Reality Checked - Book Review
Reality Checked - Life through Death, is a moving saga
about finding meaning in a world of suffering and pointless
hate based on the color of skin. Former school teacher and
Theologist, Victor Waller has incorporated many of life's
issues through the lives of his characters who were forced
to make decisions in hopeless situations. Racism, revenge
and hate are rampant in this book. Domestic abuse and the
dangers hidden within our society's foster care system are
There is only one main character - Catherine Brown - along
with a host of supporting characters. Catherine grows up
under the terrible threat of racism - which many use simply
as an excuse to harm another human. In fact, her father and
uncle were orphaned at a very young age through a racist
attack. The fairy-tale romance of her parents slid away as
fears of her father's suspected infidelity enforces her
mother's accusations that she is being poisoned. Never
really knowing the truth, Catherine stumbles through her
youth and into adulthood.
Unfortunately, a disturbed individual brutally murders her
family and Catherine is dragged away by the police and
incarcerated for many years. She survived the harsh
environment through the friendship of her cellmate - and
their hunger for revenge.
As an old woman, Catherine is only free from the bars of her
prison. Her body is now her jailer - it is discovered that she
inherited her mother's mysterious illness. Thinking she had
no family remaining alive, Catherine is surprised when she
is invited to a family reunion. This reunion proves to be one
of Catherine's greatest challenges. As she seeks to repair
the family discord, she is contacted by a person from the
past and her chance for revenge is handed to her on a
Victor Waller has created an important and meaningful story
in Reality Checked. In fact, the work is well titled. The novel
provokes the reader to question their own choices in life -
and possibly, to release some of the pessimistic inner
voices which influence their decisions.
I give this 377 page novel the highest of ratings with no
Author: Victor Waller
Publisher: Turn Key Press
~ Lillian Brummet - Book Reviewer - Co-author of the book Trash Talk, a guide for anyone concerned about his or her impact on the environment Author of Towards Understanding, a collection of poetry.
The term "thought provoking" is over-used but that does describe eighth grader Melissa Shang's opinion piece in the New York Times in which she asks why "there are very few stories about kids in wheelchairs, and there are even fewer with a disabled person who is cheerful and happy." Her powerful article questions why "disability is always seen as a misfortune, and disabled characters are simply opportunities to demonstrate the kindness of the able-bodied protagonists."
Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States. Smith's poetry has won her such top awards in her field as the James Laughlin Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and, for her 2011 collection Life on Mars, the Pulitzer Prize.
For many years, the publishing industry's major annual event, BookExpo, was aimed at publishing insiders only. A few years ago, organizers ReedPOP, started experimenting with allowing in more readers, which morphed into a separate one-day event in 2014 called BookCon which immediately followed BookExpo. In 2015, BookCon moved to two days; then in 2016 back to one day.
This year, BookExpo's show floor was reduced from three days to two and BookCon's expanded back to two days. While engaging with fans is seen as positive by many in the publishing industry, the shows' continuing evolution is causing headaches for some, particularly the smaller, specialized publishers who wished to exhibit at BookExpo but not BookCon and thus found themselves relegated to a separate exhibit area at the Javits Center in New York.
An Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum opened in Springfield, MA last weekend. Springfield is the home town of Theodor Geisel better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss - who wrote and illustrated dozens of rhyming children's books including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. The museum features interactive exhibits, artwork never before displayed publicly and explains how his childhood experiences in the city about 90 miles west of Boston shaped his work.
Helen Dunmore has died aged 64 of cancer. She authored 12 novels, three books of short stories, numerous books for young adults and children and 11 collections of poetry.
She was also Chair of the Society of Authors until shortly before her death, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lived in Cliftonwood, Bristol the setting for her poignant last novel, Birdcage Walk (published in the UK earlier this year and due to publish in the US on August 1). Although she knew she was dying only at the editing stage she suggests, in an afterword, that she must have known subliminally because the novel was "full of a sharper light, rather as a landscape becomes brilliantly distinct in the last sunlight before a storm".
On Monday, the Nobel Foundation released Bob Dylan's lecture (which he gave just shy of the 6 month deadline in order to receive the award and cash prize of US$900,000. In his 27 minute speech, Dylan explored the topic that was on many people's minds when he was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, can song lyrics be literature?
"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent," Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, wrote in a blog post. "Now that the Lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close."
Listen to the speech
The U.S. Postal Service is honoring Henry David Thoreau (b. July 12, 1817) during the bicentennial year of his birth with a Forever Stamp. A first-day-issue stamp dedication ceremony took place last week at the the Walden Pond State Reservation Visitors Center in Concord, Mass.
Denis Johnson, the prize-winning fiction writer, poet and playwright best known for his surreal and transcendent story collection "Jesus' Son," has died at age 67.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.