All posts by frederic_69rob

New from BWLB: “Three Goat Songs,” by Michael Brodsky

Brodsky-3Goats-2-03-06-19-smallWe are continuing to reissue Michael Brodsky‘s entire catalogue. This is installment #3. “Three Goat Songs” is a series of variations on a theme. It is divided into three novellas, each about a man who sits on a rocky coast by the seashore, contemplating. Herbs of goats come there to graze. The man is a husband and father of two children.

Three Goat Songs” is an exploration into the existential boundaries, in the “sea-bounded goat world.” It is a philosophical look at the essential sameness and, at the same time, the diversity of all stories. It has in common with the other books of Michael Brodsky the theme of the protagonist’s struggle to survive, and more than that, to comprehend.

Together, this body of work has led critics to compare the writing of Michael Brodsky to that of the masters like Dostoevsky, Becket, Joyce.

Need Your Book Translated

Lingorama-Logo-CroppedDo you need your book to be translated either into English or any other language? The first question that always comes to mind is why should you need to have your book translated? The answer is as simple as the question. There is nothing like visibility in foreign markets to gain a wider audience. Our affiliate, Lingorama can help you achieve this goal. Lingorama specializes in book translations. All book sizes are welcome (fiction or non-fiction), and so are languages. Want to learn more about how you can truly increase your book sales? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

New from BWLB: “Circuits” by Michael Brodsky

Circuits, by Michael Brodsky (BWLB, $ 5.99)

This startling novel (originally published in 1991) is the concentrated peak of Brodsky’s dynamic and unique vision. With a shifting group of characters—Mazel Tov Jones, Neddie and Eddie, Vladimir and Mr. and Mrs. Stein, Brodsky explores the thought process of a protagonist who is accused of a murder but is never sure of his crime or his accusers. Brodsky’s character becomes a model for all humans trying to find a self-identity, reduced to the simple yet tragic dilemma of trying to communicate with fellow men. Stripped of excess plot and locale, this novel expands on the visions of Beckett and Kafka, but with a uniquely American voice.

Circuits will surprise and engage the serious reader at a level that few contemporary writers attempt to reach. Brodsky lives up to Ezra Pound’s famous challenge—Make it new—and pushes fiction and the novel to new limits with spirit and vigor.

New from BWLB: “Stanley Kubrick: The Odysseys,” by Fabrice Jaumont

KubrickJaumont-Front Cover-11-05-18Stanley Kubrick: The Odysseys,” by Fabrice Jaumont ($ 9.99, 140 pages)

April 2, 2018 was the 50th anniversary of a 1968 premiere screening in Washington, D.C. of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film remains the most fascinating cinematographic adventure given to experience. As a tribute to the masterpiece, and to the maestro himself, this essay which was first presented in 1995 as a scholarly paper explores the multiple connections to the Odyssean theme that one may find in Stanley Kubrick’s filmography.

Kubrick’s unweaving and re-weaving of the cinematographic tapestry reflect his attachment to the changeability implied in the Odyssean theme, which has become the theme of questioning, the perpetual questioning of one’s possibilities. The camera’s shuttling back and forth in time, round and round in space, through the means of dolly movements, shots and reverse shots, circular and spiraling recurrences, equates the director’s shuttling between classical and avant-garde techniques, between painting and photography, between musical intensity and spatial silence.

A chassé-croisé which the pluricephal director utilizes with a view to producing new angles of view and new parallaxes: a constant Kubrickian experimentation of the cinematographic language.

New release from BWLB: “Relative Man” by Ionel Petroi and Ivanka Stoïanova

RelativeMan5-02-28-19-smallRelative Man: the Music of Ionel Petroi,” by Ionel Petroi and Ivanka Stoïanova.

Born in Yugoslavia into an ethnic Romanian family, raised in Serbia, groomed in the Paris music circle before relocating to New York, if anything, provide a strong metaphor for Ionel Petroi’s “Musique Relative.” What came first the relative identity or the music? Is this latter the emanation of the former? In this long overdue memoir, Ivanka Stoïanova, a musicologist with worldwide experience, explores the relative journey of this complex modern, contemporary musician. Ivanka’s pointed questions allow Petroi to unravel himself in many unexpected ways. But always with sincerity and humility. We follow him from his humble beginning playing accordion in Serbian villages to his rise at the Paris Conservatory of Music, through his meetings and conversations with likes of Boulez and Ionesco, and scoring half-tone pieces for various ensembles, via the endless obsessive quest for honing and refining a personal musical style. Of course no journey, especially such an eclectic musician’s, would be complete without a little detour to visit his love of cinematic scores. This memoir spans a wide reaching scope of Petroi’s entire musical productivity to date. (Translated from the French by Frank Debonair)

Author du Jour: Douglas Rushkoff

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 11.46.45 AMIf you do not know who Douglas Rushkoff is, it is not too late to catch up. You will not regret it. He is the Naomi Klein male version. While I am not sure, he would appreciate I say this, this is, if I am right, his fifteenth plus books on culture, the digital economy and media, and he only gets better, clearer, punchier and to the point, with each new book. Rushkoff knows how to inspire and shock the crowds by revealing flaws and exposing false assumptions. His unique vision of the Techno-hyper-mediatized landscape is a perception we cannot do without. In this new book, “Team Human,” Rushkoff zeroes in on the pervasive effect of our most cherished human accomplishment: our technology, and what it is doing to you, to us, to our society . . . Here I will defer my authority to his clarity of thoughts and future projections. Get his book now.
 
Team Human” is a manifesto―a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together―not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups.
 
Team Human” delivers a call to arms. If we are to resist and survive these destructive forces, we must recognize that being human is a team sport. In Rushkoff’s own words: “Being social may be the whole point.” Harnessing wide-ranging research on human evolution, biology, and psychology, Rushkoff shows that when we work together we realize greater happiness, productivity, and peace. If we can find the others who understand this fundamental truth and reassert our humanity―together―we can make the world a better place to be human. (book description from Amazon)

Author du Jour: Meredith Maran

NewOldMe-small-fullsizeThe New Old Me” by Meredith Maran

(Blue Rider Press, pp 302, $27.00)

A great undiscovered jewel, and from what I infer, a book that deserves to get into every single book club in the nation, and beyond. My enthusiasm is perhaps excessive. There comes a time when a book appears and has valuable lessons to teach us. We learn something we never suspected existed. People in their 60s’ have a life as well, and they go through ups and downs like the rest of us, and still have to learn lessons along the way. They can even display resilience and an appetite for life. It is pleasant surprise that a publisher would release a book that actually concerns our aging nation, where so much emphasis rests on the land of twenty-something Lena-Dunham wannabes teaching the world with great self-assurance life lessons and proper etiquette. Which begs the question: what is more interesting, someone who fumbles through life while brandishing a narcissistic flag and seems to have all the answers? Or someone who has worked hard to build a life, only to lose everything overnight and who has to pick herself up to start again—at age sixty?

This is exactly what happens to Meredith Maran who had a perfect life, meaning living with a sense of safety that no one could ask for more, with a good marriage (to the woman of her dream), a beautiful Victorian house, a good writing career, and an active social life. And then Life comes knowing at her door, like it tends to when things are going too well, and it takes everything away, and more. The best friend dies; her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer; she loses her job, and the house, along with the marriage. Welcome to “The New Old Me.” This is where we meet Meredith, dead broke about to move to La La Land, CA, where she struggles to rebuild her life and self, with all the scrawny feathers that come attached to them, fanned by heartache, loneliness, and self-doubt. The energy of the prose however shows us that beyond the circumstances lies a strong-willed and witty woman, and sure enough slowly Meredith crawls out of her trenches, and she does so with humor. For those in search of summer inspiration, this is your book. Look no further. (It was my wife’s favorite read so far this year.)

Author du Jour: Beatriz Williams

WickedCity-cover-smallThe Wicked City,” by Beatriz Williams

(William Morrow, pp 368, $26.99)

In “Wicked City,” one can smell the whiffs of Fitzgerald’s Nick Carraway as he journeys back and forth between New York and East Egg. You can touch Princeton, the Prohibition, the allure of speakeasies with Fitzgerald pouring himself a scotch, and nudging the fabulously wealthy yawning at thought of attending the next party. From where we stand, the era feels like a distant shore, a fata morgana only made possible by the booming business and new wealth created overnight, the windfall of WWI. In typical Hollywood stories, with the new breed of winners come the losers, and not necessarily those who never had, but rather those who tried hard, got there, and walked away on a whim, which, for many of us, reveals a certain disposition towards foolishness. This is where Williams starts her two-time-framed narrative. The story moved from present to past and back and forth. “Wicked City” is a Nick Carraway journey in reverse.

Ella Gilbert starts at the top of society and decides to leave it all behind upon learning that her banker husband cheats on her. She trades her life of luxury and high-comfort in Soho for a small pad of Greenwich Village. That’s for the near present. But Williams’s story also is situated in 1924, where the Village was not the ultra-expensive resort for the startup moguls of today. Back then there were forbidden places, where more prosaic people went in search of excitement. The place in question is a speakeasy, the Christopher Club. The club introduces the second protagonist, Geneva Keely, a flapper, who gets caught in a raid and is forced to help the police track down her father, an important bootlegger . . . The story takes its own flight as we ponder how the two narratives are interrelated, making the twists and turns highly entertaining and surprising.

Author du Jour: Elizabeth Blackburn & Elissa Epel

The-Telomere-Effectfinalcover-smallThe Telomere Effect: a Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer,” by Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD

(Grand Central Publishing, pp 399, $28.00)

Whoever came up with the subtitle for this fascinating book did an excellent job creating a strong hook. Who indeed would not want to live longer? Contrary to what you may consider, that life is just a game of roulette, with molecules moving one way and DNA reacting in another, the authors claim that you can certainly influence your longevity. To entice you into their secret, they ask: why some people at 40 look like 60, while others at 60 look like 40? The story narrated here deals with telomerase and, more precisely telomeres, which are the capstones at the end of the DNA, whose states mirror the way we treat ourselves. Good telomeres will keep you disease free longer. Translation: your lifespan will be elongated.

Here, as in diet books, we find that the main culprits for premature aging: quality of sleep, frequency of exercise, types of diet, and chronic stress, all of which deeply impact our telomeres. Over the book, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn (Nobel Prize winner) and Dr. Elissa Epel clearly demonstrate the mind-body connection. Having recurring negative thoughts for example will affect also your telomeres, and your appearance. Telomeres shorten in repeated adverse conditions. People looking healthy have long telomeres. So the main question you should ask yourself, and it should make you want to pick up this book at once, is whether a body who has been exposed to all types of unhealthy habits and physical and self-inflicted mental abuses can reverse damages done to the capstones of its DNA? In other words, are frayed telomeres irreversible? The book goes at great length to provide answers. Particularly fascinating are the chapters discussing the impact of early trauma during pregnancy and income inequalities to show the relations between depression and schizophrenia . . . which logically would mean that we may pay the price for circumstances that we do not control and that, in turn, impact our appearance. But nothing is set in black and white, and life choices still play their part. One thing is certain, reading this book will not age you.