The Complete Collection of Short Stories assumed published, copyright and written by Paul Michael Peters.
The book contains eighteen short stories on various subjects created between 2012 and 2018. It opens with an overriding opening quote from Jean Paul “Memory is the only paradise from which we cannot be driven.” The opening story, Hickory Switch, is a quite fascinating look at human frailties when faced with a momentous decision. The second, Fukushima Gold, an interesting story about the fallout from the atomic residual. The 3rd, 4th and 5th are stories from the mind of James Hollins, more easily recognized as “Mr. Memory”. He was born with synesthesia, an unusual condition in which the senses cross and interconnect. Some experience an ability “to taste words, see music or feel smells”. One ability is rare, two are extraordinary. Holland had multiple connections. Thus, “he remembered everything about everything” even to the smallest detail. The first tale introduces the man and his abilities. The second is tied to the once extremely well –known song made particularly famous by Nat King Cole and dealing with the Great War in Poland and attempts by smaller countries to exit soviet dominance. The 7th an interesting ‘take’ on Robots and AI. 8th a tale that looks at transfer of human frailty to an AI component. 9th interesting look at the importance of performances of ‘small helpful activities’. And the stories continue for a total of 18 with 17 an amusing tale of ‘sanctuary’ and 18 another short treatise that follows another strange train of thought. A series on the Devil explains a simple fact that “you can’t kill the devil without facing your own hell.”
Discussion: The author has a very fertile mind that often proceeds in rather unusual directions. It is a book that will be most enjoyed by readers who have similar thought patterns. The book’s offering of largely short, self-contained subjects makes it excellent reading for the person who finds him/herself with short intervals of ‘time-on-their-hands’.
4* Of special interest to similar thinking individuals.
May Cause Drowsiness and Blurred Vision ISBN: 978732721616, published, copyright and written by Gloria Squitiro.
This is an autobiographical segment in the life of a woman of Italian birth, happily married to a man who is a brutally frank auditor who attacks waste in government budgets – Mark Funkhouser, politician, author, former Auditor, then elected Mayor of City of Kansas City, MO. She, like Mark, is adamant about seeking the truth about her areas of interest; e.g. a freelance (unattached to any hospital) individual providing knowledge and aid to couples before and during childbirth after experiencing 2 caesarian sections that seemingly were unnecessary. Her birth children are a son and daughter and she has others she has attracted because of her nature. The story covers a period preceding her husband’s run for Mayor starting with a somewhat extended trip to Europe with the whole family as well as a period following their return.
Discussion: The author has initiated “The C’mon Funk Series” with this first volume that is sub-titled “The side-effects of bravery”. Here, she has set forth a no-holds-barred look at her unvarnished truth seeking evaluation of a number of factors and situations from her brave but confessed quite hypochondriacally slanted approach to life. It provides both humor and bits of poignancy from a realistic viewpoint that seems to be quite congruent with her husband’s thought processes. In her own words: she “has an INFJ (Introverted, intuitive, Feeling, Judging) personality. She is an advocate. She is a dreamer who takes concrete steps to realize her goals and make a lasting positive impact. Helping others is her purpose in life, but not through charity work. Her real passion is to get to the heart of issues so people need not be rescued at all.”
5* Fascinatingly amusing approach to life fascinating for many readers.
King of the Blind ISBN: 9780980689488 Matrayah Media, 2018 Australia, written by Caiseal Mor.
The author opens his tale with a few words from a very wise old man who once told him there was “a way to avoid all of the trials and tribulations of mortal existence. Those who know this secret are always merry and forever blessed with good fortune. They are well-loved and welcomed.” He further instructed that “if you carry a pocketful of this magic ingredient with you, you’ll never go hungry and you’ll never want for laughter, music and good company. The secret that unlocks all these wonders is a simple one. Gratitude.” The author further states “This is the story of a man who learned how to be grateful.”
The tale then is presented of Turlough O’Carolan, purportedly the most famous of harp players of the 1700’s, an era when such travelling entertainers were much in demand. Actually, this is a story within a story as told by Turlough’s faithful servant who had accompanied him on his travels for many years. It includes quite precise descriptions of the devastating stages and effects of the often encountered Small Pox disease which had blinded Turlough; quite complete descriptions of various houses and dress of the day; Harps of the time compared with more modern versions; the gradually increased influence of music from the continent; the Irish involvement in many insurrections; involvement of the ‘Good People’ who only the English would designate as ‘Fairies’; and more.
Discussion: This is a charming Irish tale replete with whisky, blarney-tinged facts, stories hinting of the fallacies of Bonnie Prince Charles and his battlefield inadequacies as well as those of other Kings; the inter-relationship of the King’s soldiers and the rebellious Irishmen; humor; music and a romance of sorts. All contained in a tale which takes too much time ‘in the telling’. However, if it were shortened, it wouldn’t be an Irish tale.
5* Charming blarney tinted tale of music, mirth, history, romance.
Seeds of Slavery ISBN: 9781733303323 Abura Publishing copyright and written by Joseph F. Baiden.
This is a novel based upon many true events that frequently occurred and re-occurred during the days of slavery. The plot follows a number of individuals as they proceed through their various parts in this tale of the nefarious trade. It opens by introducing one of the intended slave buyers. He is a London brothel owner, on board a ship headed for the Gold Coast of Africa where he kills his partner in the intended action during an altercation. The ensuing activity describes: His subsequent actions to bring a cargo of slaves to America – attainment of a new partner, involvement with the British Governor of the African nation through whom he is provided sub-contractors along with his further activities. The sub-contractors’ long standing joint relationship is provided along with development and consequences of their actions and their effect on the overall plot. Another sub-plot follows the relationship of a man and woman of interior Africa who are in an illicit relationship by which they are caught-up in the slaving activity. Then there is a ship captain who strictly adheres to the rules of the sea as they apply to others but not himself, a first mate who is uncertain in his position, a second totally inefficient second mate, numerous other shipmates, slaves and assorted other characters. The plot slowly follows these numerous characters through to the volume’s end which is where it began – at sea.
Discussion: In spite of the rather rambling nature of this journey, a reader finds a certain amount of fascination in the characters as they stumble through their individual parts. And even the book’s ending makes one wonder what will have happened to them since termination of this volume.
4* Activities of an assembled group of disparate, but often somewhat alike characters.
White Australia has a Black History. Barbara Miller Books copyright and written by Barbara Miller.
The author has set forth a monumental production examining injustice perpetrated upon an indigenous people. In her exhaustive examination of the basics upon which the moves were initiated and the manner in which they constantly were re-initiated and enforced she has presented a quite scholarly work supported by a large number of references as well as a hundred and ninety pertinent end-notes. Truly a remarkable accomplishment that does indeed show a dark history of disdain for the rights of individuals. It also is a tribute to William Cooper and the many others that attempted to regain not only the aboriginals land but their self-respect. The government’s demonstration of utter disdain is so reminiscent of that of the United States and its rough shod over-ride of the American Indian by their false treaties and promises, and the resulting “Trail of Tears”, the massacres and more. These quite parallel situations bring to mind a most interesting situation extant in each country – a basic and undying pride in their heritage demonstrated by an Australian woman and an American Indian man. Both often have been criticized for their early actions when others were immersed in the struggle for their people. Again simply demonstrating a somewhat similar lack of understanding with little knowledge of a situation and similarly lacking empathy. Isn’t it often said the “Everyone should have a dream to pursue and the more dire one’s circumstances, the greater the need for that dream”? And after the younger age at which they forged ahead with their dreams, both later returned to their roots with pride and proceeded to provide extensive help for their people.
The young Australian woman was Evonne Goolagong, daughter of a locally famous athlete mother who persisted in urging on her daughter, who became one of tennis’ multi-winning champions, including Wimbledon, in the 1970’s – 80’s. The young Indian was Billy Mills, the Oglala Sioux boy who against all odds gained the 1964 Olympic Gold Medal following a dream implanted by a desperate father in the mind of a grieving 8-year-old who had just lost his mother.
Discussion: Thus to reiterate, the author has provided a well-documented, exhaustive history of the manner in which still another group of indigenous people have been severely mistreated. Her extensive research has set forth and examined in detail each abominable act and has provided more than ample supportive data. It is a treasure trove of indisputable fact. The almost overwhelming detail leaves no space for any type of denial. Regrettably however, this makes movement through the material quite slow so readers, other than those interested in the many unacceptable actions perpetrated by governments, may find this to be somewhat of a deterrent to acquiring this fascinating material.
3* 5* Comprehensive expose; regrettable caveat for many readers.
Master Your Financial Success ISBN: 9781628656800 Published and copyright by Authors Place Press written by 14 Authors Place Financial planners.
The book opens with a disclaimer and an introduction that explains that the authors of this book wanted “to give back by educating others how to address several meaningful areas that impact everyone’s financial planning lives. We are hopeful you will learn something new and be inspired to action at the same time, as even the best intentions that are never implemented can prove worthless, if not tragic.” Eleven chapters follow that cover different aspects of financial planning. One –“Retirement is a New Dawn” explains and offers suggestions for you to “Define your Future” and assess the many opportunities, both good and bad, awaiting you because of the many changes that have occurred. “It almost certainly will not be your parents’ retirement.” Two discusses Financial Stewardship and how important is “Proper financial stewardship (because it) exponentially increases value; conversely improper financial stewardship dramatically dilutes value.” Three discusses “Financial Planning for Today’s Unique Family” which may consist of a single parent, same sex parents and more. Four, is a somewhat more specialized chapter in that it deals with “Advanced Planning for Senior Executives” Five, discusses “Generation Wealth Planning and admonishes “You have prepared your wealth for your family . . . but have you prepared your family for your wealth?” Six, “Creative Strategies to Preserve Family Wealth” and Seven, “Considerations for a Business Owner” like chapter Four, again are a little more specialized. Eight – “Investing Demystified” provides basics of the activity. Nine – “Corporate Retirement Plans” is heavy on 401(K) retirement plans, Ten– “Using Life Insurance in Financial Plans” provides interesting discussion on the subject. Eleven – discusses “Charitable Planning Strategies.
Discussion: The authors collectively have presented interesting and most credible suggestions in each area of their expertise. Readers no doubt will discover many useful, and quite possibly unthought-of points to consider in any of the areas defined. From this reader’s perspective, this is a quite valuable contribution to individuals who have managed to attain a somewhat greater position and/or collection of wealth but unfortunately it is not exactly geared to those lower on the ladder of business or monetary attainment.
3* 5* for those at higher levels of accomplishment; limited otherwise.