Marketing

Marketing is one of my strong suits and I have to give credit where it is due.  The next two books I am recommending helped me realize much of my ability.  If you have a social media presence and a business and don’t know where to begin promoting yourself.  These two books will surely give you a heads up.  Both are written in layman’s terms and the points both make are very easy to implement.

 

Steal These Ideas
Steve Cone
StealTheseIdeas

I’ve DEFINITELY taken MANY of the ideas presented in Steve Cone’s book and implemented them in my own business.  Some I’ve been doing all along and some were brand new to me.  Marketing has always been my forte, something I’m quite adept at but I can always learn something new and this book taught me a few new lessons I hadn’t thought of been incorporating.  This book is most assuredly worth the read.

 

 

 

Crush it:
Why now is the time to cash in on your passion
Gary Vaynerchuk
CrushIt

 

Gary Vaynerchuk is speaking my language.  On Amazon’s page for Crush it,  this is what it says:

Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take those passions and make a living doing what you love.

 

On another blog I write:
Wisdom and Life, I have an entire category based on this subject:
Finding Your Gift

 

Along with Steal These Ideas, I believe Crush it is another MUST have book in your marketing library.  Both of these books have been indispensible to me.  If you have a business or are considering starting one, then these are two books you should own and refer to often.

 

Until next time…
…Turn the page.

 

Time Travel

Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

In 2009, this book caught my attention, as I’m a huge fan of time travel stories.  I cracked the cover and was immediately enthralled.  Claire and Henry are time crossed lovers.  What I found completely fascinating about Time Traveler’s Wife is the mechanics behind time travel in this story.  It is NOT what you’d believe it to be.  I will leave it at that.

Emotional, thrilling and surprising this book captured me for more than the obvious reasons of time travel being central to the theme.  Henry is a librarian.  That detail surprised me in and of itself, as you don’t see many males portrayed in literature or anywhere else for that matter in the library field.  It was nice to see.

Can you guess why?  Wink.  Wink.  Smile Smile.

For those of you who haven’t read this book yet I recommend searching it out.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised; and by all means, avoid avoid avoid the movie.

 

Enchantment
Orson Scott Card

A retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Enchantment is full of beauty and detail.  Taking place in Russia, Enchantment intricately weaves the Russian Folktale of Baba Yaga into Enchantment so well that it appears to be part of the story.  Kudos to Card for doing such a fine job of this.

If you like time travel stories
If you like folklore
If you like SF/F tales
you are in for a treat with this book.

Don’t let the SF/F genre scare you away.  There is some literate fiction in the field.  You just have to know where to find it.  If you are close to Madison, stop by the library and ask to speak to me.  If I’m around I’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Time and Again
Jack Finney

This illustrated book found its place to me through a fellow librarian here at Scranton Library in Madison, Connecticut.  It has long been known of my fancy for well written time travel stories and I was told I MUST read this book.  I’m now returning the favor.

Simon Morley is approached by the U.S. Army to take part in a secret government project.  Simon agrees to participate but has a caveat of his own.  He requests to return to New York City at a specific time period.

You’ll have to read the book to discover what the reason was he wanted to return to a specific place at a specific time.  Have no fear.  I believe you’ll be as sucked into the narrative as I was.

Until next time…
…Turn the page.

Chris

Favorite Children’s Books Plus One

Last week, when leaving work, Jane Ash Scranton Library’s Children’s librarian asked me my favorite children’s books  I didn’t even hesitate:

 

Benjamin Budge and Barnaby Ball
BenjaminBudge

Several years ago I went on a mission.  I wanted to find this book.  All I remembered about the subject was that a tall man and a small man lived in homes that were inappropriately sized for them.  I asked everyone I knew.  No one had a clue.  As a last resort I turned to the Internet.  I found an online bulletin board that finally discovered the title.

 

Where Does the Butterfly Go When it Rains
ButterflyRains (1)

Have you ever considered the question the title of this book poses?  Why do these two books resonate with me?  They are the VERY first books I purchased at a Scholastic’s book fair in Farmington, Connecticut at The Noah Wallace School over forty years ago.  I remembered Where Does The Butterfly Go… Because I still owned that original copy.

 

 

Benjamin Budge had completely slipped away with the only thing I recalled being the topic.

 

Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg
DragonEgg

Once again, working at a library has given me a huge reward.  Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg returned to the front desk on Saturday afternoon.  It’s one of the huge advantages of working at the library.  I get to see all the books that come across the desk.  What a wonderful book.

 

This book has everything.  A story about being different.  A story about families.  A story about why things happen for a reason.  It has elements similar to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and for a few pages I expected the book to go that route, however I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

 

This is a book that everyone should read.

Until next time…
Turn the page.

Chris

 

Sherlock Holmes

Hound of the Baskervilles
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Image from:
Wikipedia
Baskervilles

As with Poe, I’ve read read every story of Sherlock Holmes multiple times and the one story I continue to come back to is The Hound of the Baskervilles.  I love this book and it it might be one of my favorite all time classics.

 

Holmes is called to investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville.  All signs point to a heart attack.  One disturbing clue points to an alternative answer.  A grimace of terror on Charles face.  And dog prints beside the body.

 

Why did I mention Poe in this column?  It is because, Poe has been given the name:
Inventor of the detective story.

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles has been called by many in the know as the greatest detective story ever written.  I agree.

 

Last Sherlock Holmes Story
Michael Dibdin

 

Michael Dibdin has the language of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle down in this short little book.  I discovered this book through Karl Ryan who used to manage RJ Julia Booksellers when I worked there.

 

In this story, Holmes pursues Jack the Ripper.  As cases begin to not come in so frequently, Holmes turns his attention to a seamier side of London.  He gets involved in The Ripper Case and it is is nearly his undoing.  I’ve recommended the book to countless people and some like it, some don’t.  But all say once they start, they simply can’t put it down.  Check it out.  Would love to hear your opinion.

 

Until next time…
…Turn the page.

An Adventure, Law of Attraction and a Lion

Chloe and the Lion
Mac Barnett
Pictures by:
Adam Rex
Chloe1

One of the advantages of working in a public library is the fact that I get to check in books all day.  So a few days ago in the afternoon, Chloe and the Lion came across the desk and while it was a bit slow, I leafed through the book

 

Chloe and the Lion is a fun little picture book for children.  I laughed throughout.  The author, Mac Barnett and the illustrator, Adam Rex are drawn into the book and they constantly bicker about what should happen.  If you have children or even if you don’t, this is funny little read.

 

When I fell from the sky:
the true story of one woman’s miraculous survival
Juliane Koepcke
Sky

Juliane Koepcke’s parents were scientists in the South American jungle.  Juliane grew up knowing the forest exceptionally well and this served her well when she was just seventeen. While traveling with her mother back to her home in South America by plane, the plane flew into a massive thunderstorm and everyone on board died.  Juliane was the only survivor, but it is how she survived that’s the story.  She fell two miles while still strapped into her plane seat and crashed into the leafy canopy of the very forest she grew up in.

 

Having lived in that forest helped her survive the days she was lost.  The early segment of this book details her growing up with her parents and the life she lead prior to the ill fated trip she took.  Juliane’s story is an amazing tale of survival.  For those who love adventure and adrenaline spiked tales, this is one book you won’t be able to put down.

 

E Squared
Pam Grout

E2

 

If you know about Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, E Squared is a nice follow up.  Many of the same topics are presented however, E Squared differs in the respect that it gives nine experiments to prove that we can sometimes master control over our thoughts.  We can create things to happen simply by focusing on the thought.

 

Sound like hooey?  Don’t dismiss this out of hand without first taking a look at the book and going through the first few experiments.  You may well be surprised at the outcomes.

 

Until next time…
…Turn the page.

Chris

Robert McCammon

Robert McCammon is a writer I read during a fantasy phase I went through several years ago.  Boys Life and Gone South are two of my favorites although I’ve read others by McCammon.

 

Boy’s Life
Image from:
Wikipedia
Boy's Life

This is likely Robert McCammon’s quintessential book, the novel that put him on the map.  Boy’s life is a fantastic tale of family and loss.  The novel takes place in Zephyr, Alabama.  The protagonist, a young boy named Cory is working with his father delivering milk to area residents when they both see a car plunge into a river.

 

When Cory’s dad dives in after the car, he finds a dead man handcuffed to the steering wheel.  Their world shifts out of place.  Part mystery, part coming of age story, McCammon has it all in this wonderfully macabre story.  Don’t miss it!  Don’t dismiss it because you don’t read dark fantasy.  This is one book that will hold you in sway.  You won’t be sorry you read it.

 

Gone South
Gone South

Another novel that takes place in the south, McCammon’s usual writing is on display with Gone South.  The protagonist in this tale is Dan Lambert, a Vietnam Veteran who was poisoned by Agent Orange.  In one fleeting moment, Dan does something that will change the course of his life.  Now being pursued by law enforcement he escapes into the Louisiana Bayou.  Gone South is an amazing tale and although most people who are aware of Robert McCammon point to Boy’s Life as the book they most connect to, I have to be different and say that Gone South is the better of the two novels.

 

Gone South is a tale of redemption which I feel VERY strongly about.  I think that’s why I feel so connected to the tale.  I’ve read it multiple times which I can’t say for Boy’s Life.  Pick it up.  I think you’ll find you feel the same.

 

Until next time…
…Turn the page.

Chris

 

Bill Parcells

Parcells:
A Football Life
Bill Parcells and Nunyo Demsio
Parcells

 

 

I’m a huge NFL fan.  It’s one of the sports on television that I can watch any team play and enjoy.  Bill Parcells has long been someone I’ve admired.  Watching him motivate his teams and seeing the results of his actions has been amazing.  Every NFL team he has taken over have been vastly improved by his presence.  Before he arrived at the several teams he has coached, each team underperformed in every area.  In a relatively short time Bill Parcells turned the team from perennial underperformers into winners, taking most of his teams to the Super Bowl.  How many NFL coaches can do that?

 

I enjoyed reading Parcells for several reasons:
–Bill discussed his youth and not just his NFL experience.  He talked about his middle school years.  He talked about going to high school and college.  I learned several things about Parcells, I didn’t know previously.  For example:
Bill isn’t his given name.
–He played for the NFL for a short time.
–Parcells actually left coaching briefly and sold real estate.

 

This is why I read so much.  And why I read EVERYTHING:
How would I ever have discovered these things about someone I’ve admired for so long if I didn’t pick this book up?

 

It’s why I find it it so incomprehensible when I talk to people who say they don’t read. They don’t have time.  There are other things they do.  To quote a favorite Saturday Morning children’s show:
Reading is FUNdamental.

 

Anyway, back to Parcells:
I enjoy re-experiencing past history and there is a vast amount of that in this book for someone who lived through The Bill Parcells era.  He talks about taking over the Giants as head coach.  I didn’t know that he worked for The New England Patriots BEFORE he signed on with The Giants.

 

See:
There is so much to learn from reading this book.

 

As I said above, it is why I read as much as I do.  I’m a sponge when it comes to reading.  I need to keep my mind continually soaking up knowledge and the only way that can be accomplished is by continuing to read.

 

Even if you’re not an NFL fan, surely, Bill Parcell’s name has become such a part of the American experience that everyone has a passing familiarity with him.  I recommend picking this book up and leafing through the pages.  I imagine you’ll find it enlightening, and if you are a fan of the NFL, like me, I bet you’ll discover some things about Bill Parcells that you didn’t know.

 

Until next time…
Turn the page.

Chris

 

Creatures of the Night

Moon Dance
SP Somtow

 

Image from
Amazon
MoonDance (1)

Moon Dance is a story of a werewolf clan raised in Eastern Europe who escape their homeland for fear of persecution. Does that sound familiar?  This is why I love dark fantasy when done right.  The stories are all merely allegorical.  For those who shun this genre I implore you yet again to read one of my recommends here at Scranton Page Turner and look for the deeper meaning behind the fantastical story the writer is attempting to convey.

 

Moon Dance is perhaps the best novel I’ve read that deals with werewolves.  There is a huge historical aspect to this story.  Real historical figures people the book. Sigmund Freud appears as himself.  Sweeping vistas of the American West play a role here as well.  Taking place mostly in the 1800s in the Dakota territory, the story pits warring clans against each other.  Again, doesn’t this sound allegorical?

 

Not only is Moon Dance one of the best stories I’ve read about werewolves, it is also one of the most sweeping.  A definite A+ book and one you’d be foolish to pass up because of it’s subject matter.

 

Sookie Stackhouse Series
Charlaine Harris

Image from:
eBay
SookieStackhouse

Something a bit different from Moon Dance in that The Sookie Stackhouse novels are lighter and have some humor infused into the series. There is an HBO television series based on the novels that is quite a bit darker than the books. The books are fun and well worth reading.

 

Sookie is a waitress at a Louisiana bar close to where she lives in the fictional town of Bon Temps.  Bon Temps is a kind of vortex for creatures of the night and Sookie finds herself in the middle in more ways than one.

 

Definitely, check these out.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Until next time…
Turn the page.

Chris

What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come
Richard Matheson

 

Image from:
Wikipedia
WhatDreamsMayCome

I read Matheson’s What Dreams May Come originally in the early 1990s and the book had such an impact on me that it changed my entire perspective on Life and Death.  There have not been too many books that have had such life altering experiences for me.  What Dreams May Come is on a very short list of such books.  This book should be on EVERYONE’S shortlist of books to read in their lifetime.

 

A movie of the same name based on the book is available on DVD and though I don’t usually recommend both book and movie, this is that rare exception where both can be viewed separately and neither one takes away anything from the other.

 

The book is based on years of research by the author.  In fact so much went into this book that there is an extensive bibliography in the back of What Dreams May Come.  Matheson says in his foreword that he doesn’t expect us as readers to read every book that he used, however he DOES say that if we chose to we’d come away with a new perspective just as I did.

 

The book begins with a knock on the door of someone.  Chris Neilson has passed and he has been communicating with a medium.  It is said medium who knocks on Chris’s brother’s door and insists on giving him the notes from said conversations.

 

This is where the book begins.  Through this manuscript, Chris attempts to reach out to his brother, doing his best to explain that there is indeed a survival after death, that the soul does carry on, that at some point, we can choose to return to earthly bodies. Yes!  I’m referring to reincarnation.

 

Ostensibly, in What Dreams May Come is where I first saw this topic and really delved deeply into it.  I’m half way through a second reading of this book and it still carries a huge weight, it still resonates powerfully with me.  There aren’t many books that I re-read that still weigh as heavily on me a second time.

 

What Dreams May Come is a MUST read!

Until next time…
Turn the Page.

Jonathan Carroll

A new Jonathan Carroll book always warms my literary heart.  Mr Carroll is one of the few authors whose books I will buy sight unseen.  A few weeks ago, on October 21st when I returned from dinner I received an email from Jonathan Carroll’s website telling me his new book Bathing the Lion was out in stores.  On my way back to work at the Scranton Library in Madison I made a detour across the street to RJ Julia Booksellers so I could hope beyond hope that a copy of the book was in.  There were two.

Image from:
Wikimedia
JonathanCarroll

I grabbed one and was so happy I floated out of the store.

Mr Carroll is one of my favorite writers and each of his books is better than his last book.  He writes esoteric magic realism and as I’ve always said here at Scranton Page Turner, my reason for writing this blog is to do my best to introduce my readers to new writers, writers you may not be aware of because for whatever reason you haven’t been exposed to them.  My intention is not to steer you wrong.  The books I suggest may not always fit in everyone’s perspective, however that shouldn’t scare you away from trying a new author.  How do you know you don’t like something if you’ve never attempted to read it?

 

My biggest concern, the thing I get most anxious about and it is only because I read EVERYTHING is when someone tells me they don’t read that, whatever THAT may be.  How can you expect to be a well rounded person if you don’t at least try to read something you don’t normally read?  You may discover you ACTUALLY like a new genre.

 

Jonathan Carroll has a plethora of books to choose from and I’ve read many of them.  With his latest book, Bathing the Lion Chaos returns a pseudo character that first graced the pages of his books with White Apples and its sequel Glass Soup.

 

I started with White Apples when I worked at RJ Julia Booksellers.  I was given an advanced reader copy of White Apples and I read the book in a week.  As with all of Mr Carroll’s books by 45 pages in I understood that I was in the hands of a master storyteller and I wanted to keep reading the book but I became afraid that I was reading too fast.  In other words I didn’t want the book to end.  And when I FINALLY did finish.  I wanted to read it again for the first time.  As it has been with all of his books.

 

White Apples and Glass Soup tells the story of Vincent Ettrich and his significant other Isabelle.  Vincent has died, but Isabelle brings him back from death because he needs to teach their unborn child what he’s learned in death because it will help their child defeat Chaos.

 

There are so many amazing passages in White Apples and Glass Soup.  One in particular in Glass Soup is discussed at one of my other blogs here:
Life is Controlled Chaos  Start reading from:
“This is how it began.

 

I think another reason I connect so well with Mr Carroll is that he seems to be on the same page with me when it comes to our worldview.  In his latest, Bathing the Lion he writes:

Burnt sienna:
The colors of the greatest love humans can feel for each other. It comes only when all others have burned off or faded away and what remains is a hundred percent pure. Like the color of the earth in direct sun  on a late fall afternoon. It’s the color of the truest human passion.

Bathing the Lion
Page 217

 

And again:

Dogs know what comes after death. It was not bad. THIS is the primary reason why most dogs are so merry and resilient:

Death is no more frightening than traveling to a distant land where the landscape is lushly tropical or glacially polar or simply unlike anyplace you’ve ever been.  Just the smells alone…

Bathing the Lion
Page
222

 

Death and Dying is a topic I feel strongly about and the above passage is my entire belief.  There’s more.  The Burnt Sienna passage above is also another strong belief.  As is the column Life is Controlled Chaos.

 

Carroll has written other books as well and each one holds something special.  You simply MUST read him to see what type of writer he is.  Don’t miss this guy.  Don’t let him pass you by because you’re afraid to try something new.  I implore you to pick up one of his books.  I’m guessing some of you will come back to me and say the same thing I say:
I want to read him so badly but I don’t want the book to end and when I’ve finally reached the last page I wish I could read his books again for the first time.

The Ghost in Love, Carroll’s previous book turned out better than Glass Soup as Glass Soup turned out better than White Apples.  The Ghost in Love, about a man who goes out in the middle of winter to walk his dog, he falls and cracks his head.  The man was scheduled to die with that fall but doesn’t.  Why?  You’ll have to read the book to discover the answer.

 

Until next time…
Turn the page.

Chris