The Importance of Kindness by George Saunders

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“I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded … sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

But kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.”

If you haven’t checked out Brainpickings.org, it has some amazing information.

Short Story Review: Tagged by Henry Bassett

There are many forgotten games we played as children, one of which was tag. You would call “Tag, you’re it!” just before making physical contact with another and something would pass from you to them, but what if that thing left something behind in you too?

An unknown entity has infiltrated an office, whilst the staff go about their daily routines unaware of its presence. As it systematically picks its victims, will those who remain suspect anything or will it succeed in consuming them all?

My Review

I chose to read this short story after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read Recently Deceased by the author a couple of days ago, and I found it thought-provoking, so I wanted to see what Tagged had to offer.

I have found that I like the author’s writing style, even when I come across a story like this that almost seems unfinished. It’s set in an office where something is happening to the workers, one by one as they touch each other. It affects each worker in a different way.

But what is it? Where did it come from? What happens when the day ends? There’s so much more I want to know. I felt a little robbed when the story ended.

About the Author

Henry Bassett is an ebook writer first published in early 2019 with The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer series; a supernatural urban dark fantasy which comprises of six instalments. He went on to write dark fantasy one-offs and, at this time, is working on a new dark fantasy series The Black Bear Brotherhood.

Audiobook Review: Alexandria Rising by Mark Wallace Maguire

Author: Mark Wallace Maguire

Narrator: Thomas Cassidy

Length: 8 hours 47 minutes

Series: The Alexandria Rising Chronicles, Book 1

Publisher: Speckled Leaf Press

Released: May 12, 2020

Genre: Action; Adventure

Rand O’Neal, an ambition-less reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries where he discovers humanity’s biggest secret. The book is labelled an action adventure, but contains elements of science fiction, suspense, and mystery.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Mark Wallace Maguire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

The beginning of Alexandria Rising intrigued me. Rand’s grandfather died and left him with everything including the task of destroying a map. It’s not as easy as it sounds. There are others who want the map, and Rand finds himself on the run. He does pretty well running, especially since he’s new at it and he’s obviously running from professionals.

Once Rand is caught, my interest waned. It was difficult for me to keep my mind on listening to the story. When Rand finally acts, it’s pretty far-fetched. He seems to be a completely different person from the uninspired drunk at the beginning of the story.

The narrator did a great job with timing and pacing and I liked the added sound effects here and there.

Mark Wallace Maguire is a Kindle best-selling author of several books, including the highly-praised Alexandria Rising Chronicles. He is a 2017 Independent Author of the Year Finalist and a 2017 Georgia Author of The Year nominee. He is also an award-winning columnist and journalist whose work has appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers at home and abroad. He’s been honored by several organizations, including The Associated Press, Georgia Poetry Society and Society of Professional Journalists.

In 2005, he was named Berry College Outstanding Young Alumni of The Year.

When he’s not writing, he enjoys hiking, playing guitar, shooting short films and gardening.

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Narrator Bio

Thomas Cassidy: Voice actor from the UK. Narrator of over 80 audiobooks ranging from London based police thrillers (The Edmonton Police Series), a variety of financial and self-help books, to the globe hopping excitement of the Alexandria Trilogy. In his spare time he enjoys martial arts, fitness, old German cars and conspiracy theories.

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Short Story Review: Recently Deceased by Henry Bassett

Death is an instantaneous event. What follows is confusion and uncertainty. Join one individual at the moment in which their body and soul separate, yet are trapped together as they journey with the living to their final resting place.

My Review

I chose to read this short story after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This story is very short but it’s thought-provoking. What happens after we die? It definitely elicits a response to contemplate the after-life. Death is such an unknown, even for people of faith. You can absolutely believe that you’re going to Heaven or Hell, but how do you get there?

I think Recently Deceased being so short certainly brings the subject to the forefront of the reader’s mind long after the story has been read. It did mine.

About the Author

Henry Bassett is an ebook writer first published in early 2019 with The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer series; a supernatural urban dark fantasy which comprises of six instalments. He went on to write dark fantasy one-offs and, at this time, is working on a new dark fantasy series The Black Bear Brotherhood.

New Releases

Sophie

Sophie is a duchess and is divorced from her husband.  She divorced her husband in 1865 in the middle of the 19th century.  She had had enough of her husband.  He was a philanderer.  Now she likes boys and girls in their twenties.  After her divorce, with some good money from her ex-husband, James de Kerstrat, she sets sail to Monaco to forget him and for a new life.

In Monaco, Sophie buys a house and hires two servants, Thomas and Sylvie. She makes the acquaintance of John, the Count Delgado. They become close but John does not know that, behind his back, Sophie is having a dalliance with Sylvie. However, in the end, John and Sophie marry. 

Excerpt

“At 9.45 a.m. on Saturday, John and Sophie talk about their plans to get married.  Of course, it will be in the church not very far from Sophie’s cottage and, of course, she will invite her parents.  However, John doesn’t have parents, siblings or other relatives.  His parents are dead for a few years now.  So it is just Sophie, her parents and, Sarah, her sister, and Thomas and Sylvie.

Sophie asks John, “Can we be married as soon as possible?”

“Yes, of course, my darling,” replies John.  “Maybe next Saturday?”

“Yes, my darling,” says Sophie.  “It’s a good idea, darling.  So it will be Saturday, 30 July.  Yes, at 11am in the church.”

“Yes, okay!” says John.

At 11.30am Sophie thinks to present John to her parents and her sister.  So Sophie and John decide to go and see her parents.  It’s not too far away.  They get ready, a good jacket for Sophie and a hat each, and then they leave.  Both like to walk in the town of Monte Carlo, because it’s not very big.  After forty-five minutes of walking, Sophie sees her parents’ house.  It is the white house with the blue door and the blue shutters, with the name Hensley written on the door.

Sophie knocks on the door.  After a few minutes, a man opens the door.  Pierre, her father, says, “Hello, my daughter, you are welcome.”

About the Author

Denis Devaux was born in Nantes in France and now lives in England.    He trained as a cook. He has no diploma or academic qualifications and taught himself English.

“Sophie:  The Duchess of Kerstrat and Her Adventures in Monaco” by Denis Devaux is available in paperback from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Grosvenor House Publishing
Tel. 020 8339 6060
E-mail: info@grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

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When do Monsters Come?

Witty, Empowering Book Keeps Kids (Happily) Compliant   

Written from the masterful imagination of Roochi Sahi, ‘When Do Monsters Come?’ takes young readers into the lives of siblings Bella and Ethan, whose resistance to everyday occurrences summons a series of quirky monsters. But Mum has a secret to make them go away, shared with readers through rhyming, thought-provoking stories. This is a relatable book unlike anything else on the market, and one that will keep kids good, willingly!

United Kingdom – Dentist Roochi Sahi owes all her success, achievement and zest to her parents; two noble mavericks who have had unwavering support for her every day.

It’s no wonder they supported her latest venture, a breakthrough children’s book – and it’s no surprise Sahi used a mother’s powerful word as a main theme in the story!

‘When Do Monsters Come?’ uses humour and rhyme to keep kids willingly compliant for the everyday tasks that can so often be arduous. The secret? A few monsters, perhaps!

‘When Do Monsters Come?’ Learning resources pack: https://www.drbyroochi.com/collections/inspired-books-for-children-parents/products/learning-resources-pack

Spokesperson video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqX6eKNzAFU

About the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvD0JNcEOe4

Dance routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCCC8_AvF0M&t=4s

Sing-a-long song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCCC8_AvF0M&t=4s

About the Author

I was born in America, in the state of Philadelphia. When I was three years old, my family moved to Africa- and Kenya was where I spent most of my childhood. Engulfed in a world of beautiful climate, wildlife, beaches and exceptional nature, I organically grew poetic in my mind. My environment nurtured my development and both my parents being Dentists, I was inspired by them to study Dentistry. Jumping from a life surrounded by nature, I moved to the bustling city of London; to establish my education, and this put my imagination into context with my new London reality.

A fully qualified Dentist, I went on to gain post-graduate qualifications in Aesthetic Medicine. Alongside this academic but scientific upbringing, I was always fascinated with Holistic Health. After completing a study of Hypnotherapy and gaining qualifications in Complementary Medicine, I changed a great deal for myself. As a result, I became the founder of an empowering mindfulness system, called ‘Dr. By Roochi’, where ‘Discover Radiance’ uses a method of subconscious programming in adults to create powerful and positive beliefs.

I am an example of how I used the right nutrition for my body, combined with healing past mental blockages to “Discover Radiance” in my own life. I reversed my Thyroid condition, cured my PCOS, found the love of my life and managed to have beautiful children even when medicine claimed infertility. Not to mention I dropped about 35 kilograms in weight, and feel more body confident than ever.

My books for children work with a similar methodology- and what better way to help children form such pathways for thought; so that they can begin to achieve, create, learn and understand their own capabilities as early as possible.

My books aim to encourage the practice of mindfulness for children as young as 2 years old and help them cope with both imaginative interpretation and emotion as they evolve.

My mother has believed in my ability as a Children’s book author since as long as I can remember. Always forging on with the waves of life I always had an excuse to why it was never the right time. Until the tide went out, and now, here I am, writing books that have truly come from my heart.

My books, like the countless amazing ventures in my life, reflect the utmost gratitude to my supportive and loving family. Thank you for everything Dad, Mum and my best friend- my husband.

Please see below for online retailers which currently list this title:

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-do-monsters-come-roochi-sahi/1137345791?ean=9781839751431

https://www.waterstones.com/book/when-do-monsters-come/roochi-sahi/9781839751431

https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/childrens/when-do-monsters-come,roochi-sahi-9781839751431?term=When+do+monsters

Excerpt

Mum screams-

Stop fighting!

Wear your coat!

Don’t be rude!

Cut your nails!

Wash your hair!

Clean your hands!

Nobody listens.

Mum can now stop screaming.

Contact:

Roochi Sahi
Email: roochipatel@gmail.com
Telephone: 07565461118

Book Review: Wilbur Wolf by Sally Lee Baker

A fun read-aloud tongue twisting tale brought to you by the letter “W”. Wilbur Wolf worries when the winter wind whistles wildly through the willows in the Wyoming wilderness. Number 23 in a series of ABC alliterative stories, “Wilbur Wolf” emphasizes each letter “w” or “W” with a bold font. Children will enjoy the fun story while learning the many uses of the letter “W” and finding the hidden letter in each picture.

Amazon

My Review

This is the first book in the series that I’ve read. Each book in the series focuses on a letter of the alphabet. Obviously, “W” is the focus in Wilbur Wolf. I was impressed by how many “W” words the author was able to use while coming up with a story that children will enjoy. The illustrations are also cute and will help keep the attention of young children.

Wilbur Wolf worries about everything, even the wind! Wyatt is the smartest wolf in the pack, and he decides that Wilbur worries because he has no self-confidence. Wyatt comes up with a plan for the wolves to help Wilbur and, in turn, will keep him from disturbing everyone with his worries.

This my favorite kind of children’s book. It is fun to read, it teaches children about the letter “W” and it teaches about self-esteem. That makes it triple good!

About the Author

Sally Lee Baker is incredibly excited to announce that she has been recognized as a Book Excellence Award Finalist in the Children’s Fiction Category for her books, “Toni Tanager” and “Vinny The Vegetarian Vulture”.

Out of hundreds of books that were entered into the Book Excellence Awards competition, her books were selected for their high quality writing, design and overall market appeal.

To view her complete award listing, you can visit: https://honorees.bookexcellenceawards.com/#!/Toni-Tanager-Childrens-Fiction/p/143373756/category=36034731 and/or https://honorees.bookexcellenceawards.com/#!/Vinny-the-Vegetarian-Vulture-Childrens-Fiction/p/178508618/category=46250245

“Toni Tanager” was released in 2018 and is about Toni Tanager, a small bird, who teases two three-toed tree toads until Terri Tanager takes her to task to treat the tree toads like she would like to be treated.

“Vinny The Vegetarian Vulture” was released in 2019 and is about a vulture who claims to be a vegetarian. The virtuous Violet Vole videos Vinny to vet his claim.

The books are perfect for elementary students and teachers who want to increase vocabulary.

You can get copies for yourself on Amazon or by ordering through your favorite bookstore.

Sally Lee Baker, storyteller, author and illustrator wrote her first tongue twisters for kids using the letter “B” in a Writing for Juveniles class in college. After marrying, raising two girls and then reading to grandchildren, she was inspired to write alliterative stories using each letter of the alphabet.

Not knowing where to turn for a good illustrator, Sally attempted some drawings herself. After several efforts she surprised herself at being able to draw characters which she could scan on to her computer to color and manipulate through a drawing program. By the time she wrote the “H” alliterative story she was able to do all the drawing on the computer alone.

As library clerk at her local public school she had many opportunities to read to students and note which books were well received and which were not. With one daughter and family near Edmonton, Alberta, Sally takes advantage of visits there to read in other public schools.

Sally and her husband, Ted, have retired as missionaries, from SEND International and live near their other daughter and family in Faro, Yukon Territory of Canada.

Website: https://sallyleebaker.wixsite.com/books
Twitter: Sally Lee Baker