Monday, May 23, 2011

Conrad In Beverly Hills

Conrad In Beverly Hills
Jake Fuchs
Raw Dog Screaming Press

Available for purchase at bookstores, on online services, and as ebook from Smashwords. 
Also available on Kindle via Amazon for $4.99,
As well as at:

Jake Fuchs, author of two satiric novels set in his present home town of Berkeley, has quietly produced a great novel that tackles the coming of age of a young man of sensitivity and character.  Conrad in Beverly Hills, his latest work of fiction, portrays a family’s circumstances that Fuchs knows as well as anyone.  Thirteen-year-old Conrad Keppler, a young man discovering his father’s past as a writer of literary fiction, attempts to save him from what the boy thinks of as the hell of corporate Hollywood.  Drawn from Fuchs’ personal experience as the son of a novelist turned Hollywood screenwriter, this novel is a labyrinth of memory and introspection.  Fuchs’ style, a distinct mingling of poetry, control and wit, speaks for itself.  A book that is at times scathingly funny finds its most comical and well-written elements in its portrayal of the movie business as well as life in today’s academe.   

After finding an unfinished story his father penned about their relationship, the mature Conrad, a fiftyish college professor, battles the uncertain disorder of reversed memories and dense transitions.  As an adult, Fuchs’ protagonist battles his father’s ghost as he tries to move on with his life.  The complication that ensues is a stunning work of literary fiction—one that brings with it shades of Woody Allen, Phillip Roth and even Saul Bellow.  Conrad in Beverly Hills, undeniably Fuchs’ best work to date, has established him, in my eyes at least, as an important American writer.   

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Here and There

An article worth reposting:

Only Searchable At Your Library

This week, I learned about a newly accessible treasure trove of history and literature online. Once again, my excitement was tempered by the reality that it's only available through paying libraries. While I'm a big fan of libraries and even remote access for patrons, it's troubling that the public-at-large cannot access these holdings -- or quickly discover them through commonly used search engines.
Publishers Gale and ProQuest announced their electronic bridge which connects some of the most treasured English language resources. According to these publishers, who are the Coke and Pepsi of academic resources, researchers will find “digital collections of nearly every printed work from the late 15th through the 18th centuries, [which] are considered to be among the world's most valued research collections.” This includes nearly everything printed in England between 1700-1800, and over 220,000 books and works.
At least the lucky library card holders at 200+ universities will be able to search and read these seminal collections more easily, beginning next year. The rest of us get zilch. Now I can understand the economics, as it costs a lot to collect, curate, digitize and share these tremendous holdings and the libraries pay for all this to be done. Unlike commercial content, there won't be advertisers lining up to sell their Christmas gifts next to texts from the Age of Reason.
Both Gale and ProQuest are trying to make strides towards more open access, by helping librarians deliver extensive catalogs, an array of digitized content, and 24/7 access for patrons. Last month, the ProQuest executives even mentioned that they want to help librarians in “building products from the end user point of view.” Gale has offered gateways for the public to research what's available at their local libraries. All this is to be applauded.
Yet the “long tail” information we really deserve is still largely unsearchable outside library gates. Try as they might, the search engines aren't solving this problem, because there's nothing to crawl or license here. There needs to be a better way to find the world's knowledge…anyone?
The definitive event for Canadian marketers, SES Toronto 2011 (June 13-15) affords delegates a comprehensive learning and networking opportunity. Sessions cover PPC management, social media,
 mobile marketing, usability and more.
Keep an eye on us for updated Indie Reviews, a few of which should be up within a day or two.
***Also keep in mind that we are working on amending a few minor mistakes and deletions made in a few of our recent reviews.  Our summertime staff isn't what it used to be, but we're working hard to get everything put into place the way it should be.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Indie Reviews:

Early Pleasures:

$16.00  Available from Black Heron Press, Midpoint Trade books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and Most Other Wholesalers.  However, the publisher would prefer you purchase Early Pleasures from your local Independent Bookstore.

Written in the early 1970’s, Kohner’s Early Pleasures was discovered only after his death. This first, posthumous edition released by Black Heron Press marks yet another reason to hail the indie publishing world as the foundation of modern literature.  Kohner’s fictionalized account of his adolescent sexual adventures in Austria and Paris in the early years following World War I comes across as an absorbing, beautiful and tender journey through the human condition. Flashes of Proustian recollections, complimented by a subtle, yet poetic elegance make Early Pleasures not only an important work, but a necessary chronicling of Peacetime Europe, as seen through the eyes of a brilliant and reclusive young poet.

From the frustrations of unrequited love, to the suicidal tendencies of the desperate and lovelorn, Kohner’s glimpse into the wine of youth lacks nothing.  I’ve read Early Pleasures, and I am reading it again, as this magnificent piece of literature has the potential to mean as much to my generation as it may have to Kohner’s had it been published thirty of forty years earlier.

—Daniel Kine, Author of Between Nowhere and Happiness  

A novel,
Charles Nauman
Plain View Press

       Filmmaker, poet and novelist Charles Nauman’s latest work, Pola, The
Mysterious Communications of a Gone Woman (available now from Plain
View Press) is a psychologically driven journey into the “sacred
unity” of art, mind and nature.  The narrative follows a “gone woman”
named Pola who, in Nauman’s words, has drifted into a nether-land of
mystery and discovery.  “Her wounds of schizophrenic madness are met
with the equally wounded voices of her equally wounded lover, a
soldier boy she sees murdered as he flees into the forest.”
       While Nauman is no doubt covering familiar ground by delving into the
mental and spiritual wounds of human madness, the fresh, distinctive
voice he brings to the genre is remarkable.  Nauman’s prose is a
flagrant and vividly poetic compliment to a purposely nomadic
narrative that moves between its characters divided introspection, and
fanatical exploits.
       Overall, Pola is a success, in that Nauman has accomplished precisely
what he set out to accomplish with this novel.  His blend of poetry
and introspection does indeed force its reader to consider
consciousness beyond its typical potential.  That said, Pola is not
merely the story of a disturbed woman, rather it is the story of a
broken society that has, in all its wisdom, failed to break the
surface of human suffering.  Nauman’s Pola, in this regard, is one of
the very few of its kind—it is a carefully constructed, intensely
lyrical translation of a harrowing and unconventional look at love,
loss and the ensuing madness.  Nauman’s expedition into psychology,
mythology and the human condition is fascinating, sensitive and, above
all, engaging.
                                                     --Indie Literature Now

The Seeker Is The Sought
Marvin Richard Montney
Outskirts Press, $15.95

            Marvin Richard Montney is a prize-winning American poet, novelist and playwright.  The Seeker Is The Sought, a collection of his poetry spanning some forty years,  symbolizes the culmination of Montney’s range and aptitude as a poet.  Separated into three “clusters,” Montney’s poems carry the reader through a lyrical maze of love, joy and empowerment.  “Poetry, Montney claims, gives insight into the reflexive processes and structures known to lovers alone.”
            What sets The Seeker Is The Sought apart from other collections of poetry is Montney’s ambitious direction.  With each “cluster,” comes a carefully calculated objective.  With deft rhythm and a both vivid and powerful capability to bring image to language, Montney’s poems evoke an almost unnatural curiosity. 
            Each poem in this collection suggests a powerfully intimacy capable of reaching a diverse range of readers.  In the end, Montney’s intriguing and ambitious insights into the psyche of love are a success in that they stir enough emotion in their reader to be deemed worth reading and rereading.