I don’t like bunny rabbits. “But you’re a girl! You ought to like bunny rabbits!” Uh, no I don’t. But I do like nachos, naps, and books. I absolutely love books, especially ones in the magic realism genre. My favorite authors are Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, and Kenzaburo Oe. Oh, maybe you’ve noticed this, too; I like Japanese stuff. Books, comics, animation, food—I love all of those Japanese things. Did I mention I live in Japan? If you’ve never been to Japan, it’s pretty neat. Being in Japan gave me a lot of inspiration to write "The Ends Don’t Tie with Bunny Rabbits". Despite its title, it’s not a cuddly book about bunny rabbits. Why would it be? I mean, I don’t like bunny rabbits.
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Smashwords book reviews by Jeridel Banks
- BUZZ: An Unauthorized Autobiography
on Nov. 22, 2012
Anyone who has read Buzz by Robert Zverina probably wonders the same thing.
“Houston, we have a problem. Why isn’t this book under a big publisher?”
Orbiting the moon landing of the U.S. Apollo 11 in 1969, Buzz tells the ordinary tale of Buzz Polstar, the son of Czech political refugees, and his time growing up in Long Island. Buzz showcases Polstar’s nostalgic childhood in the 1960’s, his mundane college career, and his apathetic adulthood.
What makes this book a brilliant read is the witty yet reflective narrative voice of Robert Zverina. Calm and collective with a trace of humor, Zverina delivers an easy, relative read for people looking for a break from the extraordinary. His stream of consciousness throughout the book pounces back and forth between the present and the past, giving few clues to the future. Though Zverina has a unique style, Buzz is imbued with John Fante’s somewhat-sober optimism and Charles Bukowski’s poetic play on words, minus the perversion.
Although Polstar is a great main character, his life’s story is common compared to his family’s history. Polstar’s stepfather, mother, and father escaped the Czech Republic under political pressure, landing in the U.S. as political refugees. Even Buzz’s birth during the moon landing was remarkably climatic over Buzz’s unexciting life. However dull Buzz’s life seems in the book, it’s easy for readers to see themselves in his life. If readers are looking for a less-whiny, contemporary version of Catcher in the Rye starring a regular person with a realistic perspective on a New Yorker’s life, Zverina’s Buzz is it.
In spite of being an indie author, Zverina is light-years away from the average indie author—and it probably comes from his well-rounded background. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry from Brooklyn College, CUNY. Even if anyone subtracted his educational background, Zverina has another trick up his space suit sleeve: he was mentored under the late Allen Ginsberg, one of the leading figures of the 1950’s Beat Generation. The anti-materialism, anti-conformism, and pro-drug theme—remnants of the post-World War II writers—shines through Buzz like a satellite in the middle of space.
Like its name, Buzz should be buzzed up by all readers needing a small step away from the mediocre in indie books.
- The One Who Is Two (Book 1 of White Rabbit)
on June 18, 2013
Anything with white rabbits invokes a blond little girl in a blue dress, but Stuart Oldfield’s The One Who is Two ventures into an adult satire of Alice in Wonderland without jumping on Lewis Carroll’s toes.
The One Who is Two follows adulterer and failed father Simon Cadwallader on his adventures into a strange dimension where signs move, animals talk, and inanimate objects hold high opinions. After leaving his ex-wife’s home, he finds himself transported to another world. As he tries to find his way back home, he comes across many peculiar characters, some human, some not-so human. His travels reveal that he wasn’t the only person to enter the alternate dimension, and soon, he has to abandon his cowardly ways to save the new world.
The premise of The One Who is Two isn’t original, but the way newcomer Stuart Oldfield tells the story is well-done and easy to read. He paints the alternate reality with fresh and vibrant descriptions while maintaining his comedic voice as Loofah, Simon’s name when he enters the new world. In places where the prose is a little too well-done, readers can read slowly without feeling as if the story will drag into a dimension of boredom.
Throughout the whole book, subtle and obvious points bring the theme home: duality. The One Who is Two is relatable and un-relatable to adults; the sexual innuendos and the dreary office scenes (hovering overseer—I mean, supervisor—included) are understandable to working adults; the talking animals and murderous inanimate objects are completely foreign to sensible adults. Many readers will easily find the alternate reality’s duality as a satire (and unfortunate comparison) to society now. By the end, readers will want to get the next book from Oldfield’s White Rabbit series.
For readers who are looking for another Alice in Wonderland, The One Who is Two isn’t the same book. Still, open-minded readers looking for a quick read made for adults, The One Who is Two is such a book.