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Grady Harp has commented on (905) products.

Grady Harp, August 4, 2011

A Zenith of Poetic Collaboration

Pris Campbell and Scott Owens are individually two very talented poets whose works stand alone with the best of them: put them together in the manner that this collaboration defines and they are progenitors!
THE NATURE OF ATTRACTION is at once a coming together of a man and a woman ��" here named Norman and Sara ��" by physical attraction, by gesture, by suggestion, by private needs of solitary individuals that through the progress of this book become one, discovering each other’s needs and servicing those needs and yet never becoming symbiotic. How this happens in the form of poems makes extraordinary reading and provides insight into the nature of the individual placed in context with the formation of a bonding.
It is unclear which poet is writing in which voice: it is easy to assume that Pris Campbell is writing the thoughts and words and responses of Sara while Scott Owens writes the voice and character of Norman. But as the poems progress there is a synthesis of sort that makes us wonder if they haven’t switched roles, so well defined are the slowly unraveled needs of the other made evident.
Sara is a physical being with needs she has never lacked for fulfillment in her past. Norman is less aggressive, more vulnerable, less a practiced artist of lovemaking. They meet, discover each other:
Sara is flash lightning,
a loose wire,
her current not quite
touching ground.
She got a tattoo once,
pierced her belly button,
sewed roses all over her
size six baggy jeans.
She wishes she’d known Janis Joplin, Martin Luther King,
and the Chicago Seven; she admires
people who walk outside circling wagons.
She’s attracted to Norman.
In his Land’s End pressed slacks
and tailored shirts, he almost
blends in, but his shoes
are as scuffed as hers.

So much is said about each of these disparate people in this brief poem that we can feel the potential bumps in the road of their romance. But first the two come together and a relationship of passion is erotically felt be each ��" for us, the reader as voyeur. But as the relationship progresses interference raises its head: Sara never wanted children- Sara gets pregnant ��"a baby is born and Sara’s feelings change ��" Norman attempts to adapt but treats the child like he treats other distractions form his attention to obsessive details. They part ��" Sara with child, Norman watching form a distance missing the physical gratification of Sara before pregnancy, Sara accepting with joy the unexpected pleasures of mothering.

Is impossible./ He knows. He’s tried/for years/hand stroking/his many ego,/squeezing the bloated/throat. Oh, he looks good/enough on the surface,/ hair combed/across the thinning/ spots on top,/ teeth white/ but somewhat bent,/ cheap slacks pressed,/ shirt immaculately clean/ though a little damp./ Myrtle Beach Lothario/ slightly out of season,/ voice too loud,/ sugar too high,/ patience all but gone./ In his younger days/ he tried hard/ to earn the love/ of at least one/ warm body/ beside him,/ held his temper/ in check/spoke/ only in whispers,/ only sweet words, tried/ to be sensitive,/vulnerable, think/ of others first./ He thought/if he could love/ another, they might/ love him in return,/ but if his own father/ couldn’t do it,/ if he, himself,/ can’t do it,/ what hope/ did anyone else have?

Two brief poems form a book of emotionally rich and energetic poetry. There is lightness (a section in which Norman’s physical major endowment is viewed by each!), there are occult psychological reasons for each other’s responses, and there is so much more packed tersely into this story shared by people we long to know. It is a major accomplishment, this collaboration, and these are two gifted poets able to step out of their individual paths to create something refreshingly new and alive. THE NATURE OF ATTRACTION is brilliant!

Grady Harp
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Salvation by Chris Parker

Grady Harp, July 30, 2011

A Love Story, A Thriller, A Suspense Novel

Chris Parker takes on a host of concepts in this his first novel. Born in 1976 in Montgomery, Alabama, his family moved to Germany when he was four. He studied social pedagogy and German language and literature. Parker lives in Bonn, where he works as a free writer. Behind all of this interesting information about a new writer is the fact that apparently SALVATION is based on a true story: is the experience the writer's (the story takes place in Tennessee while Parker is from Alabama) or is it based on the sharing of a friend's journey or just a combination of ideas based on the principles of dealing with sexual identity? In the long run the stimuli for the book are less important than the issues they raise. The concept of inheritance of sexual identity versus the concept of learned (read peer influence) identity is still a hotly debated topic, especially by the conservative religious right who support the theory that same sex relationships are a sin and an abomination and that sexual identity can be changed by therapy - despite the scientific investigation to the contrary.

Chris Parker names his main character Jeremiah and to this reader it appears the name was purposefully chosen. According to biblical reference the prophet Jeremiah 'spiritualized and individualized religion and insisted upon the primacy of the individual's relationship with God.' He is referred to as the weeping prophet who proclaimed (among other things) 'Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Attack you they will, overcome you they can't.' Parker's Jeremiah comes from a well to do family who discover Jeremiah's preference for same sex attention. The family is deeply religious and decides to place Jeremiah in a camp where the church runs a rigid and intense therapy program determined to 'Change you can'. Jeremiah wants to be loved and appreciated and 'normal' and he goes along with the interment in the isolated camp. He struggles psychologically between desire to fulfill his physical needs and his intention to 'change' into a 'normal heterosexual male'. But the environment of the camp - a camp attended by both males and females with various needs for change - is run by priests and sociologists and psychologists and he is tended by a strange therapist named Amy who picks up on Jeremiah's attraction to the flagrantly gay Chester. The manner in which Jeremiah and Chester, along with the other members of his confreres, relate results in a major change in Jeremiah's perception of himself and unleashes a host of responses that allow him to experience passion and eventually encourage him to take part in a surprising ending.

Parker paces his novel well. Not all of the characters are adequately fleshed out to make them memorable (some of them the reader will elect to consider highly forgettable!) and there is a tendency to separate the characters into black and white categories. But the fact that the story is based on a true one makes the novel harrowing and magnetic to read. Chris Parker seems to have a lot of stories to tell if we can judge by the brief asides he touches upon. He is an author to watch.

Grady Harp
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Grady Harp, July 26, 2011

Christopher Rugh Insights: Dominate your Business

Christopher Rugh grabs our attention with a chokehold and then gradually releases the tension until we ‘get’ the secrets to taking control of our goal, our money, our business sense and our lives. Early on in his short but energy packed book 1-800 AWESOME: TACTICS FOR MAKING $10,000 AND HOUR he lets us picture him and his life style. This is a man who dresses casually because that is what makes him more comfortable, who says what he thinks and believes in street smart language, and who challenges us to be better and then waves goodbye ��" because he values his own time-off and private life made possible by establishing the concept of dominating his business. And yet the guy doesn’t seem cocky: he just seems smart!

Some of his concepts are worth repeating in a review to give an idea of just why this particular ‘self help’ book is successful. To quote a few: ‘Breaking our boundaries is what makes us feel alive. ‘ ‘Working hard is foolish; success comes when you work smart.’ ‘Here are three rules that I follow and apply in regard to running a successful business, and that you should, too. I call them the three M’s: Model, Management and Money. If you have these three things down, you’re ready to dominate.’ ’Bend your time - Avoid the News. Speaking of responsibility, if you want to bend time to dominate business, one of the first things you need to do is turn off the mindless distractions that waste your time and kill your creativity. And yes, that means turning off the television.’ ‘Learn to Lead Leadership is about attitude. It’s about being a person other people respect.’ ‘Once you have good people��"or what you are pretty sure are good people��"in place, it’s time to treat them like they are good people. Make it plain from the beginning what you expect of them, and make it clear that you know they will meet your expectations. Then stand back and see what happens.’ ‘Leverage money and intellectual property or If you can’t leverage them, automate the hell out of them. The true measure of your success is how little time you can spend making as much money as possible in a single hour.’
Oh, there’s more to this book these isolated quotes, but at least that gives an idea of just how straight forward and honest Christopher Rugh is. He has packed this book with sage advice, but he shares like a friend, making the whole process of change and adaptation not only approachable, but incorporative. He’s a dynamo!

Grady Harp
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Grady Harp, July 18, 2011


A Bright Debut by a Polished New Author

This review is from: White Collar Woman (Paperback)

Nicholas Maze: tag that name now because we're likely to hear much more form him if the success of this first published novel is an indicator. Michigan born Maze attended Baker College, earned his degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting and Marketing, and a talent for advertising that marked him for a successful career in the business world. But an old yearning to write persisted and aided by his experience in the suspenseful world of nation-wide security he has decided to follow his dream and concentrate on writing. From the structure of his first book WHITE COLLAR WOMAN it appears he made the right decision!

His first book is more a novella than a novel, being only 115 pages in length, but he slides a lot of story into these pages and demonstrates a talent for creating sell-defined characters that is the mark of a good storyteller. In a bit of good timing Maze creates an African American professional woman as his main character. Marla Evans is beautiful, successful in her company and sought after by all the men in the company, has a young son and is in a marriage she no longer finds satisfying. Her needs encourage her to follow the lines of several men - the unwanted advances of a well meaning but nerdy Kenny, the studly Kevin, and even the owner of the company Leon. Marla and her sister Diane are close: Diane is a stay at home wife while Marla is the career guided sister and Diane is the one who supplies the ear for Marla's experiences and needs. As Marla's attentions are vied for by three men outside her marriage she begins to find a way to comfortably terminate her marriage to Michael, but fantasy ideals and reality mixtures occur and in the end she is surprised by the decision she makes about her life.

Maze conveys the beauties of African American life in this country; for once we are treated to endless discourses on downhome food and family cohesion instead of the usual dark side of Black America: that is refreshing in that Maze elects to use language that enhances the flavor of his characters without becoming a parody of talk-oriented tales that can diminish the story at hand. His inclusion of the importance of the church (especially to Marla and Diane's mamma) is just enough to merit credibility without becoming preachy. Paced in a daily diary format the story takes place in little over a week but it is amazing how much the author can share in this short, self-propelled novel. This is a bit of feminist Americana that is very in focus at the moment and should attract many readers who will discover the talents of a new author on the rise.

Grady Harp
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Jackass Investing by Michael Dever
Jackass Investing

Grady Harp, July 1, 2011

Especially Fine for Investment Luddites

Michael Dever has hit so many nails on the head in this valuable and very readable JACKASS INVESTING that it will be snatched up by people who manage their own money with or without advisors. He offers common errors in investment strategies that are myths (20 of them to be precise) including such controversial topics such as 'Buy Low, Sell High', 'Stocks Provide an Intrinsic Return', 'Government Regulations Protect Investors', 'Commodity Trading is Risky', ''Trading is Gambling - Investing is safer', and so on - and for the informed reader this may sound like a list of Rule to Follow: wrong!

What Dever does - and this is where the majority of readers will find much needed enlightenment - is explain the process expressed in his 'myths' and in doing so he has provided one of the best Primers for those of us who know little and understand less about how the investment market/business operates. The terms he uses he explains in simple language, terms that daily become more prevalent in the media with the money market crisis bleeding to death globally. Probably several readings of this book will be necessary to fully take advantage form his sage advice. Not that it is a difficult read - quite the contrary: his verbiage is unfettered and is accompanied by helpful quotes, examples, graphs, and researched elements that practically assure that even those of us who have always considered the investment market foreign language ridden territory understood only by brokers and counselors will find light at the end of this once-threatening tunnel.

Dever is smart, witty, wise, and entertaining and has provided a book that should, for one, be required reading for college students not majoring in Economics - and of those of us who should have taken a couple of courses on the subject but didn't. Doubtless there will be many who peruse this book who don't even know about the Myths he debunks. Now read and get an education and learn about the fallacies and methods of placing your hard earned dollar to work for you. Grady Harp, July 11
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