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saturday, july 31, 2010

Great Companion Reads: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers and Jolt: a rural noir by Roberta M Roy
In Zeitoun the place is New Orleans; in Jolt: a rural noir, it's Locklee, a small mountain village in an imaginary part of the United States in time-forward. There, Locklee's response to looting by forced emigres provides an interesting comparison with that which Eggers documents as having occurred in New Orleans after Katrina.

Both Zeitoun and Jolt: a rural noir are love stories. In the one, Zeitoun and his beloved wife, Kathy, struggle in the aftermath of Katrina in their efforts to salvage their own and their children's well-being in a post Katrina world in New Orleans. Zeitoun is a house painter; Kathy, his passionate supporter and business helpmate. 

In Jolt: a rural noir, Thaw, a struggling artist-painter and Natalie, a city planner, negotiate the differences between her cosmopolitan and his North Country approaches to life in the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown that melds their lives as they seek to harbor fleeing relatives and Newees in a small mountainous village in an imaginary part of the American North.

Both Jolt and Zeitoun discuss a community's response to mass emergencies, the one to flooding, the other to mass emigration. Great companion reads for motivated book discussion group members.
RMR in Po-Town
9:20 am edt          Comments

sunday, july 25, 2010

Jolt: a rural noir Now Listed on Amazon.com
Jolt: a rural noir is now available for purchase on Amazon.com as well as Alva Press, Inc.
6:09 pm edt          Comments

saturday, july 24, 2010

Alva Press Publications Progress Update
Life is good at Alva Press.

Jolt: a rural noir
 has been on the market for six months. To date it has had only positive reviews. Ones like that by autobiographer Joan Sheldon, author of Someone to Remember:

Wow, I finished your book "Jolt" and the nice surprise was that I got two books in one. A romance novel.... "What does he have to do to get the girl?" and a reality check on what one should know about surviving in a disaster, and so well done that there is no need to think, from the title, that it is too scary to read.... Readers of both genres can enjoy this book.'

And Kristen Henderson's heart-rendingly beautiful book of poems, Drum Machine, is ever nearer publication. Waiting now only the LCCN which should arrive by August 15. Also expected in August are two reviews Alva will probably quote from on Drum Machine's cover.

As it turns out, Alva's not the only one who appreciates Kristen's poetry content and writing style. So too do Kate Johnson and Edwin Webbley. Kate Johnson is Chair of the Department of Poetry at Sarah Lawrence. Kristen was one of her prize students. As for Ed Webbley, he's a poet and educator who has sometimes served as a member of the faculty at the world renowned Breadloaf School of English in Middlebury, VT. Very exciting!

9:56 am edt          Comments

friday, july 9, 2010

The Human Stain by Philip Roth

How'd he do it, Philip Roth? Where'd he get the mental space and wherewithal to create the likes of Lester Farley, Coleman Silk, Faunia Farley, and Delphine Roux? Primus maybe--bright, motivated young lawyer of integrity, bone between the teeth, insensitive to the subtleties of the intricacies of the human mind. But to put Lester Farley, Colman Silky Silk, Faunia Farley, and Dephine Roux not only in the same book, but frequently on the same page takes a giant of a thinker. Even difficult to imagine the intensity of concentration he must have used.

What Roth refers to as the human stain is, for better or worse, the imprint we leave on those with whom we interact. The more involved the interaction, the larger the mark. Indelible, unending, it is, with roots giving off to roots so fine they become but invisible hairs intertwined far from the source to be lost in our every breath and act. Not a book for the weary or superficial or the sensitive soul that flinches at the thought of unending pain and discomfort. But a great book.

Now I picked up the Stain a long time back. In the heavy days of winter. I tried it. But a bit into it I bumped into Lester Farley, returning Viet Nam veteran. My empathy for his pain, my revulsion for his extreme thinking and language caused me to put down the book. I knew I would one day read it. But not that day. Not that winter. 

When winter passed and summer came and as is often the case, one lazy weekend I was stuck with reading the only books in the house I had not finished. Stain was the second of them. The first I read through yawns and reader's boredom. A book by a best selling author, it was. Had sold a million copies. So I read it. There'd be gold in there somewhere. I knew.

I finished the first book to convince myself that the ennui it caused would be worth it. Not so. The book held few redeeming characteristics: too predictable a plot, less than credible characters, poorly edited and long. Much too long. So when my week long escape to my getaway house in Port Henry came 'round, I was ready. I would read The Human Stain.

Today in Port Henry I will pick up my reading where I left off last night. Page 259. Got this far. 'Twern't easy. But worth it. 

But  how'd he do it. Not Lester or Coleman. No. Roth. How could he fathom within the pages of one book the horror of PTS syndrome, childhood sexual abuse, the supercilious use of knowledge, the pain of passing for other than one is, the endless effects of hurt and war and prejudice and love? And yet he did.

Rocky reading but worth the ride if one is up to it: The Human Stain by Philip Roth, 2000.

RMR in PH, NY, on the shores of Lake Champlain


8:14 am edt          Comments

sunday, july 4, 2010

Where's Alva Now?
Thanks for dropping by the Alva Press, Inc. web site. We like to think your being here is proof that Alva's chuggin' along. Well, kinda. It's just that we have nothing against which to measure her progress so we have to guesstimate and settle for giving you a report on her activity.

Web Site Development: Since January, over a thousand unique visitors have checked into Alva Press an average of twice each. Of course, among them there are both the regulars and the once-viewed-never-againers. What it all means is difficult to assess, as rarely does anyone take it upon themselves to comment below a log entry. Still, every so often we bump into someone who follows the blogs on a weekly basis. 

Some readers have even figured out that from the Alva Press Home Page there are links to all three blogs. For the Author Publisher's blog there is a tab on the upper left. For the 'Roberta M Roy' and the 'Roberta M Roy on Nuclear Survival' blogs there are links embedded a bit on down the right side of the page that when clicked on go directly to the site named. 

And for quick and easy access, one of our readers tells us she has Alva Press, Inc., listed under her Favorites.

Poetry:The publication of Kristen Henderson's book of poems, Drum Machine is imminent. Her work is marvelous for its breadth, cadence, imagery, and passion. We are just waiting for the Copyright, ISBN, and price bar code.  Soon you should be able to read a review of Drum Machine and order a copy through this website.

Books in Circulation: As for Jolt: a rural noir, marketing is the easy part; it's the publicity that's the challenge. So Alva is working with Smith Publications in New Jersey where Corinne
Liccketto will review the book and work up a direction for a publicity campaign for Roberta M Roy, Jolt's author. And if we can scratch up the money for the effort, we will probably go with it. 

Sounds confusing, doesn't it? Why a campaign for the author? Problem is that if people are not interested in what the author has to say, they certainly are not going to be interested in reading the author's book. So we're planning to publicize Roy who will talk about herself and her book Jolt.

Publicity: Recently at Alva we read a most persuasive letter by Dan Smith of Smith publications. You can read it in the July 2010 Smith Publications newsletter. We read it and loved it so Roy wrote back with these thoughts:

"Delightfully, I felt that Dan Smith's article had been addressed to me. Why? Well, in my own way I am expert . . . on surviving and quelling personal fear . . . on educating others . . . on changing attitudes . . . on getting people to talk about the things they'd rather not think about but should.  That's why I wrote Jolt.

"Even being a speech language pathologist gives me a basis in knowledge shared by a only a relatively small handful of society. And only because my discipline bridges art and science could I ever have written Jolt. And only because I am a mother, sister, married-but-now-divorced-woman, and licensed professional could I ever have had the wherewithal to have wanted, dreamed up, researched, and written Jolt.

"But also I wanted a stage. My life has been jam packed with living and I'd like to share some of the wisdom and experience I've gained in changing direction and new starts . . . closing doors and opening windows.

"Does any of the above make sense? Or ring true?"

Hope to see meet you soon at a book signing or speaking engagement.

RMR in Po-Town
8:02 pm edt          Comments

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