Archive for September, 2011
Sapphire, the author of Push from which the movie Precious came, is the author of The Kid. Proceed with caution. This is not a book to recommend lightly as the harsh truth is always in your face. Abdul is not a person you want to meet anywhere. He is Precious’s son by her rapist father.
This is the strongest novel I have read in many months. I kept trying to find faults; but if they are there, they are of no consequence. We see a messed up kid unknowingly carrying the weight of tragic family and national histories. For him, escape is a paper moon. You will not identify with or admire Abdul, but you will know him in an intimate way.
I hope the book remains on public library shelves and bargain bins so that many readers can be reminded of how fragile a young child is living in a hostel, predatory environment, and how enduring damage can be. Charles Marlin
Posted in Clarion County Community Foundation, Uncategorized, tagged Clarion County Community Foundation, community foundation, death-bed confession, death-bed remorse on September 23, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
My home is a funky cabin in the woods. The furnace is under the house reached by a very cramped crawl space. Over the years many animals, as well as my cat, have found shelter there. Decades ago I could crawl under and change the filters but no more. Now I must pay a man to drive out in a panel van and do it for me.
This past week I came home to find the panel van in the yard and the young man under the house banging away. Usually he is under and out in as few minutes as he can make it, which I in no way blame him. He was under the house so long I quite waiting for him, and went on about what little business I had to do.
He finally knocks on the front door. He is holding the piece of tubing you see above which even I knew looked scary. Before he could say anything I popped, “I could have been blown into the canopy.” In dour seriousness he corrected me, “No sir, only parts of you.”
I have never responded well to the death-bed remorse and confession popular in novels, operas, and movies. It has always seemed so careless and cheesy. If any one thinks I have done them wrong, well too bad. I am taking it with me.
The prudent adult keeps their papers and will in order and up todate. The prudent adult provides for his companion, and for his family if they are deserving. There is however something the prudent adult may have missed; and that is their community.
Why would you owe any bequest to your community? No reason, except it has surrounded and comforted you for your lifetime. It gave you a place to which you belonged. It will hold your body when you can not. If all that seems worthless to you, fine you have no need for second thoughts.
If you feel you owe your community something, your free agent is the nearest community foundation. Charles Marlin
Posted in Book Reviews, tagged antique auctions, antique shops, Antiques Roadshow, Brimfield flea markets, cruising ebay, family heirlooms, flea markets, household auctions, Killer Stuff And Tons Of Money Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America, Martha Stewart, Maureen Stanton, Pier 1, yard sales on September 14, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
So you love your family heirlooms, stop at yard sales, walk flea markets, attend auctions, scourantique shops, cruise ebay, watch Antiques Roadshow, treasure Martha, and want to do Brimfield before your hips give out. You are addicted to the next best thing to sex in America–antiquing. When Pier 1 is soft porn compared to your collecting passions, you are ready for Killer Stuff And Tons Of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America by Maureen Stanton.
The author follows the career arch of a mid-level antique dealer along the East Coast. You learn through his struggles how the market works and sometimes fails. You learn when and where to shop even if you don’t really know what you are looking for. You learn the scholarly antique books are worth bullion, and the price guides iffy.
There is something in this book for everyone, regardless of their level of expertise or experience in the field. Only the know-it-alls, and there are plenty of those, should pass on the book. Buy it now as your birthday gift to yourself. You certainly are worth it. Charles Marlin
Ken Babbs writes his sieved, added to, reblended, rolled out, and picked over memoir of a helicopter unit during the Vietnam War. Who Shot The Water Buffalo? is a duffer book, the kind that usually don’t make it beyond one or two local stores; this time however, Babbs snagged a live publisher. There are more interesting and more believable accounts written and filmed. Charles Marlin