Author Q&A with Yona Zeldis McDonough
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 30, 2011

Author Yona Zeldis McDonough  (web­site) wrote The Cats in the Doll Shop (my thoughts) which not only did I like, but my daughter (who is turning 7 today) liked as well. My daughter had some questions for Ms. McDonough and here is the best Author Q&A ever – that of a proud father. Q.Why did you put cats in the book? A. Many years ago, my husband and used to watch the comings and goings of a stray, pregnant cat outside the back window of our apartment in NYC.  The cat had her kittens in an unused dresser drawer that had been stowed on a terrace.   When the owner discovered the kittens, she swept them off the terrace with a broom.  Two died, and three survived; one of the survivors broke his leg in the fall. The broken limb atrophied and eventually fell off but the three legged kitten managed to get around anyway.  We worried about how he would manage, and left food out for him.  He became surprisingly agile for a three legged cat and we came to love him for his spirit and his resilience.  He was the model for the cat in my story. | Q. I…

Thoughts on: The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg
5 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / November 29, 2011

About: The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg is an award winning historical fiction book. The book was translated from Swedish and tells about real life, as well as fictional characters. 672 pages Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN-10: 0374139644 My rating for The Emperor of Lies – 5 Buy & Save on The Emperor of Lies through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle | Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Steve Sem-Sandberg Thoughts: The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg is still an amazing, somber, hard look at a Jewish Ghetto, in Łódź Poland during World War II. The book has several stories which, might not intertwine, certainly run parallel to one another. While a novel, the book’s research is a amazing and I sometimes forgot I was reading about the fictitious lives of others. The author is inside the heads of the characters but yet keeps a watchful eye on the historical timeline and incorporates non-fiction documents into the narrative. Mixing fact and fiction is always a tricky business especially when writing historical fiction as oppose to writing a fictional story which takes place in the past. There are many historical figures which go…

Manly Holiday Book Guide
Latest Posts / November 28, 2011

Ever wanted to know what to get the men in your life besides tools,  a silly tie or something which will end up in the attic on January 1? Here are the answers to your prayers. For the “I want to read just one book I could talk about in parties” type of guy: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami For the “I like emotional books but want people to think I’m reading a war novel” manly man: The Polski Affair by Leon H. Gildin For your “I like intellectual books” boyfriend who wants to impress you: Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer by Ernst Weiss For the “hey dude, it’s a classic” guy:The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller For your uncle that grew a stomach and converted to Buddhism: Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen or Fire Monks by Colleen Morton Busch For your second cousin that keeps saying how he hates the classics: Dracula by Bram Stoker For your neighbor that decorates his house the day after Halloween: Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett For your long lost cousin. living in a log cabin and still believes that the South shall rise:The Civil War: A Visual History For your brother…

Guest Post on The Oliva Reader
Uncategorized / November 27, 2011

Spangle from The Oliva Reader has a wonderful feature called “Chapters In My Life” a weekly feature, where different authors and bloggers write about 5 books that have been influential or signify an era of their lives. When she asked me to participate I was only too happy to oblige. Here is my guest post – let me know what you think. Zohar =- Man of la Book

Fun Facts Friday Special Thursday Edition: Thanksgiving
Latest Posts , Opinion / November 24, 2011

This is a post I wrote a few years back for NJ.com titled ” Thanksgiving Myth vs. Fact“. I thought it would be fun to re-post it today with pictures from a trip my family and I took to Plymouth MA a few years back.. Hope you enjoy it even though it isn’t a “bookish” post. ====================== Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for many reasons. It’s none secular (which means everybody celebrates it), it’s not commercialized, the food is good and the idea behind the holiday is fantastic. We all learned about this holiday at school, and if we didn’t I’m sure after a year or two in America you learned all you think you should. A few weeks ago I took my family to Plymouth, MA for a long weekend, a great trip if you’ve never been. I bought my 4 year old daughter a book about the Mayflower so she’ll know what she’ll be looking at (and hopefully get her a bit excited) and learned a few things myself. Myth: The first Thanksgiving was a religious based occasion Fact: The first Thanksgiving was a three day festival which included drinking, gambling and sports. If it was a religious…

Thoughts on: The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / November 23, 2011

About: The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough is a fictional children’s book aimed at the younger crowd. This book is a sequel to The Doll Shop Downstairs. 140 pages Publisher: Viking Juvenile ISBN: 0670012793 My rat­ing for The Cats in the Dollshop — 5 Buy & Save on The Cats in the Dollshop through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle | Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Yona Zeldis McDonough Thoughts: The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough (website) is an interesting book which manages to capture the lives of a Jewish family of immigrants vividly and colorfully which brings them to life. The time period, post World War I, is also captured with the same attention to detail which the story is told. This is a simple and honest book exploring issues which might seem too grownup, but which fascinate kids and are important to explore together. What better way there is to explore complex subjects with children than fiction? I liked it but I’m not the target audience so I read it to my daughter (7) to see how she likes it. I’m glad to say…

Thoughts on: The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / November 22, 2011

About: The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca is a fictional novel which takes place in the early 1950s. The story uses flashbacks to wartime Italy. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy for two win­ners of this novella— enter at the end of the post. 192 pages Publisher: Other Press ISBN: 1590514815 My rating for The Day Before Happiness – 5 Buy & Save on The Day Before Happiness through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle | Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Erri De Luca Thoughts: The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca is a wonderfully suggestive book, which mince on words but not on details, selecting the perfect ones instead of spewing them off hoping to get one right. This is a character and image driven book which captures the souls of its narrator. The prose is very lyrical in this tale of the search for happiness and whether one will find it or not. Don Gaetano, the father figure of the orphan narrator, is known to be able to read people’s thoughts. Whether he does have such a magical ability or is simply an observant, warm and understanding human being…

Thoughts on: The Family Affair by Leon H. Gildin
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / November 21, 2011

About: The Family Affair by Leon H. Gildin is the fictional continuation of his award The Polski Affair. Like its predecessor this is a short book, but one that packs in impact. Spe­cial Offer: Buy The Pol­ski Affair for $1 on Smash­wards— Coupon Code RZ73B (Expires 31 Decem­ber, 2011). 256 pages Publisher: Diamond River Books ISBN: 0986659827 My rat­ing for The Family Affair — 4 Buy & Save on The Family Affair through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon More Books by Leon H. Gildin Thoughts: The Family Affair by Leon H. Gildin (web­site)  follows the next generation of characters from his previous book, The Polski Affair (my thoughts). This generation, sons and daughters of holocaust survivors, tries to research the past their parents struggle so hard to forget. I thought this was a good book with strong emotions about family and friends. The story is not a cookie cutter “feel good” one, but it seems more realistic, I wouldn’t be surprised if the author based this story on actual events. There are several messages in the book, some things take time to heal, some things never heal and sometimes, learning about one’s family could be a painful process with no…

Thoughts on: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / November 20, 2011

About: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a fictional novel which takes place between two worlds. The book was originally written in Japanese and became a best seller almost immediately. 944 pages Publisher: Knopf ISBN-10: 0307593312 My rating for 1Q84 – 5 Buy & Save on 1Q84 through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon | Kin­dle | Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK More books by Haruki Murakami Thoughts: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is not a complex novel, but it is long. The book asks an important question “what is reality”? I’ve worked with many marketing people over the years, the one important lesson they have taught me is the “perception is everything, reality is nothing”. At first, my structured mind that sees the world in 0s and 1s couldn’t comprehend what they were saying. However, with a little bit of contemplation I came to realize that they were right. After all, we live in a fake world. The news we watch are fake, the food we eat is fake (that’s why many immigrants have their own food stores), the promises made to us by our leaders and captains of industry are hollow and broken almost without delay. Mr. Murakami starts off…

Author Q&A with Ann Atkins
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 19, 2011

Ann Atkins wrote the Flash Biography of Eleanor Roosevelt (my thoughts). Ms. Atkins is planning a “Flash History” series, a college instructor, community director, and counselor she is also an interesting and engaging writer. Q. Why did you choose Eleanor Roosevelt as the subject of this book? Are you planning a series of biographies geared towards young adults? A. Reading about Eleanor inspires and challenges me. I wanted to write her story in a style that would reach a broader audience rather than the academic biographies that are already available. Flash History is a biography series written with the goal of having the stories resonate with today’s life for people across generations. The next biography will feature Golda Meir. Q. When writing a biography, do you look at a person from a standpoint incorporating today’s values and ethics, or is that not fair for the subject? A. This is a good question. Core values and ethics are not held to a particular generation. Rape, murder, abuse of children has always been ‘wrong.’ What changes is society’s willingness to make a stand to confront these issues. And example would be society’s turning away from denouncing lynching. We learn about frequent lynchings…

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