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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Writer's Life 11/13 - Devices

Here are snippets from today's NY Post: Kyle Smith: "After eight years of President Spock telling Americans it is not logical to get too upset about little matters like jihadist mass murder,..." Amy Schumer, who earned $17 million last year, said she would move to London if Trump won. According to Maureen Callahan, the comedian has posted that anyone who expects her to leave the USA "is just as disgusting as anyone who voted" for Trump... NYC foreclosures are up 37% from 2015. Given the prices I've seen listed, I'm surprised it's not higher... According to an article by Dana Schuster on unusual treatments sought by celebrities, Jamie Foxx and Karolina Kurkova see a chiropractor who uses a machine to improve spine alignment. It is estimated that there are only 200 of the devices in the US. “It’s definitely people in the know who see me,” said the doctor. The machine sends a vibration just under the ear, “shifting the head under the first bone [of the spine]... Once you get that into position, the rest of the spine aligns.” Maybe Ira Gershwin was on to something when he wrote these lyrics: "...They all laughed at Christopher Columbus/ When he said the world was round/ They all laughed when Edison recorded sound/ They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother/ When they said that man could fly/ They told Marconi/ Wireless was a phony/ It's the same old cry..." Or maybe these doctors just know a cash cow when they see one. Time will tell.

Rebecca Stead grew up and still lives in NYC. She has written four books geared toward children. I just finished the second, When You Reach Me. The setting is upper Manhattan near Amsterdam Avenue, 1978. The narrative is from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl. It consists largely of snippets of her life. The voice is authentic, which is the novel's greatest strength. The kid is eminently likable, as are her friends, and even her rivals. There's more to the story. Her mom is prepping for an appearance on the $20,000 Pyramid, and a loner schoolmate believes he can travel through time. In the Acknowledgments, the author cites Madeleine L'Engle a a big influence. The main character frequently references L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. I guess I've seen too much of this theme lately. I struggled to stay interested in that aspect. Otherwise, the pace is swift, the chapters short, the 197 pages reading like considerably less. 773 readers at Amazon have rated When You Reach Me, forging to an impressive consensus of 4.6 of five. That's much higher than I would go. I wonder how many of those who took the time to express their thoughts are children. Published in 2008, it was a NY Times best seller and winner of two awards. At last check, the paperback version was ranked #2864 overall at Amazon, where there are at least 13 million books listed. That's impressive, especially given that the work has been in circulation eight years. Well done, madam.

The floating book shop had only one customer today in Park Slope, but he was a good one. My thanks to the gentleman who bought six works of non-fiction, mostly in the self-help category.
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