Thank you book lovers for the wonderful response!
“Reviewers’ Choice 2015”: a selected Indie release favorite. “… the most beloved books among the best we’ve read.” – Foreword Reviews
An epic novel of substance and style, Orphan in America is a compelling fiction that follows three generations across vast distances and the impact of a dark and unfamiliar episode of America’s past; the Orphan Train.
Book Clubs across the United States, would you like 1 free print copy ? At this time I have 7 novels to give-away to historical fiction book lovers. Perhaps your club would enjoy this “2014 Best Indie Book!” as your next reading club selection.
Here’s how: Send the name of your book group, along with a contact person and mailing address to: mrsavery@ hotmail.com. On the subject line write Book Club Entry.
The first 7 clubs to respond will be be notified by email and receive their complimentary copy shipped directly to them.
I apologize to my friends off the continental U.S. At this time the offer is via snail mail traveling just across from east to west coast and north and south on the mainland.
However!!! For those book clubs anywhere on the globe, if you choose to read on a Kindle, it is available as an ebook. Kindle edition
Here is a preview of the print copy your club can read of Orphan in America! Orphan in America
GOOD LUCK! I am honored that you care enough to respond. Thank you!
Happy Birthday celebration! From an idea to a novel one year ago! Thank you to all my friends around the globe! Cheers!
“Bringing back to the twenty-first century an epic novel of substance and style, Orphan in America is a compelling fiction that follows three generations across vast distances and the impact of a dark and unfamiliar episode of America’s past; the Orphan Train.”
If you see my book let me know…for those who are artists understand…creating is forever a part of one’s soul.
For many the public library is synonymous with tranquility; it is a place where one can find things they may have lost and find things they may not know they wanted. It is one of the few places left where you can receive something without giving back anything except your time.
What a wonderful establishment, rows and rows and shelves and shelves of books; all maintained by others, cataloged in a way where they are easily found, and allowed to be taken home with little more than a promise that you will return them within a reasonable about of time. So much so that if one wished they could renew the book for many weeks thereafter.
Yet, with all its positive attributes, it has been threatened like an endangered species; for as much as many praise its existence, patronage and funding has been reduced in many communities where its very existence may soon become merely a memory of the past. And oh what a shame that would be, for though we may enjoy our digital ebooks and a coffee shop attached to the bookstore… wouldn’t it be a disgrace to lose such a dear and faithful friend, the one place where tranquility resides, the good old library.
Today’s blog returns the the esteemed thinker: A.A. Milne (1882-1956); an author whose books you may have first encountered at your earliest trip to the library. Poet, journalist, playwright, and writer, Alan Alexander Milne was born in London, England. After serving in the British army in WWI, he devoted his career to writing. His best known works include the children’s poetry collections in the 1920s, When we were Very Young and Now we are Six.
From his book, Not that it Matters, I have selected the essay “My Library”. Having carefully snipped and strung together some of his fanciful words, I hope you will find them to your liking. Take time from your hectic day to read and enjoy A. A. Milne; I believe you will find him still quite entertaining…
“When I moved into a new house a few weeks ago, my books, as was natural, moved with me. Strong, perspiring men shovelled them into packing-cases, and staggered with them to the van, cursing Caxton as they went. On arrival at this end, they staggered with them into the room selected for my library, heaved off the lids of the cases, and awaited orders. The immediate need was for an emptier room. Together we hurried the books into the new white shelves which awaited them, the order in which they stood being of no matter so long as they were off the floor. Armful after armful was hastily stacked, the only pause being when (in the curious way in which these things happen) my own name suddenly caught the eye of the foreman. “Did you write this one, sir?” he asked. I admitted it. “H’m,” he said noncommittally. He glanced along the names of every armful after that, and appeared a little surprised at the number of books which I hadn’t written. An easy-going profession, evidently.
So we got the books up at last, and there they are still. I told myself that when a wet afternoon came along I would arrange them properly…
If I gave you the impression that my books were precisely arranged in their old shelves, I misled you. They were arranged in the order known as “all anyhow.” Possibly they were a little less “anyhow” than they are now, in that the volumes of any particular work were at least together, but that is all that can be claimed for them. For years I put off the business of tidying them up, just as I am putting it off now. It is not laziness; it is simply that I don’t know how to begin….
Let us suppose that we decide to have all the poetry together. It sounds reasonable. But then Byron is eleven inches high (my tallest poet), and Beattie (my shortest) is just over four inches. How foolish they will look standing side by side. Perhaps you don’t know Beattie, but I assure you that he was a poet….
You see the difficulty. If you arrange your books according to their contents you are sure to get an untidy shelf. If you arrange your books according to their size and colour you get an effective wall, but the poetically inclined visitor may lose sight of Beattie altogether. Before, then, we decide what to do about it, we must ask ourselves that very awkward question, “Why do we have books on our shelves at all?” It is a most embarrassing question to answer…”
First image: At the children’s library, John Collier, Date Created/Published: 1943 Aug.
An imaginary dividing line has been created in literature, a line of longitude if you please. If we were talking about cartography we may call it the Prime Meridian … or if you prefer, you might decide to call this literary intersection the equator, the 0 degree line of latitude …whichever way you like to cut-up this analogy…some north to south and others east to west, a division is metaphorically visible. This literary line is more obvious when you enter a library or book store resembling a road where there are painted stripes we refer to as the median… However, one has to wonder why in our quest for good books there has been a division at all… making the signage “Children’s Section” like the highway indicator for the fast-food exit.
This imaginary line in writing has been created slowly like erosion over a mountain pass by a running stream…this ever expanding crevice has become a fissure that is widening with each passing decade starting round about the time the publishing industry found out that it could create a marketable and lucrative item, Children’s books. And so, here we have it… the 21st century where the glut of books written just for kids has flooded over into a hot bed of “products”. Yet, children are neither as gullible nor devoid of knowing when they are being conned; they enjoy a well written story. Let’s resurrect Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; I use these works as an example not because of the story lines or plots…for some would find them too ‘out-dated’ for their liking… but rather because they are beautifully written, well-crafted, and genuine in their allegiance to providing a laudable narrative… none of these authors looked down upon the younger reader as though they were perhaps not worthy of the best.
A delicious meal isn’t usually watered down for a child, for if it was then most of the flavors and taste that the cook intended would be lost, unless of course this cook was not very good. Literature fed to children aught be refined enough to satisfy the reading pallet of an adult; for they too are deserving.
However on a “most” positive note, within the multitude of books published every year there are excellent titles that offer quality writing and craftsmanship by the author… the quest for the buyer or borrower is to heed their selection as if shopping in a grocery store; one needs to know what we are ingesting. (As for the adult readers who like very spicy food, adult books are often written just for adults… while children’s books can be enjoyed by both parties; for who doesn’t like a good kid’s story)
I now turn today’s blog over again to the esteemed thinker: C.S. Lewis; author, scholar, and literary critic who gained international recognition for his array of popular and scholarly works. Let us take time out from our busy day to read a parcel of words from his essay, “On Juvenile Tastes” ….
“…Surely it would be less arrogant, and truer to the evidence to say that the peculiarity of child readers is that they are not peculiar. It is we who are peculiar. Fashions in literary taste come and goes among the adults…for children read only to enjoy. Of course their limited vocabulary and general ignorance make some books unintelligible to them. But apart from that, juvenile taste is simply human taste, going on from age to age, silly with a universal silliness or wise with a universal wisdom, regardless of modes, movements, and literary revolutions…
It follows that there are now two very different sorts of ‘writers for children’. The wrong sort believe that children are ‘a distinct race’. They carefully ‘make up’ the tastes of these odd creatures-like an anthropologist observing the habita of a savage tribe-or even the tastes of a clearly defined age-group within a particular social class within the ‘distinct-race’. They dish up not what they like themselves but what that race is supposed to like. Educational and moral, as well as commercial, motives may come in. The right sort work from the common, universally human, ground that share with the children, and indeed with countless adults. They label their books “for Children’ because children are the only market now recognized for the books they, anyway, want to write…”
Regardless if you are an avid reader with several books piled upon the nightstand, a casual reader of magazines that you scan while patiently (or impatiently) sit in the waiting room of the dentist, or the week-end “I have such little time” reader; there is likely to be a favorite title that left an impression upon you somewhere tucked away from the past. For if the author has caught your attention and hooked you through to the very final page… your literary experience may have endured a positive influence upon you.
Positioning a book on your favorite list may have occurred because of the writer’s style; maybe it was because of a particular character that reminded you of yourself or even someone you wished to be like, and then there is the plot…the story –line that kept you on the very edge of your seat or ushered you away on an unforgettable journey. Regardless of the reason, books placed on a pedestal are meant to be shared and there is nothing more satisfying then ruminating over a good story with someone else that has enjoyed the same book.
Most of us have many “favorite” titles… for similar to ice cream… there are numerous flavors that are quite satisfying. It reminds me of an analogy … ‘ice cream is to mystery as chocolate is to genre’ …the relationship phrase here is “type”. In view of the fact that we often have ‘favorites’ that cross over into different genres or “types” of books; one has to wonder then what were the favorite titles of some of our great writers. For their taste would most likely not be “plain vanilla” but rather a scoop that was laced with other delicacies …perhaps “rocky road” or “vanilla fudge swirl”. But then, maybe not….
On that delicious note I bring us back to our esteemed thinker: Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author of celebrated novels and poetry that graced so many of our shelves. Mr. Stevenson was also a distinguished essayist, whereby I have extracted a small portion from his Essays in The Art of Writing and placed it on today’s blog. Steal a moment’s pause out of your hectic day for some words by from our famed writer…
“….The most influential books, and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction. They do not pin the reader to a dogma, which he must afterwards discover to be inexact; they do not teach him a lesson, which he must afterwards unlearn. They repeat, they rearrange, they clarify the lessons of life; they disengage us from ourselves, they constrain us to the acquaintance of others; and they show us the web of experience, not as we can see it for ourselves, but with a singular change—that monstrous, consuming ego of ours being, for the nonce, struck out. To be so, they must be reasonably true to the human comedy; and any work that is so serves the turn of instruction. But the course of our education is answered best by those poems and romances where we breathe a magnanimous atmosphere of thought and meet generous and pious characters. Shakespeare has served me best. Few living friends have had upon me an influence so strong for good as Hamlet or Rosalind… Perhaps my dearest and best friend outside of Shakespeare is D’Artagnan—the elderly D’Artagnan of the Vicomte de Bragelonne. I know not a more human soul, nor, in his way, a finer; I shall be very sorry for the man who is so much of a pedant in morals that he cannot learn from the Captain of Musketeers. Lastly, I must name the Pilgrim’s Progress, a book that breathes of every beautiful and valuable emotion…”
There is something very daunting when you enter a library; we are absorbed by the immediate sense of quiet, the cerebral, and an appreciation of timelessness. For those who are readers, writers, and book lovers, it is analogous to a child being let loose in a toy store…where one may choose not one but often as many as 20 items for free. The only caveat is that you must return them. But alas, that seems quite fair.
The library for me is a wonderland; however it is a place that I worry about. Once frequented, many are passed up, some say out-dated…and for others an inconvenient way to find a book. Nevertheless, those of you who have not visited one in awhile drop by and window shop…meander around the shelves … it is like a stroll along the beach where footsteps were forever left behind, only here there are books.
In today’s blog I invite you to revisit the library with the esteemed thinker: Ray Bradbury, (1920-2012) an American writer especially renowned for his work in the genre of science fiction. Bradbury’s career as an author started when he was a child and spanned for over 70 years. His reputation was clenched with his collection of books in 1950 titled under The Martian Chronicles.
Now, let us steal a moment for one of our iconic writers of the 20th century; here are his words from the biography Becoming Ray Bradbury (2011)… enjoy his unique analogy …
“The library was the great watering place where animals, large and small, came from the night to drink and smile at each other across the green-glass-shadowed glades between the book-mountains. So here you were gamboling on spring nights like lambs, lolling like warm trout in winy springs on summer nights, racing the curled mice-leaves on autumn nights, always to the same Monday place, the same Monday building. You ran, you dawdled, you flew, but you got there. And there was always that special moment when, at the big doors, you paused before you opened them out and went in among all those lives, in among all those whispers of old voices so high an so quiet it would take a dog, trotting between the stacks, to hear them. And trot you did.”