“Fixture” Finds a Friend

When you write and self-publish obscure and strange little books that have no clear path to finding any friends out there in the big bad way over-populated world of books, it’s always a happy day for the book that does somehow find a friend. For my book “Fixture“, this is not quite an annual event, but it’s always worth a celebration. Today’s comes by way of a very nice review on Amazon:

Unfortunately I can’t say a lot about this story because it was so different and strange and completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The author is exceptionally talented and the prose was absolutely beautiful. The descriptions of the “Fixture” throughout the story really added life to the fictional individual whose life is being recounted by the narrator. The way the author brings the “Fixture” to life through the description and emotions that it elicits really made it so I could almost see something like this truly existing. Honestly I’d pay big money to see something like this if it could actually be done! Fascinating and enthralling but you definitely need to pay attention while reading it. Maybe someday an artist will do a rendering of the “Fixture” as described by Tom Lichtenberg that would be awesome!

Recommended: Lyric by Jim Maher

Jim Maher has been one of my favorite “indie” writers for some time now, and I’ve recommended his books several times so it was with great interest that I clicked on a link in a tweet about a new story he’d posted called “Lyric”. I was glad I did because he’s since removed the title from Amazon while a publisher considers it, as happened with his excellent Hemingway Man. When it becomes available again I’ll provide a link.

Lyric is a dystopia, certainly, but one that’s drawn with such a broad brush that you can’t start nit-picking about this or that aspect of its world-building. Basically, there’s a girl who doesn’t want to practice her violin. Next thing you know the world is enveloped in some sort of blackness all the way up to 100 meters. Above that level, survivors eek out a meager existence. Lyric Bell, the young musician, finds her own voice in a series of exciting and unexpected adventures in this chaotic situation, As always, Jim’s characters are drawn with compassion and humor. His young heroines – here as in his wonderful Seamus and Tessa – are charismaric and shine in his stories.

I only wish I could wave a magic wand and spread the word about these books to more than the tiny ripple I am able to reach. I hate it that these books don’t have more than a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and elsewhere. Jim has such a sweet style and his stories are so engaging and fun that I know that with exposure he’d find great popularity.

Fulano for real

I’m reading Locos by  Felipe Alfau (a wonderful book I’ll be reviewing and recommending her soon).

It begins with a story about a man named Fulano whom nobody ever notices, no matter how many times or how loudly he introduces himself. Today at the local town swimming pool I met him for real, in the form of a 10 year old boy who insists that everyone is his friend, even though they all ignore him desperately. They boy follows other kids around in the pool as they swim away from him. He speaks in a weird Peter-Lorre-like voice which is startling coming from a pale, freckled red-headed kid. “Do you know my name?” he asks the fleeing swimmers, but they dive under water pretending not to hear him. It’s pathetic, and you feel sorry for him, until he places himself directly in your lane when you’re trying to do laps, and he attempts to introduce himself to you as well. Then the pity ends and you just want the brat to get out of your way.

For Reading Out Loud

It’s nearly eleven years and my wife and I are still taking turns, alternating nights, reading to our son at bedtime. Sometimes the boy and the parent will read their own books, but for the most part there’s still a lot of reading out loud going on. I’ve read quite a few books this way, and it’s really brought out a sense of what works and what doesn’t (for me). Some of the more popular books which we’ve read (Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Rick Riordan’s, Hunger Games) have been the worst – wordy, repetitive, and full of stale cliches and plots you could navigate in your sleep. On the other hand, there have been so many that have been a joy – including nearly every Lemony Snicket, every Roald Dahl, all of Shel Silverstein and Maurice Sendak, Lewis Carroll, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series. 

Right now we’re in the midst of a very fun book, Seamus and Tessa by Jim Maher (author of the marvelous Hemingway Man). This one is wildly inventive, engaging and amusing, featuring a pair of goofy parents (I’m an all-day sucker for those, being one myself) and a host of really bad bad guys. It’s the kind of book that makes me look forward to my turns. Wait, I think I hear him calling. Can’t wait to see what happens next (I don’t read ahead, no matter how much I want to, just so we can discover it together)