A Collaboration with MentalSwag, and a review of ‘Waiting for the Bomb’

photo-63photo-62Over the weekend I was a guest blogger at mentalswag.com. Here is the link to my article on there, http://www.mentalswag.com/2013/10/19/sandy-doesnt-skate/ . This came about easily shortly after meeting the author, Richard Livsey, who lives in the Rockaways near where I work. On this blog entry I’ll explain the collaboration, and review Livsey’s novel, Waiting for the Bomb.

A few Saturdays ago my library, the Peninsula Library, had the first annual author expo. My colleague Kacper Jarecki thought it all up, and organized the event. I simply helped out that day, and we had about seven local authors including Livsey. A day or two prior to the event Livsey gave several of the staff members including myself a copy of his novel. On the Saturday of the event I saw on the Rockaway Beach Surf Club’s facebook page someone posting Livsey would be at the Library that day. So I asked him when he got there if he surfed or skated, and he told me he surfed. That was the start of our discussion of blogs, and I printed out some of my own blog entries for him to look at. Overall the event went great, and we lucked out on the weather since it was outside.

That Monday my colleague Kacper said he read Waiting for the Bomb in one day. That impressed me, and I looked forward to reading it, but had to finish Jude the Obscure first for my library book club the following week. Soon I pitched the idea to Livsey about writing about the locals that built the new Rockaway mini ramp. I made a long questionnaire that I emailed to several people, but learned a conversation on the phone can really make things clearer. I enjoyed talking to Jimmy Dowd and Reid Van Renesse about their accomplishment to the skate community down there. I also learned as a blogger that instead of always simply writing my own opinion on things that attempts to get people involved to verify, dismiss, or expand on the idea can only help a article.

Mentalswag is different than my own blog, and Livsey gave me a word limit of 300 to 500 words. I knew of the word limit before I interviewed Dowd and Van Renesse. This meant I had prioritize and ask what I felt the most important points. The piece was not going to be a sprawling piece detailing everything. Instead the goal was to be concise, informative, and a positive piece on the building of the mini ramp. Mentalswag does seem to have a following and a local one with the Rockaway surf community. I’m glad I collaborated with Livsey and was able to share my article on it, instead of simply posting my own blog entry. A lot of surfers and skaters live near I work so I hope to figure out how in the future I can work with them in my position as a local librarian.

I had a staycation this past week, and I got around to reading Livsey’s book Waiting for the Bomb. I did not read it one day like Kacper, but in three days. Three days is a fast clip for me, and the book is highly readable.  The story takes place in Manhattan in 2002, and the protagonist is a bar tender with writing aspirations.  The love interest dumps him for an established successful author, which adds to his life frustrations. Humor is added with a sloppy roommate that works in a bookstore.

I think the character’s dilemma is universal to people with writing ambitions. The character had two failed novel attempts.  I myself have two failed novel attempts right now and feel that this book can amp any reader to get writing.  I also like that the protagonist is not an academic, so classic works and authors are not name dropped redundantly. The character is simply a dude that likes to write, has some anger issues, September 11th obsessions, and love problems. I recommend it for people with writing ambitions, or maybe men that are reluctant readers who might relate to the main character’s ordeals.  Waiting for the Bomb I believe is a good book, and the author is nice and approachable.

Now with the copy he gave me I’m going to try to get it into my library system. Books from smell presses or that are self-published need to get evaluated by a department in the system I work for. I’m confident Waiting for the Bomb will pass that test.

Here’s Richard Livsey’s book on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Bomb-Richard-Livsey/dp/1492167452/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382312005&sr=1-1&keywords=waiting+for+the+bomb

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