Wednesday, April 14, 2021

If You Want to Brand Yourself as an Accomplished Author, Don’t Be Hiding Behind the Bushes

If You Want to Brand Yourself as an Accomplished Author, 

Don’t Be Hiding Behind the Bushes



by Lois W. Stern


Branding . . . It’s all about name recognition, getting your name out there and having it recognized. And since I have a bit of a different take on this topic, first let me share a couple of words that hold special meaning for me:


If I’m not for myself, who will be for me. If I’m only for myself, what am I? 

If not now, when?

by Hillel


Somehow these words must have become indelibly etched in my mind, because now that I think of it, I realize this is the approach I have found most useful in many of my paths forward. And sometimes, as I invest time to help brand other authors, I find it a way forward in branding myself.


As you might have guessed, I often make it part of my life’s work to help other talented authors get the name recognition I feel they deserve. To that end, in 2012 I started Tales2Inspire®, an ‘Authors Helping Authors' project/contest, as a way to recognize authors who submitted the most inspiring stories to match the selected theme for that particular year. Although I never charge authors to enter this contest, to my surprise I have discovered that the more I lend others a helping hand, the more I continue to help brand myself. And I get the thrill each year of giving birth to a new book, counting ten babies and going strong!


And now, as the Book Review Acquisition Editor for Carolyn Howard-Johnson's famed TheNewBookReview blog, I continue to reach out to fellow authors by posting your review requests and providing helpful hints through follow-up e-mail messages along the way.  

 

We all know how important it is to get Amazon posted reviews, as they are directly linked to book sales. But did you know that you can make writing reviews for another author’s book work for the marketing of your own book as well?


On page 245 of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s,  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally (HTTPS://BIT.LY/GREATBKREVIEWS, she reminds us that we can increase our own visibility by including a byline and credit or tag line as part of our reviews. 

Lesson learned: I have taken full advantage of her advice by ending each of my Amazon reviews with the words: Lois W. Stern, Creator of Tales2Inspire®.

Amazon is getting really picky about placing author reviews, one of the reasons I rarely write a review for a book authored by any of my Tales2Inspire® winning winners (* See footnote below.) But recently I made an exception for one of my Tales2Inspire multi-winning winners. When Amazon declined my initial review, I was puzzled, rewrote it a bit and tried a second time. Again it was declined. Third time round I tried a different tack, adding the following sentence to the beginning of the exact same review: 

As a disclaimer, I thought readers should know of my prior relationship with this author, who entered my annual Tales2Inspire® contest in three different years, each time submitting a winning story that I later published in one of my Tales2Inspire® anthologies. But that is the extent of our relationship . . .

 Bingo! They immediately posted that review! 

Lesson learned: Find a way to personalize your review with credentials that bring your writing to the forefront. 

Are you a poet? If so, you might write something like: As an author of five published poetry books, language flow is of utmost importance to me, and this book delivered that in spades. Are you a physical therapist? If so, try writing a review for a self-help book that delivers a message akin to your personal dedication to your clients. Be creative and try to bring the genre of your published book(s) into the body of the review.

And by the way, writing reviews takes similar but slightly different skills than writing a book of any genre, so believe it or not, writing reviews actually helps you develop another dimension of your writing. And the more you review books written by others, the easier it becomes, and your skills continue to flourish.

Reviews are directly linked to book sales. 

Two things I know for sure: How important it is to get Amazon posted reviews and how hard it is to get them! So I am asking you each to join in that effort. 

Here are a a couple of things you can ask of the author to make your job easier.

* On a time crunch? Aren’t we all! Suggest that the author give you a specific portion of their book, maybe 50 pages or so, to get its flavor. Honest, you don’t have to read the entire book to get a good feel for it. 

* Ask the author to send you some meaningful discussion questions to help target several key points in their book.(I have made it super easy for my readers by posting BOOK REVIEW DISCUSSION QUESTIONS at the end of each Tales2Inspire book.)

* In addition to sending you the actual bound copy or e-book, ask the author to send you any publicity material they might have on hand. After all, no one knows their book better than its author.

So what do you say? Please come out from behind the bushes and start branding yourself as an accomplished author while writing a review for a fellow author. You never know what networking opportunities lurk behind those connections.

I know from which I speak, as I am a perfect example of a networking opportunity born from a review - the one I wrote for Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Frugal Book Reviews when we were virtual strangers.

Lois  W. Stern

* Note: For ethical reasons, I make it a rule to never write reviews for those of you who submit books with review requests to TheNewBookReview blog, so please don't ask. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Children's Author Linda Wilson Reviews Deborah Lyn Stanley's Memoir on Dementia


TITLE: Mom & Me

SUBTITLE: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love

AUTHOR: Deborah Lyn Stanley

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: “The Caregiver’s Retreat—a Place to Refresh, Restore, Affirm and Supply”  https://deborahlyncaregiver.com

GENRE: Non-fiction, Biography, Memoir

AGE / INTEREST LEVEL: Adult

PAGES: 94

PUBLISHER: 2 Timothy Publishing

LINKS FOR PURCHASE:

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon 

Find eBooks sources at: https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

 

Reviewed by Linda Wilson


Deborah Lyn Stanley’s book, Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love, has helped me more than I can say with a challenge I’ve been living with for almost ten years: my husband’s decline due to Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s dementia, and Alzheimer’s. I had to place my husband in a home, which was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. 

Living with a loved one afflicted with this disease cannot be understood by anyone not affected, finding help can be difficult and expensive; in the long run caregivers find that they must be creative in finding solutions, resilient in being able to bounce back from the most frustrating problems, and are generally isolated much of the time. Deborah’s book offers hope, sage advice, and bits of wisdom throughout her book, such as “Find a way, your endurance depends on it.” I highly recommend Deborah’s book to anyone in a caregiving situation. The love and assurances she offers have helped me do more than cope, they’ve offered something I never thought possible: a way to learn how to thrive. 


MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER 

 Linda Wilson, Children's Author

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor

Coming soon: Secret in the Mist

Fun for readers and tips for writers:  https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com

Find me on Facebook: http://facebook.com/lindawilson.kidsmysterywriter.com37017794 

On Twitter: @LinWilsonauthor

Posts the 28th of each month: www.writersonthemove.com


MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF MOM & ME 

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is a journal of my experiences while caregiving memory-impaired seniors—in particular, caring for Helen, my dear “second Mom,” for many years. 

 

This memoir embraces Helen’s personal journey from the onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia through stories and letters to caregivers. Mom’s journey is portrayed through the lens of my personal knowledge as her daughter-in-law and caregiver. The book speaks of challenges common to caregivers, day-to-day needs, and the progression of dementia disease. It is an account of joy and sadness, trauma and triumph, peace and anxiety. It is a story of love, the exhaustion of caregiving, denial, and mending misunderstandings. It is about high-stakes decisions, stressful days, and knowing you did the best you could at that crucial moment. 

Learn more at: My Writer’s Life: https://deborahlynwriter.com/

Writing for Caregivers: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/   

Artist’s Website: https://lynstanleyart.com

My eBook Author’s Page: https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

Goodreads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomdeborahlyn

Amazon Author's Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/

 

MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page and in a tab at the top of this blog's home page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites so it may be used a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. 

Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Poet LB Sedlacek Reviews New Modern History Press Poetry Book

“Septuagenarian”
Love is What Happens When I Die
By Sherry Quan Lee
102 pages
ISBN: 978-1-61599-568-4
Modern History Press
www.modernhistorypress.com
Copyright 2021
Available on Amazon

Review by LB Sedlacek

Sherry Quan Lee has put together an unsettling yet brilliant juxtaposition of sweet and sad, love and anger that will hit you right at your emotional core.  The collection feels almost like heartfelt portraits of pain, disconnection, and strength all rolled into one.

Her poems, though, delve deeper beyond emotion presenting lines that achieve poignancy with their build-up.  Context is important with any poem and Quan Lee achieves that.  Her poems are fulfilling and real.  

Poet LB Sedlacek Reviews New Modern History Press Poetry Book

Her approach is straightforward.  Poems examining her life till now offer personal and compelling details.  She invites us to participate in her struggle, her internal voyages throughout the years.  Her descriptions are vivid and they allow us to see beyond the setting into her internal strife.  
1615995692

Each poem stands alone, but each poem complements the other poem before it.  Same with each section of the book.  The author doesn’t let you forget that she is human and willing to bare her soul within her verses.  

It’s a well-crafted book.  Her words will seep into your heart and then some.


More About the Reviewer

LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her first short story collection came out last year entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com  You can find out more about her at www.lbsedlacek.com.  
Her networks are:
Facebook - @lbsedlacekpoet  @poetryinla
Twitter: @lbsedlacek   @frugalpoet
Instagram:  @lbsedlacek    @poetryinla

More About #TheNewBookReview Blog 



 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's "Authors Helping Authors" service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in a tab at the top of the home page, too. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author, a veteran educator and also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing

Monday, April 5, 2021

Hidden Figures Book and Movie Discussion Guide

Hidden Figures Book and Movie Discussion Guide 


Note: The movie may be rented on Amazon Prime. It is not on Netflix or Hulu. I do not see a way to watch it free or included in subscription plans other than Disney Plus. I watched it on Disney Plus. 

The movie is a fictionalized version of the nonfiction book and is about 74% accurate. 

Movie Questions

1. The opening scene looks like there may be trouble for the three women when their car broke down in the middle of nowhere. How did the situation resolve? What did you learn about Dorothy Johnson Vaughn to help foreshadow her promotion at work? 

2. NASA was divided into the West and East work areas. In what ways were they segregated? 

3. A library book became the catalyst for worker empowerment. How did this one book contribute to the computer revolution? How was the book obtained? How far did it reach? 

4. Explain the attitudes of the men who were engineers towards other workers. How did these attitudes evolve during the story? 

5. Math was empowering to the main characters. Why? How? Do you think it is still so important?

6. The home lives of the main characters were also shown. How did this help humanize the story against a backdrop of technology and precision? 

7. The movie was set in 1961-62 when civil rights activists were working and demonstrating. How did the film reflect the reasons why changes were needed in society at large? 

8. The movie was about 74% factual. A court order was not needed for one person to attend high school (after receiving a Bachelor's Degree). What were other elements of the movie exaggerated for dramatic effect? 

9. The IBM computer was necessary at that time. Explain how it helped with integration. 

10. Discuss some of your favorite scenes or people in the movie. Tell why you especially liked those. 

Title: Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Publisher: William Collins
Publisher Website Address: https://corporate.harpercollins.co.uk/
Publisher Email Address: 4thestate.publicity@harpercollins.co.uk

ISBN-10: 0062363603

ISBN-13: 978-0062363602

ASIN: B01MYUTJR7
Price: $9.98 Paperback, $Hardcover $21.99, $12.99 Audio Book, $6.99 Kindle
Page Count: 368 pages
Formats: (PB, Hardcover, Audio Book, Kindle)


The book Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race is nothing like the movie. It is more like a textbook with scientific information about aviation and civil rights. The author demonstrates how segregation at NACA (now NASA) compared and contrasted to civil rights issues of the larger society. The book would be a fantastic resource for civil rights studies as it is all nonfiction. People interested in aviation would also find reasons to consult this book in studies of flight. 

The book does include discussion questions at the end. A book club or discussion group could consult the questions to foster discussion. Here are my questions regarding the book, which are different from the authors. I suggest using the author's questions.

Book Discussion Questions

1. The opening scene looks like there may be trouble for the three women when their car broke down in the middle of nowhere. How did the situation resolve? What did you learn about Dorothy Johnson Vaughn to help foreshadow her promotion at work? 

2. NASA was divided into the West and East work areas. In what ways were they segregated? 

3. A library book became the catalyst for worker empowerment. How did this one book contribute to the computer revolution? How was the book obtained? How far did it reach? 

4. Explain the attitudes of the men who were engineers towards other workers. How did these attitudes evolve during the story? 

5. Math was empowering to the main characters. Why? How? Do you think it is still so important?

6. The home lives of the main characters were also shown. How did this help humanize the story against a backdrop of technology and precision? 

7. The movie was set in 1961-62 when civil rights activists were working and demonstrating. How did the film reflect the reasons why changes were needed in society at large? 

8. The movie was about 74% factual. A court order was not needed for one person to attend high school (after receiving a Bachelor's Degree). What were other elements of the movie exaggerated for dramatic effect? 

9. The IBM computer was necessary at that time. Explain how it helped with integration. 

10. Discuss some of your favorite scenes or people in the movie. Tell why you especially liked those. 

Thank you for reading, Carolyn

Hidden Figures Book and Movie Discussion Guide

Hidden Figures Book and Movie Discussion Guide


More About #TheNewBookReview Blog The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the form at https://www.bit.ly/FinishedReviewSubmissions. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's "Authors Helping Authors" service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in a tab at the top of the home page, too. And know that Carolyn Wilhelm, our IT expert, award-winning author, and veteran educator, makes an award image especially for those who volunteer to write reviews from Lois's review-request list and post them in the spirit of her "Authors Helping Authors" project. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing

Friday, March 12, 2021

On Paid-For Reviews: A Little Bah-Humbug

Are you going to plunk down your $ for something tainted?



Carolyn Berates the Skunk-Like Odor 
Emanating from Paid-For Reviews

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, you #TheNewBookReview blogger and
 award-winning author of 

There is an old saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I’m revising the adage to: “An old dog can go terribly awry when it tries a new trick.” 

Furthermore, by the time a dog is old, he should know better than to take on something that smacks of the word ‘trick’ and he should sure as heck know when to turn up his nose at something that smells like skunk!

No, I’m not losing my mind. And, you may have guessed, I’m not talking about dogs here. I’m talking about the venerable Kirkus Reviews that has been respected by authors and librarians everywhere since 1933 and dozens or others with respectable names among publishers and authors. It is published in print 24 times a year and has an online branch as well. It critiques some 5,000 titles--books of all kinds--in that same period of time. It wields enormous power. A Kirkus review (or lack of one) can make or break a book by influencing the major book buyers in the country--both bookstores and libraries.

Back when I started writing, I wrote to their editors taking them to task for not attaching the names of the reviewer to each of their reviews. Kirkus’ own site says “The reviews are reliable and authoritative, written by specialists selected for their knowledge and expertise in a particular field.” It doesn’t say that these reviews are often (always?) unsigned. It seems to me that anyone with the kind of influence these critics wield over the welfare of a book should be willing--nay, required-- to attach her name to whatever praise or vitriol she dishes out and I told them so. It was my journalism ethics class that made me do it.

That was nearly two decades ago and it wasn’t long before they upped their game. They violated my sense of ethics by taking paid-for reviews.

Here is what has ticked me off: Kirkus still offers a service to self-publishers and POD
authors (and, it has come to light more recently) big publishers who feel their books were passed over unjustly. This isn’t a new ploy.  Fly-by-night reviewers have been preying on desperate authors in this way for some time but Kirkus should know better.

Such Pay-for-Review works against authors two ways. First an entity like Kirkus knows that books it chooses not to review will be their most likely paying customers; this is not a situation that encourages a just, even-handed selection process. Not that the method has ever been something that assured all worthy authors of consideration, but at least there was no reason for this journal--or any other-- not to attempt to choose the crème de la crème of submitted books, or at least the books that best fit their editorial needs.

Second: There is no way that a reviewer who is being paid by the author or publisher of the same work under consideration can offer a fair review to her readers. After all, if the journal bashed 9 of 10 of these books, pretty soon no one would be paying them for a reviewing service! Further, no matter how fair the critique, it cannot be trusted any more than one trusts the press secretaries and spin doctors who work for this or any other president’s administration; when one is in the employ of another, one’s attitude is forever changed, for better or worse.

One of our industry’s promotion gurus recently informed his newsletter subscribers of this new “perk” offered by Kirkus. It would naturally appeal to his readers, many of whom are independent or small publishers or emerging authors. He said, “Do I think this is a good deal? No, probably not.” He feels that because of Kirkus’ fine reputation, it might be worth the fee (several hundred dollars!) for the value of being able to quote something positive from Kirkus.
He isn’t exactly wrong. He’s looking at this like the great promoter he is--something I, with a book out like The Frugal Book Promoter am in total sympathy with. But he isn’t exactly right either. The “assets”  that a publisher or author might reap from plunking down their hard-earned cash is going to be tainted--if not right now then later when people figure out that something here, truly stinks.

I’m dating myself with this story, but in the old days, journalism schools had ethics classes and they still do. We were told not to take out-and-out bribes or to accept gifts and to be very careful to write careful, clean, unbiased copy. TV reared its inexperienced head and producers hadn’t any training in journalism--or, obviously, ethics. The payola scandals emerged from the lush, rich land of TVland and everyone got squeaky clean because now (gasp!) the public had their number.

Well, I’m here to tell you that this is akin to the payola scandals. We have here another cycle. This kind of thing undermines the public trust and that public includes book buyers and the wholesale level and book readers at the retail level.  Thanks to a higher power who loves books we still have Library Journal and a few good newspapers but I worry. So far, Kirkus leads, makes a lot of money and others follow. And if so, our only hope will be to quit using their d--- products so they’ll die a well-deserved death! Let’s hear it from the public.  “Do not foul our free press! Leave our opinion pages and criticism unpolluted.” 

If you think I am over-reacting, consider: Our Democratic system is based on free speech and our free press is its watchdog. Speaking of dogs again, they tend to have good noses. Mine is lots less astute and even I can smell something rotten in the publishing world.

More About Today’s Blogger

Carolyn, author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, has given up trying to convince periodicals who suffer from a very thin profit margin from backtracking and has instead turned to a book telling authors and publishers hoe to avoid the pay-for review scam and do it effectively. Find her  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career at https://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews.

on-paid-for-reviews-little-bah-humbug

MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page and in a tab at the top of this blog's home page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites so it may be used a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. 

Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Janice Ottersberg Reviews Southern Fiction Award Winner

Title -- Crooked Truth
Author -- Kristine F. Anderson
Author's Website  -- www.kristinefanderson.com
Genre --  Historical Fiction
Age -- YA, Adult
Pages - 215
Awards --- Received Mercer's Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction
                  Nominated for the Willie Morris 2021 Southern Fiction Award
Publisher -- Mercer University Press, Macon, GA
Available on Amazon



             

Crooked Truth

WRITTEN BY KRISTINE F. ANDERSON
REVIEWed BY JANICE OTTERSBERG originally for Historical Novel Society 
In the post WWII South, fifteen-year-old Lucas lives with his Granny, Paw Paw, and Uncle Robert on their cotton farm. Thirteen years older than Lucas, the childlike Robert has Down Syndrome. Lucas is his protector, tasked with watching him as the two help out around the farm. Lucas would love to go off by himself to fish, but he accepts his responsibility. He is patient, kind, and protective to his uncle, who cannot do simple things and whose speech is hard to understand.
Alvin Earl, Robert’s much older half-brother, bullies and pokes fun at him whenever he shows up at the farm. He refuses to use Robert’s name, instead calling him “that boy.” This is Georgia in 1948, and there is no tolerance of anyone different, especially from the cruel Alvin Earl. He relentlessly demeans and spews hatred toward Robert and the Black help. Corinthia, Little George, and Cotton have worked for them so long, they are part of the family. When Lucas’s Paw Paw dies, Alvin Earl is furious when Little George inherits part of the land Alvin Earl expected to have, and Lucas is given money for college. Granny, Lucas, and Robert are allowed to live in the house as long as they like. Alvin Earl moves into the house, and their lives become filled with anxiety and distress. He threatens to commit Robert to the state hospital and remove Lucas from school to work the cotton fields.
Anderson perfectly captures family life in a small Southern community and the bigotry of that time. Lucas is a character to love for his quiet compassion and kindness in contrast to Alvin Earl’s despicable life as a bully and petty criminal. This is a coming-of-age story with a thread of malevolence running through. It will warm your heart one minute and disturb you the next.








  

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristine F. Anderson has been nominated for the Georgia Writers 2021 Author of the Year Award in the debut novel category.

Janice Ottersberg Reviews Southern Fiction Award Winner



MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page and in a tab at the top of this blog's home page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites so it may be used a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. 

Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Idelle Kursman Finds "Anxious People" Perfect for Covid Reading

Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Bachman
Genre: Humorous Literary Fiction
Age Level: 18+
Page Number: 349
Publisher: Atria Books
Purchase on Amazon 


Anxious People is a Winner




Reviewed by Idelle Kursman

2020 was heartbreaking. I lost both of my parents. Countless other people have lost loved ones. There were many job layoffs and jobs furloughed. Families and friends could not get together, even for Thanksgiving. Reading Anxious People is just what I needed. A bank robber on the verge of losing everything holds people hostage at an apartment viewing the day before the New Year. Readers learn the backstory of most of these characters, including the policemen who rescue them.
Swedish author Fredrik Backman combines insights about life, adding humor and some absurd conversations as he chronicles the hostage drama. The theme is life is a struggle and everyone carries their own pain and anxieties. We often cannot create the life we desire but should instead try to get through as best as we can while hopefully cherishing some good memories along the way. At the heart of the story is the despair we often experience when things do not go our way or we cannot save our loved ones from themselves.
We meet a father and son police officer team working on the case. The father is a widower who misses his wife, attempts to boost his son’s confidence in his police skills, and despairs that he cannot help his drug-addicted daughter. The bank robber recently experiences job loss, is in the process of getting divorced, and cannot pay the rent for an apartment. In addition, the robber’s spouse wants full custody of their children. The hostages have their stories as well.
Many of the keen observations about life come from the police officers reminiscing about their late wife and mother. She was a priest and this is just an example of what she used to tell them:
We can’t change the world, and a lot of the time we can’t even change people. No more than one bit at a time. So we do what we can to help whenever we get the chance…We save those we can. We do our best. Then we try to convince ourselves that that will just have to…be enough. So we can live with our failures without drowning” (p. 203).
The witness interviews consist of absurd conversations between the various hostages and the police officers that I found too annoying to be funny, but the dialogue and background information gave the story depth and insights. Backman builds a fascinating character with Zara, one of the hostages, in detailing her meetings with her psychologist prior to the main action.
The writing is superb, the plot is brilliantly woven, and the story is peppered with sharp observations about life.
I must be frank. This has been an all-out crappy year. But reading Anxious People reminds me we must get through these times and try to be there for each other.
More About the Reviewer 
Idelle Kursman is the author of the novels True Mercy and The Book of Revelations. They are for sale on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06W52D7WH and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088F1P1SY. Idelle is also a copyeditor, proofreader, and SEO Copywriter. Her website is https://www.idellekursman.com. Find her on Twitter @IdelleKursman.
Idelle Kursman Finds "Anxious People" Perfect for Covid Reading


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