This feature has a two-fold purpose: 1. To allow those recently added to our followers list to discover books they might have missed and 2. To make sure previously featured authors and their work aren’t forgotten. If you’d like to learn more about any of the books revisited here, simply click on the “Author” page, then on that author’s name.
“THE PICTURE BRIDE,” BY C. FONG HSUING.
Following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. In Picture Bride, set during a period of changing times and changing values, twenty-year-old Jillian Wu leaves Calcutta to marry a man she has never met—Peter Chou, also a Hakka—with much anticipation, only to discover that he is gay. Forced by her husband to keep up the charade of a “normal” marriage, and pressured by her in-laws to have a child, she flees back to Calcutta, only to be disowned by her conservative family. A moving story with political overtones, Picture Bride confronts the politics of family, culture, and women’s rights.
“WHALE FALLS,” BY CECIL BOTHWELL.
Writes Cecil: “The idea for this book started when I learned of whale falls — the carcasses of ceteceans that sink to the deepest depths of the ocean, where wholly different life forms have evolved. The food chain is based on methane instead of oxygen (scarce at such depths). Then I read that some scientists theorized we could inject such organisms into the upper atmosphere to consume methane, the most potent of greenhouse gasses, and the symmetry struck me immediately.
“Whale oil began our addiction to combustible liquid fuels (and whales were only saved from extinction by dint of an oil gusher in Pennsylvania), and now the fruit of their carcasses might save us from extinction due to warming. That seemed a metaphor for so many situations in which a problem and a solution are linked in unexpected ways. Midway through the year-long writing I was elected to City Council, outed as an atheist and suddenly acquired my 15 minutes of international fame (long story). But I realized that this book had to be about a much bigger picture of ethics and choices about how we examine and live our lives.”
“GRAVITY,” BY ELIZABETH ROSNER.
Composed over a period of some twenty years, Gravity is Elizabeth Rosner’s profoundly searching account of her experience as the daughter of Holocaust survivors. In an extraordinarily powerful mix of poetry and prose, Rosner traces the earliest remembered resonances of her parents’ past and her dawning awareness of the war history that colored her family home during her youth in Schenectady, New York. She recounts her false starts in raising the subject with her father (a survivor of Buchenwald concentration camp), his piecemeal revelations, and their eventual travels together to the sites of the nightmare in Germany. And she evokes, courageously and heart-wrenchingly, her search for identity against the gravitational pull of her parents’ experience and the traditional upbringing they’ve given her.” (quoted from Atelier26 website) The book also features exquisite artwork by Lola Fraknoi.
“HOBO’S REVENGE,” BY BILL DELOREY
Hobos and High Finance have little in common until the day an investment scammer deceives Gina and Mickey McGee, steals their retirement savings, and forces foreclosure on the family farm. Evicted along with her grandparents, Ellie McGee drops out of college and ends up homeless, living in a hobo encampment amongst a group of vagabonds.
Ellie hooks up with Tick Simmons, and together they plan revenge on the scammers that stole the farm and also killed Tick’s twin brother, a resident of the hobo camp. Tick and Ellie team up with the odd-ball drifters, recruit a senator and a rogue intelligence agent and an ex-Special Forces veteran, then reverse the game and scam the scammers,
“ECHOES OF TATTERED TONGUES,” BY JOHN GUZLOWSKI
In this major tour de force, John Guzlowski traces the arc of one of the millions of immigrant families of America, in this case, survivors of the maelstrom of World War II. His narrative structure mirrors the fractured dislocation experienced by war refugees. Through a haunting collage of jagged fragments―poems, prose and prose poems, frozen moments of time, sometimes dreamlike and surreal, other times realistic and graphic―Guzlowski weaves a powerful story with impacts at levels both obvious and subtle. The result is a deeper, more visceral understanding than could have been achieved through descriptive narrative alone. This is the story of Guzlowski’s family: his mother and father, survivors of the war, taken as slave laborers by the Germans; his sister and himself, born soon after the war in Displaced Persons camps in Germany; the family’s first days in America, and later their neighbors in America, some dysfunctional and lost, some mean, some caring and kind; and the relationships between and among them all. As Guzlowski unfolds the story backwards through time, he seduces us into taking the journey with him. Along the way, the transformative power of the creative process becomes apparent. Guzlowski’s writing helps him uncouple from the trauma of the past, and at the same time provides a pathway for acceptance and reconciliation with his parents.
“FLIP FLOPS AFTER 50,” BY CINDY EASTMAN
Flip-Flops After 50 is a wry, witty collection of essays through which Cindy Eastman tackles the ups and downs of midlife. From her 30th high school reunion to her daughter’s wedding to running away to a cabin in Maine, she comes to terms with aging and change with insight and humor. The lens of humor does not make these essays less meaningful, however, as stories about the loss of an old friend, self-confidence and aging parents are included here.
Flip-Flops After 50 is a wonderful opportunity to remember that we’re not alone in our advanced years and that many of us go through similar changes and challenges. Reading the essays is like spending time with a close friend in the celebrations of life as well as the transitions.