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Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Writer's Life 5/4 - 50% Off

Karen Salmansohn left the advertising world to concentrate on being a writer. She has had more than two dozen self-help books published, and also contributes columns to web and print publications. She hosts a radio show, Be Happy, Dammit, which is the title of one of her books. Another is: How to Succeed in Business without a Penis. Her first book, issued in 1993, was a novel, 50% Off. I just finished it. It has garnered only one customer review at Amazon, so I assume it was not successful commercially. The last line on the book jacket states: "... is her first of many novels." She must have reconsidered after its disappointing showing. Since then she has written only one other novel, at least that I was able to track down: Girl Wonders, geared to children eight to twelve. Her non-fiction has sold more than a million copies. While 50% Off is only so-so, it is by no means anything of which to be ashamed. It is the story of a 29-year-old woman working as a successful advertising copywriter. Her longing for love is the basis of the narrative. The heroine is more like a love struck high schooler than a mature female. The tone is light despite the frustrations. The writing is lively and amusing, the prose and dialogue first-rate. Here are examples: "A friend is someone who stabs you in the front." "... And we girls love our dolls, purely, unselfishly, knowing these inanimate dolls cannot return the emotion. In a way we're being trained for unrequited love." "Once you go goy, your mother never has joy." The best scene occurs as the heroine and her best friends are seated in a restaurant and a group of three females at a table nearby eavesdrops and eventually joins them in conversation about their frustrations with men. Each chapter begins with an ad logo and slogan, side by side with a quote from the classics or music. Although the novel is only 265 pages, the protagonist's quest becomes tedious, but it does conclude with a neat twist I did not see coming. The action takes place in the '90's. Although it cannot be labeled erotica, it is frank sexually. It is best classified as chick-lit. Anyone offended by the way society, especially women, has evolved should pass. The lone review at Amazon rates it four stars on a scale of five. I say 2.75. As I was researching Salmansohn's other works, I was amused that they seem to reflect the views of one of the character's friends, and not the heroine, who I assume the author based on herself.

The health care bill has cleared its first hurdle. I'm encouraged by what I just heard in a discussion on Sean Hannity's radio show. I'm glad the congressman came to their senses and included a clause allowing people to shop for coverage across state lines. I'm also intrigued by a health cooperative being run in Wichita, whose costs are amazingly low. I hope it's not a case of too good to be true.

It's 50% off all the time at the floating book shop. It looked like I would reduce my inventory considerably today, but donations late in the session grew the beast to almost the same size at which it began the day. My thanks to Amalia, who left three books by Sister Angelica, and to Alexander E. Poet, who brought a box filled with self help CD's and DVD's, and to all the kind folks who made purchases, especially the young nurse from Coney Island Hospital, who bought Close to the Edge. The sale that was the most fun went to a woman who asked if I had anything on dreams. I showed her a large tome dubbed The Nightmare Encyclopedia by Jeff Belanger, and she bit. Sleep tight, my dear.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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