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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: King of Rags by Eric Bronson




Title: King of Rags
Author Name: Eric Bronson



Author Bio: Eric Bronson teaches philosophy in the Humanities Department at York University in Toronto. He is the editor of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), Poker and Philosophy (Open Court, 2006), Baseball and Philosophy (Open Court, 2004), and co-editor of The Hobbit and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), and The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy (Open Court, 2003). In 2007 he served as the "Soul Trainer" for the CBC radio morning show, "Sounds Like Canada." His current project is a book called The Dice Shooters, based loosely on his experiences dealing craps in Las Vegas.


Author Links - The link for any or all of the following...




Book Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Neverland Publishing
Release Date: May, 2013
Buy Link(s): Amazon

Book Description:

King of Rags follows the life of Scott Joplin and his fellow ragtime musicians as they frantically transform the seedy and segregated underbelly of comedians, conmen and prostitutes who called America’s most vibrant cities home. Inspired by Booker T. Washington and the Dahomeyan defeat in West Africa, Joplin was ignored by the masses for writing the music of Civil Rights fifty years before America was ready to listen.

My Review:

First I'd like to say that if you think you don't know Ragtime Music, I'm sure you do. In case you missed it, you can check out my interview with Mr. Bronson - 


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I loved King of Rags. I was easily taken back in time to follow Scott Joplin's story, and found the history of it all along with the storyline, absolutely enthralling. Mr. Bronson did a fantastic job of telling a vivid story, pulling you fully into the story with his descriptions, and what kept coming to mind that I really knew readers would relate to was that scene in Dirty Dancing, where they finally were able to dance the way they wanted to dance instead of how they were told to dance.

I'm by no means a history buff, but I truly enjoyed the history behind this story. It was very well written with the perfect amount of tension and drive to keep you turning the pages. I read this in one setting, completely tuning everything else out until I was done. It was that good!

If you think you don't know Scott Joplin's music, the opening music in first minute of our interview above is Scott's music. You'll know it and you'll love this book. Highly recommended.

Kudos Mr. Bronson! Well done.







Excerpt One:

Whenever he had a difficult decision to make, Scott set himself up on the small hill with high grass and wildflowers. In the starlight he was especially careful not to disturb the patient, purple flowers. A traveling white schoolteacher once read to his class the story of the heliotrope from Ovid’s
Metamorphoses. Derided by the world and scorned by her lover the Sun God, a poor nymph keeps her eyes ever fixed to the sun. Streaked with purple, she is covered in leaves and flowers, roots that claw their way around her helplessness, forever binding her to the earth.

“‘An excess of passion begets an excess of grief,’” the schoolteacher quoted. “Don’t reach so high. You’ll be much happier if you lower your sights.”

But there was something about the nymph’s undying faith that touched him inside. She refused to be stuck here in this world, and that refusal brought hope along with the pain. Scott thought he understood the nymph’s eternal conflict. His music wouldn’t right the wrong, but it might help ease the loss. Long after the sun abandoned her, Scott sat among the heliotrope and played for her his coronet.

The hill had a further advantage: it overlooked the new train station. He was there one December day, ten years earlier, when the first Texas & Pacific railway pulled in from Dallas, on its way to Fulton, Arkansas. Since then his father had taught him to play the violin, banjo and coronet, but none of them could take him beyond his colorless world. Maybe the trains couldn’t either, but the tracks held that promise, going outwards, ever away. His mother believed the coronet was
the Devil’s instrument. Scott disagreed. Any instrument that brought relief to others was useful. It shouldn’t much matter who was dancing at the other end.

Under the wavering light of a half-moon, Scott played with all the sounds of the night: the high-pitched melody of cicada bugs over the running bass line of lumber cars and freight trains, garbage crates and short hauls sounding their syncopated iron rhythms: boom-chugga boom-boom: boomchugga boom-boom. The music of the night trains was the sound of waiting—waiting and waning and wasting away. The greatest secrets in life, Scott knew, lay not in the music or the

people who played it, but in the short, silent spaces that sometimes fell unexpectedly off the beat. The Stop Man taught him that without hardly even saying a word.











Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Review By Burt: George Knows by Mindy Mymudes




Title: George Knows
Author Name: Mindy Mymudes



Author Bio: Mindy Mymudes runs with the Muddy Paws Pack in Milwaukee, WI. She insists she is alpha, even as the dogs walk all over her. She hunts, cleans the den and keeps them entertained. When she can escape the pack, she enjoys digging in dirt, listening to audiobooks, and weaving the antics of the pack into stories. The alpha male, Tall Dude, just shakes his head and stays out of the way.


Author Links -




Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6702514.Mindy_Mymudes?from_search=true



Book Genre: Urban Fantasy, Midgrade
Publisher: MuseItUp
Release Date: Dec. 6
Buy Link(s): Amazon

Book Description: An egotistical magical basset hound named George believes it's his duty to train and protect his 12-year-old, a greenwitch named Karly. The world is full of people who don't know how to use their natural human senses, and while teaching Karly to use hers, he's also teaching her how to use her magic. George is the perfectly designed familiar.













Burt's Review

George Knows was a fantastic read great for both adults and kids. It was very well written and the storyline was amazing. I found myself laughing out loud at times, as George took us on the journey of protecting the girl-pup. It was brilliant to write this from George’s point of view and really teaches us not to overlook all that’s around us. Only when you can take it all in, can you truly experience life. I loved it.

The paranormal aspect was a nice touch and this is one author that I will be watching to get more from. Well done Ms. Mymudes.





Excerpt:


I don’t understand my Girlpup; the rest of my Pack adores me. Packmom Doreen is always an easy conquest. She saved me when I was a puppy and I fell over my ears, and my legs wouldn’t stay under me. She is the most important member of the Pack—she feeds us.
Just not often enough.
Packdad Brian is very well trained and does whatever Packmom Doreen wants. In the last two years, I’ve become a model of the perfect hunting hound. Karly needs to see me for what I am, and she doesn’t.
Yet.
When I prowl in her mind, I see how she pictures me—a clumsy, stupid, wobbly pup. I shouldn’t have to prove to her I am the best familiar in the world or that I am brilliant. I shouldn’t, but I know I’ll have to.
George!” she shouts through panting. Why is she running? “Where the heck are you?”
Although Karly’s scent changed after her twelfth birthday from sweetmilkFrootLoops to that fakeflowerchemical that she thinks removes her odor, I know it’s her. Even if I can’t smell her, I can still hear her stumble over the path. Big rocks and trees that scrape the sky get in the way. She needs to get lower to the ground. Now she’s sneezing. If only she’d work with me, her allergies would go bye-bye. Whoever heard of an allergic witch-in-training? We can use green magic. Except, Karly will first have to trust me.
And she doesn’t.
Yet.
Maybe when she gets older.
She will.
I continue to scrape my claws into the damp ground, searching for more smelltastes and listening for my Girlpup. She’s panting like it’s a hot day. At least she’s catching up. I am satisfied she’s okay, and dig like a badger with my wonderful big paws and claws, the ideal excavation tools. I wish I was digging up the den of a rabbit. I slow to sniff.
No.
There’s no rabbit here.
Something different’s calling me.
What the heck is it?
Dirt and roots pile up behind me, and my rear is now higher than my front as I dig. I scrape against rocks and try to push them away. They aren’t rocks—too long and thin. I wrap my jaws around one and toss it with a headshake out of the hole. I find another and do the same thing, until there is a pile of buff-colored things that looks like bleached driftwood.
I heave myself out of the hole and investigate my find. The thick sticks are hairy with fine roots. I pick one up. It’s light for its size, hollow, and about the size of a rawhide bone. It has a round knob on one side and is broken off on the other. I retrieve more pieces from the hole and sit. Maybe they are old branches.
No.
They don’t smelltaste like old branches.
Hmm.
Karly finally shows up, huffing and puffing, out of breath. She needs to get out more. I poke my nose into the pile of things I’ve dug out. “George, what are you doing? You aren’t, um, eating those, are you?”
I look at her like she’s crazy. I don’t eat wood.
Anymore.
Karly points to the things and counts them. “So what did you find? There are nine of whatever they are.” She bends down and touches one. “Weird, they look like someone snapped them in half.” My Girlpup takes one of the longer things and rubs off the dirt.
She drops it like it’s a pan just out of the oven. I take a sniff; it’s not hot. There’s something here, though.
Not a good something, either.
“G-G-George, those are bones,” Karly’s voice breaks as she stutters over my name. I take another sniff. Yeah, they could be bones. What’s the problem with that? I lick one. It tastes like dirt. They’ve been here a long time.
Yup.
That’s it.
Just a bunch of animal bones. Maybe a big dog buried them. What’s bothering her? The hackles rise on the back of my neck. The not good gassulfurdrysnakecatstink smelltaste spins around my brain like smoke.
Oh.
Oh no.
I hack and cough. I know exactly what kind of bones these are.