Author Archives: chuckredman

Almost 500 pages but worth it

The Bailiff’s wife looked at him as if half expecting that he was about to ask her for something, whereupon the soul within her receded like a star, far out into the frozen wastes of infinity, and only the cold smile remained on earth.

Halldór Kiljan Laxness 1955.jpg

Independent People, by Halldor Laxness (Nobel Prize winner, 1955), is one of the foremost sagas of rural family life. It is the life and times of Bjartur, an Icelandic peasant who becomes a landowner and a human metaphor for mankind’s struggle against nature, hunger, and human evolution itself. Written and translated with such poetic realism, the book makes its reader feel like an honorary Icelander—and not a city-dweller but a citizen of the endless, inhospitable moors.

Interview last night on “The Writer’s Block”

It was an honor to have a chance to be interviewed last night on LA Talk Radio’s show “The Writer’s Block”.

Host Jim Christina and co-host Russ Avison kept me laughing and talking about my book “A Cottonwood Stand”. Here is the link to the podcast. Thanks!

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.latalkradio.com%2Fcontent%2Fwriter-022819%2520%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1IJzmgMA44tVQQfSzWm269y1YFvQ-Wd_tOyvtZ8l7OYAU_Rb6QKbvwEGU%23audio_play&h=AT1v5rmY083kFhFH7AJm3btS5t9jkDOT6mofNj1zwlvX7pr6VI1Ot6mFyKH6oznavl-x-d5rQJw9GZczqNeATnGzRHroPU03DiPOtecf5gYIh1lub_bJ3e5K8yfz5tPJOgE

Sisterhood

Two fine feminist novels from two of the Bronte sisters. Both novels extraordinarily ahead of their time and written with that Bronte elegance of prose that is practically unmatched. And both novels relatively unknown, or at least unappreciated. And my reading both of them within a six month window (and usually within six feet of a window) was unplanned and unexpected. But I am quite unsorry.

Shirley was the novel that Charlotte Bronte (I don’t have those two little dots) published next after Jane Eyre. Naturally Shirley was a bit overshadowed by her older “sister”. And she was a less romantic novel, and less cohesive and way less compelling. Well, Charlotte had just lost a brother and two sisters to illness, which should account for some shortcomings in her written work product. But Shirley was, I think, a more feminist novel than Jane, which is saying something. Shirley, the title character, was a strong-willed independent and outspoken woman. Caroline was her friend, and Caroline was quiet and cautious. But not a pushover. They shared a romantic interest, Robert. Guess which one won. I’m not telling. You have to read the book. That’s not a heavy burden, it’s a beautiful novel, with plenty of themes besides feminism: friendship, love, political and economic struggle, human decency. It deserves to have the Bronte name on it.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was one of Anne Bronte’s novels (Anne was the youngest sister), and the title character could possibly be called the Mother of Modern Feminism. I don’t have the historical facts to back that up, that’s just my gut feeling about how amazing this book was for its time. The reason I got the book from the library is that my sister and brother-in-law loaned us a DVD of the movie and I wanted to read the book first. We haven’t watched the movie yet. Maybe Thursday. Anyway, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall should have made Anne just as famous as her sisters, but it didn’t. It has romance, but that’s not the main thrust of it. It’s really a social and psychological study of three characters, this time two men and one woman. The romance isn’t triangle shaped, it’s a line. Helen, the woman in the middle, is the Tenant. And, though she doesn’t know it, for my money she’s a heroic feminist of the first order. The reason she doesn’t know it is that she’s too busy dealing with the Victorian male chauvinist system and a husband whose character was inspired by the dissolute life and death of Branwell Bronte, Charlotte and Anne’s only brother.

I haven’t mentioned Emily. I read her book in college. Even though this little essay doesn’t give equal time to her book, I don’t think we have to feel too sad about where she stands in the halls of literature. She’s right up there with her sisters.

I Slept In Hitler’s Bed by Jay Balter

Excellent review. . . Sounds like an excellent book.

Misanthropester

rs=h_500,cg_true,m.jpg

I Slept in Hitler’s Bed 
Jay Balter 
Mandorla Books, 2018

♦♦♦♦
4 Stars

I Slept in Hitler’s Bedis a glimpse into the personal history of Jay Balter and part of a larger memoir to be titled Memoirs of a Middle Class Man. It is not so much inspirational (although it certainly has that element) as aspirational, a tale told to provoke readers especially young men and teens into seeing there is an alternative to violence. Balter is writing a book of conscience, exploring how and why he made the decisions he did as he lived through some of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century.

While this may sound rather rote for autobiographical works, Balter has put together a stunning first installment. With an amazing knack for zeroing in on the events that most charged his life, Balter is able to transmit to readers not so much the…

View original post 614 more words

Tess of the d’Urbervilles would understand

I’m an evolved human. I don’t like to acknowledge it. But I need milk to feel good. For protein and calcium milk is the best. Not from factory farms but from contented cows. From Flossie and Bossie down in the dell with cowbells on, who are milked, by gentle milkmaids, only when they need it. And who live a better overall life than I do. That’s the kind of milk I want.

Where can I find it?

Health and Wellness

It’s obvious to me that the only natural way to get whiter teeth is through diet and nutrition. Therefore, I am going on an all-white diet. I will only eat white foods: yogurt, white bread, white potatoes, cauliflower, egg whites, mozzarella, hominy grits, white chocolate, and jicama. 

I made a delicious white rice, white bean, and cottage cheese casserole. I expect to see visible improvement up to three shades whiter in just 7 days. Or my money back. . . . Just kidding. 7 days is an arbitrary number. Make it 10.

Could it have been San Tropez? Or maybe the 99 cent store on 10th Street.

Lately this odd thing has been happening: people look familiar to me in many places that I go. Not everywhere and not every face. But even in places I have never been before, seeing people I know have never crossed my path, I seem to instinctively recognize certain faces from some prior place and time, yet without a clue as to where or when.

The Face Is Familiar - title.jpg

Is this because (a) my brain is going, (b) my eyesight is going, or (c) I’ve lived so long that I really have seen all these faces (or near-lookalikes) somewhere before?

I’m kind of hoping it’s (c). (a) and (b) are the types of things that make you want to stop going places. I like going places.