Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

  • can't we talk about something more pleasant?Title:  Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?:  A Memoir
  • Author:  Roz Chast
  • Genre:  Memoir; Graphic
  • Published:  May 2014 – Bloomsbury USA
  • Source:  Library

Synopsis:  #1 New York Times Bestseller; 2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST FOR NONFICTION

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.  (publisher)

My take:  Roz Chast’s memoir is a candid look into her life, her relationship with her parents, and their final days. An only child, the enormous lifelong responsibility was all hers. You may be familiar with Chast’s New Yorker cartoons which I’ve always found notable for portraying the human condition. Her illustrations in this memoir are equally remarkable.

At times uncomfortable, at times relatable I found Can’t We talk about Something More Pleasant? a compelling read and recommend it to fans of graphic memoirs, the author, and anyone who finds themselves in the position of caretaker of an elderly parent.

When the Snow Falls by Fern Michaels, Nancy Bush, Rosanna Chiofalo, Lin Stepp

  • When the Snow Falls (Oct7) KensingtonTitle:  When the Snow Falls
  • Authors:  Fern Michaels; Nancy Bush; Rosanna Chiofalo; Lin Stepp
  • Genre:  Christmas Anthology; Romance
  • Published:  September 2014 – Zebra
  • Source:  Kensington Books

Synopsis:  Something’s in the air this holiday season, and it could be the beginning of a wonderful Christmas romance…

“Candy Canes and Cupid” by Fern Michaels

All private investigator Hannah Ray wants for Christmas is a quiet day at her Florida beachfront condo. When her biggest client insists she join him on a Colorado ski trip, she has little choice—but what she finds on her arrival could melt the coldest heart…

“White Hot Christmas” by Nancy Bush

Aspiring PI Jane Kelly likes to pretend she’s a bah-humbug kind of girl, but she’s had mistletoe on the brain ever since she shared a kiss with her boss, Dwayne. Before she can hope for a repeat performance, Jane must solve a kidnapping that’s as twisted as a candy cane—and not nearly as sweet.

“Seven Days of Christmas” by Rosanna Chiofalo

Five years ago, Bianca Simone received a wonderful early Christmas gift from her boyfriend, Mark—a week amid the stunning Alpine scenery of Innsbruck, Austria. Now she’s back under very different circumstances, but Mark has one more special gift in mind…

“A Smoky Mountain Gift” by Lin Stepp

Veda Trent is back in Townsend to fill in as temporary manager of the Crafts Co-op, but she’s not planning to stay. Though the mountain town is small, it holds lots of unsettling memories. Yet the wind can change, bringing with it new opportunities—and the chance to create the kind of Christmas Veda has always longed for.

My take:  I think Christmas is the perfect time of year to read an anthology. When the Snow Falls includes 4 very different stories. The first involves an attractive pair brought together by a bit of matchmaking on the part of a mutual friend who happens to own a 5 star ski resort in Colorado. There’s a mystery to be solved at the resort too. I liked this story. The second is more mystery than romance. I thought it was ok but that’s how I feel about most mysteries. The third was a heartfelt story about a woman wondering if she can go on in life after a huge loss. Can’t say much more because of the spoiler possibilities. Most of it takes place in Europe and there’s a small paranormal aspect. The last story picked up where a novel I read a few months ago left off. I didn’t expect that. I enjoyed going back to the small mountain town and the people who live there. A young woman wonders if she should find out if you can go home again. I hope the author continues this novella in a future full length novel. This was my favorite of the four stories. That said, When the Snow Falls has a little something for every reader.

Stirring Up Trouble by Kimberly Kincaid

  • Stirring Up Trouble (Oct7) KensingtonTitle:  Stirring Up Trouble
  • Series:  Pine Mountain #3
  • Author:  Kimberly Kincaid
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  October 2014 – Kensington Books; Zebra
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Sloane Russo’s turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane’s flat broke now–and she can’t channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed.

Gavin isn’t the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane’s novels. He’s raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he’s pretty sure he’s supposed to act like he’s never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well. . .  (publisher)

My take:  This is the third book in the Pine Mountain series and even though it’s the first of the series that I’ve read I didn’t feel lost in the setting or with the characters. It can definitely stand alone.

I enjoyed Sloane and Gavin’s story except for a predictable part in the last third of the novel. It moved the plot so I get why it had to happen but still. I won’t spoil it for other readers. Could be it just bothers me and no one else 🙂  I liked the two characters and enjoyed Sloane trying to get the serious Gavin to loosen up a bit. In turn, Gavin encouraged Sloane to believe in herself and to trust her decisions.

I think my favorite part of the novel was the relationship between Sloane and Gavin’s young sister Bree. Bree is learning to live without her mother (who died about a year earlier from cancer) and is in desperate need of a mother figure who understands her and can help with the things girls her age experience. It was handled well, I thought, and covered things I’ve not come across in any other romance novel.

Stirring Up Trouble is the first book by Kimberly Kincaid I’ve read and I look forward to reading more. Recommended to fans of the Pine Mountain series and Contemporary Romance.

Guest Post by Clare F. Price: Such an Unlikely Place to Launch a Revolution – US Giveaway

Such an Unlikely Place to Launch a Revolution

By Clare F. Price
Author of WEB OF BETRAYAL

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The weathered old tavern, a relic from California’s Gold Rush days, is nestled in the
rolling hills of Portola Valley, CA. Called the Alpine Inn, it’s a most unlikely place to start a revolution. But a revolution was indeed launched there. On August 27, 1976 researchers from SRI International in Menlo Park chose the Alpine Inn (also known as Zot’s) for a special ceremony—the first transmission of what would become the Global Internet.

According to the Portola Valley blog, “The message was sent via a radio network from SRI and on through a second network, the ARPANET, to Boston. This event marked the beginning of the Internet Age.

“On November 22, 1977 the same radio-based mobile SRI van terminal demonstrated the first use of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to connect a terminal to a host through three dissimilar packet networks. The SRI van is now in the collection of the Computer History Museum.”

alpine_inn_and_bikes_thumbFrom that point forward the Alpine Inn—which looks more like a biker bar than a Silicon Valley mega spot —has lured some of the Valley’s best and brightest movers and shakers for conversations that ultimately have led to the funding of major software startups, innovative product launches, and corporate mega mergers.

The Alpine Inn is such a magnate that young startup wanna-bes have been known to leave their one-page laminated business plans on car windshields just in case one of the visitors enjoying a quick greasy bite is a venture capitalist.

As a frequent visitor to the Alpine Inn in the 1990s during my product marketing days at Sun Microsystems and later at the Gartner Group, I couldn’t resist using the infamous Alpine Inn as one of the settings for my new novel Web of Betrayal.

It is, as described in my book, “by no one’s measure an inn and even the term restaurant was a stretch. It was a good, old-fashioned counter service hamburger joint and bar with a rough-hewn character that had become increasingly endearing as the surrounding towns of Woodside and Portola Valley grew in affluence and pretension.”

In Web of Betrayal, the Alpine Inn is where my protagonist, reporter Peter Ellis, first learns about the development problems with David Lockwood’s new Internet product. Despite its notoriety, the Alpine Inn is a great place for private conversations.

Read about Zot’s historical role in the birth of the Internet here.


 

Clare 3a-1Clare Price is a former business journalist, technology reporter, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups. She saw the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principal analyst in Gartner’s Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world’s biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the internet a reality. In addition to her 5-book series, The 5 Easy Pages Essential Marketing System, Clare has written more than 700+ articles and is a frequent speaker in the areas of marketing, management, and technology.

For more information and to view the book trailer, visit:
Click here to enter a Giveaway of one copy of  WEB OF BETRAYAL.
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