Change of Seasons by John Oates – Needs Some Flavor

Change of Seasons by John Oates – Needs Some Flavor

I’m reading John Oates’ book, “Change of Seasons” right now. I was looking forward to reading it and was happy when I was the first person on the hold list for it at the library. I’ve since learned that I was the only person on the hold list. Guess Brooklynites aren’t into John Oates.

At the stroke of midnight on March 28 I downloaded the book and then dug into it. So far I’m not sure about what I think. Maybe John’s early life was too normal to be real interesting. His grandmother took care of him, he loved music, race cars, and wrestling. He went to Coney Island a lot to record Italian songs that his grandma taught him. That got my interest up since I live and have always lived within walking distance of Coney Island. Maybe I saw him there when I was a kid. Nah, I doubt it. What I’m trying to say is that so far this memoir is too bland for me.

Would any of you want to read stories about my life growing up? Well, actually some of you have already. The difference is I can kind of write. Wait, wait, wait, John can write too. He’s in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, or whatever it’s called, but there’s a difference in writing songs and writing a story. I can’t write a song to save my life and it kind of looks like John can’t write a story to save his life so he wrote his memoir with the help of Chris Epting. Chris is a writer but even with his help so far the book is lacking flavor, spice, entertainment, or something. John, if you’re reading this, and why should you be, I’m sorry.

I know this is not a book about him and his good buddy Daryl Hall. It’s John’s memoir and I do like John a lot. My North Carolina “sista” calls him “the other one.”  I guess she isn’t much of a John Oates fan along with Brooklyn. Maybe the book would be more inviting if John wrote about the Daryl Hall and John Oates story stressing John’s point of view of course.

So far, “Change of Seasons” is a little slow going which is why I haven’t finished it yet and am reading three other books along with it. The pace is dragging.

But Oates has included some nice pictures. I especially like the one with his parents.

I will finish this book and will post full review of it. Maybe it will perk up later on.

In the meantime, here’s a good video interview with John and Salon.com about “Change of Seasons” for your listening pleasure.

Oh, and if you want to borrow the book (e-book) from the Brooklyn Public Library they only have one copy and I still have it. But the good news is that the hold list is still empty so you’ll get it when I return the book.

What does Brooklyn have against John Oates anyway?

change of seasons

 

The Haunted Library

The Haunted Library

The library is haunted. Why is that such a shock? We all know it, we even talk about it in whispers. It’s never been a secret. But what’s really interesting is that 60 plus years ago the library was located about three blocks away from where it is now and it was haunted then too. When the library was moved to this new location the ghosts came along with it. The spirits followed the books and silently watched as different librarians took control.

The library watched as patrons entered the new building and the rules and regulations became lax. Sixty years ago you weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper and even then the stern librarian would glare at you. Now talking is allowed, beverages are allowed, ringing phones are allowed, screaming kids are allowed. No more are patrons shushed for uttering the lowest of sounds, anything goes at the library in this new age of technology. An age that the library spirits never imagined.

The library doesn’t like this change. It doesn’t like that the silent respect for it is gone. It isn’t happy so it allows its ghosts and spirits to haunt the new building especially after closing time. And sometimes a very sensitive person, like myself, can hear the library whisper to itself about the changes telling the wandering angry library spirits to be prepared for when the library closes for the day. Because when the last librarian leaves for the day it’s time for the ghosts to take control.

The library was closed for over a year. “Restorations,” the city said. “It will be better when it reopens,” the city said and when it reopened, over a year later, there was no difference. The chairs were the same and the tables were the same, but the setup was a little different, and there were less books. The library was not happy.

Everyone was welcome to the library grand opening. The crowd sat and lightly applauded as councilmen gave speeches and apologized for the six-month delay of the opening.  “New heating system, new cooling system, more computers,” they bragged. All of that might be true but the real reason the library was closed was because the city knew about the ghosts living there and these spirits had to be exorcised. The ghosts knew too much and they were getting much louder than they were in the previous century. Pretty soon non-spirits would be able to hear the complaints.

The library is still haunted. I’ve been there at least ten times since it’s reopening and the ghosts are still haunting the shelves. I saw my friend Janet there today. But not the 65 year old Janet, who might or not still be alive. She was very sick the last time we spoke seven years ago. Instead of the older Janet I saw the five year old Janet, the one who was wearing her school dress with patent leather shoes and her little white socks. The Janet who ran around the card catalogs at the old library, the one who was interested in the Dewey Decimal System by the time she was ten years old.

Five year old Janet spotted me, smiled and ran over and took my hand. “Where have you been, Sharon? We’ve been waiting for you to come.” “Who’s been waiting for me?” I asked. “All of us.” Janet said indicating a corner of the room which on first glance appeared empty but then I saw them. I saw some other patrons from 1960, people who I haven’t seen in decades.

I also saw Madeline who lived in all the Madeline books I read as a kid; and there was the Phantom Tollbooth with Milo and Tock standing guard; I saw the three children from “Half Magic” and remembered how one of them, while sleeping, wished that his dead father would come back. I remember how I felt when I read that part as a child thinking that I would wish that too if my dad died. I have wished that many times as an adult. I saw the little child knight I read about in a book who had the mumps and his cheeks became so swollen that he couldn’t get his head gear off.

I saw Stephen King’s clown laughing in the back showing his sharpened teeth holding his dangerous colorful balloons. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight were there talking with some other knightly characters. And trying to take control of the situation was a librarian from 60 years ago who was hushing everyone.

My mother was there too looking up from her book to smile at me. I’m pretty sure my sister and father were there too along with some of my cousins and long gone friends.

“See, Sharon, we’re all here. Your friends, family, and characters you’ve loved to read about. Stay with us Sharon, we’ve been waiting for you.” It was tempting, I wanted to stay but I turned to Janet and told her that I had to get home. It was 5:55 PM and the guard was making the announcement that the library would be closing in five minutes and to proceed to the checkout machine to borrow books. Janet looked up at me  and said, “Check out machine. The librarians used to check out our books. You remember when they did that and now you have to do it yourself.” Yes, I remembered.

“Please proceed to the machine to borrow your items, shut off your computers, and please log off all devices you have connected to our WiFi” the guard stated.

“WiFi, computers, devices, do you really like this better? Wouldn’t you rather stay with us here in 1960?” Janet asked. “No. No, not really. I do prefer 1960 but my cousin is coming by tomorrow and I promised him I’d be home. I can’t stay today but I’ll come back for a visit on Saturday. But one day I will stay here with you in 1960. We will play again, Janet, and maybe all our other childhood friends will be around too. Then we all can talk with the book characters and be happy all together again. But I can’t stay now, maybe in ten years, maybe in 15 years maybe within a year, I don’t know but when the time comes I will stay here and haunt the library with all of you.”

Janet dropped my hand and gave me a small wave as did the little knight and the clown, “It.” “I’ll be back to visit day after tomorrow” I sadly said because, the truth is, I would like to stay with them and see my old childhood friends, and maybe seek out Robert Frost and Herman Melville and other authors. They have secrets to tell me, dangerous secrets that the city tried to silence by the having the new “renovations.”

It would be nice to stay but that won’t be for a little while. Until then I will visit my old friends, books and people, at least three times a week.

Yes, the library is haunted and everyone knows it. The renovations didn’t get rid of the spirits living there. They will always be there, forever, and one day so will I.

To see more of my childhood memories go to  S.A.K. Remembers on my blog.

lib outside

lib inside 3

 

 

Green River Blend by Armand Rosamilia

Green River Blend by Armand Rosamilia

I don’t know about this book. The concept really had me. A small town in Florida, not much going on, and everyone knows everyone else. Small town life. Then a new coffee shop opens up on Main Street and the residents can’t get enough of the shop’s Green River Blend coffee. Soon not only are the residents are hooked on this coffee but tourists are too. People wait on line for hours just to get their coffee, multiple cups, and they wait on the line for hours, multiple times a day, just to get this new blend. It comes to a point that nothing else is sold in the coffee shop; no food, no other coffee blend, no other drinks, nothing just the Green River Blend coffee.

The coffee is almost magical. If you want to be a writer you’re suddenly able to write novels, short stories, novellas, all within a short time. Heck, just put your hands on the computer’s keyboard, close your eyes and before you know it a few hours have passed and you’ve typed half a novel.

If you like to drink alcohol but don’t like that nasty hangover the next day Green River Blend helps you drink all the beer you want without the pesky after effects.

Maybe you’re kind of lonely, shy, and frumpy and want to do a little something something to enhance your looks. Well, the coffee will make you brave enough to do just that and lots more.

Sounds like some good coffee, eh? But there’s a downside. There’s always a downside.

Dead bodies are showing up. Residents are being killed, tourists are being murdered. I don’t mean one or two bodies, let’s start with 33 bodies buried in 33 shallow graves. Is there a serial murderer around? Are there several serial murderers around? Maybe, just maybe, Green River Blend coffee is not just addicting as a coffee but maybe, possibly, the coffee is also making people addicted to the new powers the coffee gives them.

If you want to drink without getting drunk you now drink all the time. If you want to write a novel now all you do is write and think of nothing else. And if somewhere deep inside you makes you want to kill, well, the coffee helps you achieve that dream too. Heck, even if you aren’t a closet murderer drinking enough of this coffee brings out quite the killer instinct in everyone.

I liked the premise of “Green River Blend.” I was hooked until the prude old lady in me came out when lots of sex appeared in the story. Okay, I get it, sometimes you need some sex for whatever reason but for me it takes away from the story line. Armand, wasn’t there another way to bring your point across? Three-ways, trips to the bathroom for some “sexual relief”, sex between sisters (stepsisters), strangers, and other ways that I just didn’t want to read about. Yes, I tried to skip these areas but it was happening pretty frequently.

And the violence level was bit too much for me too. I’m pretty careful with the authors I read. For instance, I enjoy a good Dean Koontz book but not when he writes about sewing the eyelids shut of some recently murdered woman who was arranged in a strange position after she was killed.

I like horror books. A good zombie novel always appeals to me. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good dystopian book but if too much sex and other gratuitous things happen, it kind of leaves me cold.

On the whole, I kind of liked “Green River Blend” even though some of it was not my cup of tea, or cup of coffee for that matter. I think there’s a “Green River Blend 2” but I don’t know if I’ll read it but I do want to explore more of author Armand Rosamilia works. I read that he wrote about zombies. I’ll check on those novels.

If you don’t care much for violence or you’re as much as a prude as I am, and I admit to it, maybe I’d suggest you not read this book. But if you’re okay with sex and violence ”Green River Blend” is a good horror tale.

New Free Ezine For Authors and Book Lovers From Sleuth Cafe

New Free Ezine For Authors and Book Lovers From Sleuth Cafe

Sleuth Cafe just published it first online magazine. It will come out monthly and you can subscribe to it for free.

The magazine is filled with cozy book reviews, author interviews, recipes, giveaways, and a lot more. The August edition has 27 pages and I’m proud to be part of it since I review books for the site.

Take a look at it and subscribe so you won’t miss out on the next issue. It’s free and perfect for all book lovers.

Download Sleuth Cafe’s August 2016 issue and enjoy it.