Reflection: The Paul Mann Story is the story of an elderly man retelling his life to his grandson through his journals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
I worked in a nursing home at the time I started to write this book. Seeing all the residents, seeing how their lives were going, made me understand how precious life and family is. This gave me the idea to come up with an elderly resident who would tell his story.
Paul lives an interesting life with twists I didn’t see coming. Was his story planned or did it develop organically while writing?
A few of his life moments were planned but most developed organically as I wrote through the story.
Throughout the story I felt that family and love was important. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Yes, I wanted to show that in the midst of life, good and bad, at the end of the day we all need our family.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am currently writing a time-traveling story that will involve a real event in history. There is no release plan yet.
When you’re old, tired, and alone, will you reflect on your life?
Well, one-hundred-and-four-year-old Paul Mann is. After not seeing his grandson, Marlin, for nearly five years, he reads to him from his journals. Paul relives his best moments with his late wife, Janet. He also relives the horrors he saw in the second world war, and from his crazy, murderer of a step-father.
Will you let Paul Mann read to you?
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Reflection: The Paul Mann Story by Titan Frey is an amazing work of fiction interweaving alternative history within it. Paul Mann is 104-years-old and in a nursing home. Every day he writes in his journal about his life and has a sack of journals that tells the story of his lifetime. He is reunited with his son and grandson in this book, where Paul tells his story through his journals. An intimate family relationship is born between grandson and grandfather where we see the hectic, heartbreaking, and even heartwarming life Paul Mann has led while also following his current adventures.
I love this book. It was intriguing and hard to put down. At first, I did not like many of the characters, but then I saw, as their story developed, that they were shaped by their pasts. The main characters are well-developed in that sense, and we get to know these characters as if they were complex, real-life people. It truly felt as if I was witnessing these events pass and getting to know them. I would have liked to understand the side characters motivations more, though, as they did seem cruel without real reason. Though sometimes, that is the harshness of the world, and this book’s theme seems to be how callous and brutal the world can be, but that love is still important.
The main aspect of this book was learning about Paul through the eyes of his past in the form of a journal, and it was done so well. I love how the journals truly seemed to be written by Paul Mann. It shows incredibly strong character development. I liked the idea of learning about someone through journals; it put me in the mindset of Marlin, the grandson, where I felt like Paul was my grandfather and I got to connect with him in that way. Frey does a marvelous at humanizing her character and allowing you to grow attached to them.
This book is an emotional roller-coaster with lots of twists and turns. Terrible things happen, but you get to see the love Paul has for his family, and that beauty shines through. The portrayal of the nursing home struck a chord with me and made it relatable; at least to me. It made me feel for the residents, especially Paul. In a way, this book made me feel more connected with my own grandmother.
I highly recommend this book. It puts you in the head of an older person by relaying their life experiences. It also shows how sometimes you do not really know a person or how they came to be who they are until you take the time to listen, or read in this case. The book also illustrates the importance of life and spending time with loved ones. In addition to valuable lessons, the book is also intriguing, thrilling, and mysterious. Marlin and his grandson truly have a special bond.
Pages: 186 | ASIN: B07MTSFWJG
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When the newspaperman shows up on the corner, looking every bit the part of a newsboy straight out of the 1930’s, Seth is intrigued. When the news in the papers he offers readers begins to take a turn for the bizarre, the grotesque, and the highly-sensationalized, his feelings are steeped more in disgust. Seth and his friends question, not only the newspaperman’s motives, but those of his employer. Seth’s world turns upside down following a visit from the newspaper’s owner, and he and his wife, Meghan, find themselves facing the offer of a lifetime only to see that their joy is short-lived.
I don’t often say this, but it’s incredibly difficult to refrain from busting out in a string of “awesomes” and “fantastics” to describe my utter fascination with The Newspaperman by Sal Nudo. I will try to contain my glee and use phrasing that is more in line with a standard review and less like a school girl gushing over a crush, but The Newspaperman is freaking awesome, folks!
I am not sure what I expected going into the first paragraph, but I do know that Sal Nudo grabbed me, dipped me in a splendid little mixture of visuals, and sat me down in the most fascinating story line I have come across in a long time. His description of the main character, Seth’s, initial encounter with the newspaperman is simply brilliant. Nudo sets up for readers a scenario that will keep them guessing as to, not only the intentions of the highly suspect character, but to the genre itself. By about the second chapter, I had convinced myself that Seth was the only person able to see the newspaperman and was experiencing some type of vision. Nudo, though, weaves such an intriguing tale of mystery that he is able to shift readers from believing they are settling into one genre while he gently places them safely within the arms of another.
The commentary on current events Nudo makes with The Newspaperman is spot-on. Without taking a politically-charged stance, Nudo gives readers something to chew on regarding the state of the U.S. and the fate of journalism as we know it. Again, I hesitate to use common and overused phrasing–but I absolutely loved Seth’s letter and the fervor with which he attacks the C-U Journal.
The Newspaperman is a quick read. By quick read I mean I was enthralled from the mention of Cedrick, the absurdly out of place yet perfectly fitting newsboy, and couldn’t put the book down. It was a read-in-one-sitting, literally-can’t-put-it-down page turner.
That ending, though! Here’s my appeal to Sal Nudo’s sensibilities. I must have resolution. I absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have to have closure. To say I am bitter about the way Nudo leaves things would be only a slight exaggeration. However, I am ecstatic at the mere notion of a sequel.
I am, with a ridiculous and overzealous amount of enthusiasm, giving The Newspaperman by Sal Nudo 5 out of 5 stars. There is truly nothing else being written right now that blends genres and makes reading about the current state of affairs in our world interesting while driving home the importance of protecting our journalists and the part they play in keeping us all safe and informed like The Newspaperman. I recommend this outstanding piece by Sal Nudo to fans of all genres–it’s simply a must-read.
Pages: 166 | ASIN: B078RGKZJF
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Caution to the Wind recounts your thrilling and sometimes perilous journey out on the ocean. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I kept a journal throughout the entire voyage and soon discovered that I had a real love for writing. My cruising life took me on an incredible journey, which strengthened my desire to share this adventure. My passion is to inspire those who are contemplating a similar voyage, and to encourage people to follow their dreams!
You had been through so much while sailing, both physically and emotionally, was there ever a moment that you were not prepared for and made you rethink things?
Being caught in a major storm with no ability to make contact with the outside world, was an intense experience. There was nothing that could have prepared us emotionally or mentally. What was crucial at the time was how to stay alive, in such extreme conditions. There were moments where I questioned my life and the decision that I made to make this voyage. What was paramount for me was the possibility of never seeing my family again. What really stuck in my mind is that if we didn’t survive, no one would know what had happened to us. We could disappear without a trace, consumed by the very ocean that I love.
Looking back on that time, what do you miss the most?
I miss the freedom and the simplicity of life, that cruising offers, which I found to be incredible. It is hard to replace the excitement of navigating to foreign shores, and the diversity of cultures and people, that I met along the way. I have strong memories of amazing sunsets & sunrises, brilliant starlit skies, and an interesting array of sea and bird life.
If you were to take another trip, without limitations, where would you go?
Without limitations, I would buy a yacht in Europe, to cruise around the Mediterranean without a time limit. Venture up through the beautiful canals of France once again, cross the English channel to explore the UK, and eventually head back to Australia. Which route, I am not sure at this point.
On May 5th, 1994, at 9.30 am on a chilly, sunlit day, Ebony, a 36ft Roberts Spray, left the safety of Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand, to venture into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable.
The voyage plan was to follow the famous trade wind route, sailing from New Zealand to England.
All too soon, they found themselves battling their way to Sydney, Australia. Caught in a ruthless storm with no contact with the outside world, they were truly alone. All the romantic notions of the ultimate cruising life disappeared into oblivion.
Step aboard Ebony and take an adventure, an epic 15-month voyage. Experience this day-to-day passionate tale, packed with intrigue, and at times suspense. Experience the delights of the lands visited and learn more about the world of international sailing. This was a life-changing adventure, with a dramatic, unexpected, ending.
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Cynthia Roggeman’s personal memoir details the events throughout her life. She goes into great detail about her relationships, family and health complications. She does this while offering snippets of advice and wisdom that she has learned along the way. The book is often upsetting and full of events – on a number of occasions it seems as everything is happening at once for our author. She shares her life’s journey with the intention of learning from the process of writing and to divulge the positive aspects that result from a lifetime of hardship.
The sections about her family, mainly her father and her Italian grandmother, Nonni, are bittersweet and filled with memories that she describes in the manner of a child – because at the time she did not understand what was going on. Her childhood was filled with both happy and sad memories and she does not seem to resent any of the negative aspects at all. In her family circle, she experiences alcoholism and mental illness – which she regards as a choice.
Throughout her life, she has various serious health issues and is in the hospital a number of times. She suffers quite badly and even has to learn to self-medicate – something which carries a great responsibility, even if it is towards yourself. However, she does not let these problems set her back and each time she recovers and returns to work and normal life – this is not a woman who gives up easily.
The book is separated into short chapters, each beginning with a date. This makes it easier to place the events in the author’s life as they are not in chronological order. At times it can be difficult to remember at what age things occurred for her but she has ordered it according to her own time frame and reference of events – how she feels events in her past relate to each other. This is reflective of a realistic memory because often things do not go through our minds in order and jump around randomly.
She has written the book for it to be a therapeutic process, it seems to be a place for her grief, hope, and wisdom. She has learned to be imaginative and to really remember her past self. She has also learned to be grateful for the things she has, as well as the things she had. She writes that she has had to mourn her losses and accept them, as well as remember the fond memories.
Cynthia’s novel is a work of remembrance, which will make any reader reflect on their own lives and take heed of her writing. The deeply personal writing is both engaging and emotional, however sometimes it can be hard to keep track of the order things that happened. She urges us to be grateful, flexible and open to new things and changes and to be powerful – just like the blue dragonfly.
Pages: 100 | ASIN: B07DNDWFKN
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Florence Grende’s parents survived the Holocaust and managed to settle in New York City to provide a new life for their children. The horrors of their past, however, never leave them and infiltrate every aspect of their lives in the United States. Florence, their daughter, grows up watching her parents keep their demons at bay as she learns as much about her family’s haunting past as she learns about herself. Grende’s questions about her mother’s outbursts and her father’s deep, dark sadness lead her to answers she is afraid she already knows but is not willing to admit.
The Butcher’s Daughter is Florence Grende’s own recollection of her life in New York City and her struggle to come to terms with her parents’ own battle with the memories of their lives in Germany during the Holocaust. Grende’s memoir is written in a unique and gripping style. Her words flow from page to page in the most poetic fashion with emphasis placed on short, striking bits of text highlighting especially difficult memories.
Grende pulls her memoir together with short chapters, each focusing on specific situations, distinct memories, and her own analyses of events from her childhood and teenage years. I looked for the memoir style to follow a sequential order but, in Grende’s case, the random scattering of memories and the jumps she makes from one time period backwards and then forward again works well. Her own confusion and the turbulence dictating her life as a result of her family’s past is reflected effectively in the style of writing chosen by the author. Short bursts of memories are easy to read, engaging, and incite the reader’s curiosity.
It is not often readers are afforded a look into the author’s own experiences. Grende gives readers a particularly vivid picture of the trauma and the lasting impact the Holocaust had on the ensuing generations. Her father’s behavior and neediness are sad in a way I find it almost impossible to describe. She underscores the way he seems to emotionally cling to her in a markedly poetic chapter in the second of the book’s three sections. Never is her father’s tragic past more clearly defined than in his sadness and desperation at losing her to her new husband.
Closure being the goal for Florence Grende, I felt relief for her as she details her journey for answers and the meeting which brings her face to face with people on all sides of the Holocaust. Her writing experience begins with her trip to Berlin and the diary that starts it all. I felt the tension as I read of Grende’s meetings with fellow survivors and descendants of Nazis. The horror stories flow, and Grende, at last, shares her own with those who can, not only relate, but wish for the same closure as the author herself. Grende writes of these meetings with raw emotion and does more to help readers absorb the truth of history than is ever possible with any textbook.
Florence Grende has bared her soul and shown readers a perspective on history that most of us will never fully grasp. She walks readers eloquently through a minefield of emotions and tackles the savagery of the Holocaust with truth, directness, and poetic prose.
Pages: 148 | ASIN: B01M751TN4
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