In a previous life, I had the opportunity to spend a year in El Paso. Stationed at Biggs Field while studying the Vietnamese language, we were preparing to assist in a war far away from mainland USA. If we fight them there, we won’t have to fight them here. That was the claim of a corrupt president who was brought down not by the war, but by his lies. We were US Army soldiers and we followed the orders of the man in the White House because that was our duty. We followed them up to the time there was a genuine fear that illegal orders were about to be issued. At that point, a directive was issued. For those who want to know more about that directive, read the memoir written by Robert McNamara.
Curious Men by Rosalind Minett has a very logical subtitle He-Time Tales. Minett’s earlier work was not so gendered in the title, Me-Time Tales, but given that the earlier work was written by an author named Rosalind, some assumptions can be made. I gave the fifteen stories in Me-Time Tales five Amazon stars https://ron877.com/2019/03/07/what-is-a-well-woman-examination/ which guaranteed I would read anything else written by Ms. Minett. This collection has seventeen stories plus three interventions. I enjoy writing a quick couple of “reaction” sentences after each story. There are sections in addition to the stories. There is a tongue-in-cheek Health and Safety Warning. A Prologue admits to the author’s sense of fairness in giving men their platform and hints that men and women are different. Who would have thought it?
The Snark Handbook: Insult Edition: Comebacks, Taunts, and Effronteries by Lawrence Dorfman is not a novel that can be reviewed for its content. That would be like trying to review a dictionary or the phonebook. What is interesting is to see where these snappy comments come from. In this work a reader will find commentary from Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, H. L. Mencken, Oscar Wilde, Robert Benchley, George Bernard Shaw, Jules Feiffer, Bill Hicks, Bill Maher, Phyllis Diller, Édith Piaf, W. C. Fields, Mark Twain, Voltaire, and Charles Bukowski to name a few. It sells for USD 1.99 and can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited. It might be a good idea to buy the book if you want to keep it as a handy reference before going out to a party where you know there will be plenty of Snark. If you read it for free through Kindle Unlimited, you will either have to return it sometime or keep the book forever in your TBR list of ten allowed borrows.
Queen of Klutz by Samantha Garman is Book One of a “Sibby Series.” Not a novel to provoke deep and serious thought, it is a pleasant, humorous, witty look at one woman’s attempt to make lemonade with the abundance of lemons showering her life. The “Klutz” of the title refers to the idea that if anything can go wrong in one person’s life, it will go wrong for Sibby. From what looks happenstance and accidental such as dropping a pen only to trip and fall a few minutes later in a public display of embarrassment, to the more awkward meeting Sibby had with her boyfriend when she stumbled upon him in bed with another man, everything that can possibly go wrong happens to Sibby.
The Anniversary by Ahava Trivadi is a 142-page story in The Hopeless Husband Series. This is the first novel in the series and was free as a purchase on Amazon. The next book in the series, Wife Swap, sells for USD 2.99. Classified by Amazon as General humorous fiction, I found nothing offensive as far as language or context but there are painful situations presented with sarcasm and wit.
Image by Gerd Altmann from…
American Nightmare 2014 is a collection of fourteen short horror stories by multiple authors and edited by George Cotronis. Despite the “2014” in the title, these stories are set in the 1950s. Many of the main characters refer to their WW II experiences and how they play out in a US environment of a return to “normality” and increasing personal wealth. Changes in race relations and equal treatment for minority populations appear as story themes. Although the US undeniably was in a period of growth and peace after a long war, there was a major concern which affected many people, the Korean War, one that is also referred to. Baby boomers can wallow in nostalgia for rock and roll music that could compete and drown out the roar of big block “muscle” cars with muffler cutouts. Huge cars, almost resembling tanks by today’s standards, competed for strategic space in Drive-In Movie establishments. Where one parked was tied to the purpose of attending the Drive-In. Not all action was on the movie screen. Some vocabulary may be unfamiliar to a post Baby Boom generation. Although I am a Baby Boomer, some of these stories were a vocabulary workout for me.
Three Maids in a Tub by Nathan Burrows is a short story about a bunch of underperformers, a group of people who probably couldn’t figure out their potential let alone live up to it. They don’t seem to have any expectations other than getting through the day. The main objective of each day for most characters is to find enough alcohol of any kind to make themselves numb to all that might happen in the passing day.
Rumors by Phil M. Williams gives a false impression that it is a very long novel. Kindle lists it as 492 pages and the novel’s Table of Contents presents the reader with 146 chapters. This is deceptive. It is a one-session read and I felt it was a page-turner. Students will like the portrayals of inter-teacher and administrative political bickering. Some teachers might read this and shake their heads at familiar situations. Just like the title indicates, this is a novel about gossip, rumors, and the tremendous amount of damage that can occur to careers and personal lives. The novel is up-to-date as there is school violence, school bullying, and liberal use of Facebook. It is easy to read the book as far as the complexity of language. Sexual situations are minimal and described in non-salacious terms. I will recommend Rumors to my English as Second Language learners.
Managed Care by Joe Barrett might be considered a call to action against incompetent bureaucracy. Franklin Johnson loved his grandfather and had enough extra money to pay one year in advance for his grandfather’s stay in an assisted care facility. But granddad died just days before he was scheduled to move in. Franklin tried to get a refund from manager Ed Hardy but Hardy used lawyers to prop up his claim that he didn’t have to refund any money; the death was not Hardy’s fault. Franklin Johnson’s grandfather was named Franklin Johnson, the same as the grandson. If he could not get a refund, Franklin Johnson the grandson would move into the senior care facility and dedicate one year of his life to making the life of manager Hardy a living hell. Frank (the grandson) moved into the facility and demanded all services, such as the changing of his adult diapers. Frank’s job as a software developer could be done from anywhere. Frank worked from the Hardy Managed Care Facility at night as a software developer and spent his days thinking up situations that would annoy and irritate Ed Hardy. The idea was to annoy Hardy so bad that Hardy would refund his money.