightly from the rest of the book. Donal, the main character has a good life, no complaints, has rounds of pints with his chums.  He has a government job, with little risk. And that is what is missing from his life, so at a moment, he takes a risk, a big risk and the consequences could be fatal.

Sleep was my second favorite story.  It's a husbands appreciate of his wife after many years of marriage and raising a family. Doyles style is Irish all the way, his verbal imagery would take any Bostonian back to hearing the voices of long lost grandparents from another time.
This book is not a #YA read, but it would make a great gift for any father out there who's raised a family.

My links always go to the lowest cost books on the Amazon site.

Please recommend this blog to your friends. I hope you'll also read and enjoy the short fiction pieces, and consider supporting this blog by making your Amazon purchases through my links that are provided. 

Next Post  03/15/2017
This Love Is Not For Cowards
By Robert Andrew Powell

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Classic Book Review: Slaughter House Five

Kurt Vonnegut, author of many books, including his most successful, Slaughter House Five, had a career as an author that spanned over fifty years. For more information Wiki-pedia link to short bio.
I recommend reading the Wiki article. I've read bio's on the internet, about Kurt Vonnegut, that used the character from the book as source for his bio.

Slaughter House Five 

I can only imagine that if an author wrote a query letter to a publisher today and it stated that, "I'm going to tell a story, but I'll be captured by aliens, and I'll fictionalize my name but not all of my life. I'll throw in bits of interest, but mainly I'm still dealing with PTSD and I need to get it out of me. Will you publish it?" What do think the answer would be?

Billy Pilgrim is the central character of Slaughter House Five. Billy gets captured early on by the Germans in this recounting of not only Billy's experience in the war, but also his personal, and extra-terrestrial life as well. His recollection ties three fates, the war, his marriage, his time as a guest on Tralfalmadore.

Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim Gets captured by German Scouts. He meets up with two american scouts, and another enlisted soldier, Roland Weary,who insists on mocking and bullying Billy. The Scouts abandon Billy and the bully. The scouts get caught and shot. Billy and the bully are left to fend for themselves. They eventually get captured. At this point through trains, unpleasant at best, that transfer them to prison camps, Billy and the bully, rest. The bully doesn't make it. And Billy goes on to a prison camp that houses a meat packing facility three floors below ground level. During the bombing, Billy and other prisoners are three floors down in Slaughter House number five, in a refrigerator. Captors, and captee's  survive together. When they emerge after the bombing stops, they all fend for themselves through a city in ruins. Vivid descriptions abound, taking you through scene after scene. SH5, doesn't end with closure for the characters, some die, some live in shock. It is up to you as the reader to develop your opinion of war, its costs, both mentally and physically, to the human spirit.
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For More on the Bombing of Dresden, I recommend this non-fiction book, published in 2014, a few years after many documents were de-classified. Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945

Kurt Vonnegut, in my youth, was our counter culture, war is hell, let's not romance it, go to guy.  Vonnegut felt he had to write about the misalignment of humanity. It's failings. It's traps. And he did it with odd human behavior, dead-pan humor, and an inner voice that pushed him onward, from his experience, with the pen. 

My Next Post Will Be On 03/01/2017

Book Review: Bullfighting, By Roddy Doyle. A Short Story Collection. 

The Dead, by James Joyce

Book fanatics all over the world have read many of James Joyce's novels, poetry, and articles. This short story only had fifty reviews on Amazon, and I thought maybe it needed a look.

The Dead

Set in Ireland, this story has been published in Dubliners, as part of a short story collection and separately. Mr. Joyce creates a large cast of characters, great dialog- he's really a master at this- and tension that slowly works it's way through one particular character, Gabriel Conroy. 

In, The Dead Mr. Joyce's characters notice everything about each other, simple smiles, quaint frowns, and you sense this as the voyeur, while the conversations go from serious to whimsical with ease. It's easy to place yourself in the dancing room or at the dinner table during the evening party with this cast of piano instructors, uncles who tip the bottle, proper cousins, jealous women, spinster aunts, and maids with harbored tension.
About half-way through, Mr. Conroy makes a speech, that considering the timeline of the story, from early 1900's, could easily be made today. Here's a quote from that speech. "A new generation is growing up in our midst, a generation actuated by new ideas and new principles. It is serious and enthusiastic for these new ideas and its enthusiasm, even when it is mis-directed, is, I believe, in the main sincere."
Later in the speech, Mr. Conroy takes a soft somber tone, but his words are relevant and timely once again. "Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go bravely with our work among the living."

As you read, The Dead, a thought enters your mind concerning the title. The story is very lively, not morbid as the title suggests, But it gets deep into your thoughts and soul as you travel to a hotel with Greta and Gabriel after the party is over. The sexual tension. A passage from the story. "He longed to cry to her from his soul, to crush her body against his, to overmaster her." Gabriel's  ill-timed thoughts, and inaction terrorize his emotions that become fueled by jealousy.
In the end he makes conclusions that I feel would ultimately help him go on with his life. You can decide. For Greta, there's a release of deeply held emotions that get triggered early in the evening at the party by a song. And the song brings back a flood of memories that she remains quiet and subdued, until she recounts the story of her first love.

Stop Back On 2/15/2017 For My Next Post

Classic Book Review Of Slaughter House Five, By Kurt Vonnegut.