Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tom Starita on the Nature of People

Hey everyone!  I'm very excited to share a guest post from Tom Starita, the author of Growth and Change are Highly Overrated.  I truly enjoyed reading and reviewing his book and strongly urge you to do so!
                                                                                                                                                                   


Contrary to popular belief, money is not the root of all evil. In fact, I believe that money is the victim of an unfair smear campaign run by people who profit off of you not having said money. But that is another blog post for another time. No, I’m here to tell you the root of all evil is the failure to understand the essence of someone else.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a friendship or a job, if you don’t understand the hows and the whys of that other person then you might as well pack up your stuff and start searching for higher ground. Far too often we get angry or frustrated with someone for being exactly who they are, instead of being who you want them to be.

The wisdom you just read isn’t a sudden realization, made by yours truly while sitting in a one man booth inside a faceless diner while the docile tones of Aimee Mann telling me how Voices Carry drift in the background. No, this is a truth I finally figured out in the wee hours of a snowy February weekend back in 2013. A truth given to me by a fully formed character who happened to appear at a pivotal point in my life. His name is Lucas James and I wrote a book all about him and his philosophies in my kind of but not really best selling book, “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated.”

Lucas James is a dangerous combination of charm and selfishness. The kind of man who has no compunction in asking you for your last dollar just because he has a hankering for a Snickers. He’s driving down the highway of life and if you’re going to ride shotgun with him you have to accept that not only does he control the radio but he’s also driving your car. And you’re probably paying for gas and meals too.

I know I know, sounds like the kind of guy every girl wants to marry.

Ah-ha! And there lies the rub. Because there are lots of us out there who are attracted to the “bad boy” type. It’s not just girls who fall victim for this type of merciless personality type. Men are just as easily beguiled by some vixen with the right words and a tight blouse. And both sides endure the anguish because they believe they are special. And if you’re special, then surely this selfish individual sitting across from you will recognize your brilliance shining through and BING BANG BOOM PRESTO CHANGO, the selfish becomes the selfless and everyone lives happily ever after the end and ever and ever Amen.

Well I’m here to tell you I wrote, “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated” to finally extinguish the flame of that horrible lie. People don’t change. They are who they are. Sure, there can be subtle improvements. A sloppy man can learn to pick up his socks. But does picking up his socks fundamentally change who that person is? No, no and no again.

I can already see the hair rising on the back of your neck. But people do change! My significant other changed/I changed for my significant other! Well I’m a man who never deals in absolutes, so sure I’ll believe there are cases here and there with the happy ending that stays happy. I also understand that for every happy ending there are houses being burned to the ground while someone stands outside cackling with glee.

At this point, even if you don’t necessarily agree with me you can at least see where I’m coming from. You would think that someone who wrote from that point of view would produce a book filled with too much negativity to make it an enjoyable read. And you would be wrong! It’s not just me saying that, Ms. J mentioned that too when she gave my book four stars! If she enjoyed it surely there must be something redeemable hidden in its depths.

“Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated” was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. Period. The time I spent listening to Lucas James speak to me were some of the happiest of my entire life, resulting in me rearranging my writing schedule so that I would be at Starbucks at 8am because I couldn’t wait to see what would be coming out of my fingers. I know this sounds insane but it's true. Lucas James, for all his faults, is a funny guy. A charming guy. The kind of guy you might not want living with you, but might enjoy at the end of the bar speaking loud enough so you can hear his stories from last weekend. That’s what this book is -- a way to keep him at arm’s length and enjoy his antics while still keeping your sanity.

So if you buy this book, what can you expect? Great question. You’re getting Lucas James, wannabe Rock God. A man who just lost everything when his fiancée Jackie, “My Apple Jack,” decides she’s had enough. When I say everything, I mean everything. From the apartment to food, from the checkbook to the knowledge of what having a checkbook means. For the first time in his life, Lucas James will have to stand on his own two feet.

Of course Lucas James is a master storyteller, so you get to hear stories from his past, about Jackie, about his family, about his stupid ideas and opinions, warts and all. You get to meet Ralph, a shining beacon of hope and friendship. You meet Lori, disinterested cashier. This book answers the question, have you ever wondered what the inner thoughts of an out of control Id sounds like? Well, wonder no more.

In my professional opinion you’re going to laugh. You’re going to be upset. You’re going to laugh again. You might get a little misty, perhaps even choked up at times. You will want to wring the neck of Lucas James but you will not want to put the book down.

And when you reach that last page, and read the final sentence all I want is for you to lean back and feel something. Happiness. Anger. Frustration. Whatever the emotion may be. There are trillions of books out there and the plots go zooming by. Books that go back on your shelf and are forgotten the next morning.

My only goal in writing this book is you remember mine.
Tom Starita wrote this post and the book, "Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated." And despite everything you may have heard or read he really is a decent fellow. A fellow with a dream. A dream to never hear an alarm clock go off for the rest of his life. Help him achieve his dream. https://www.amazon.com/Growth-Change-Are-Highly-Overrated-ebook/dp/B01N2SW2K8

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33390028-growth-and-change-are-highly-overrated

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Growth and Change are Highly Overrated: A Review

About the Book

Growth and Change are Highly Overrated by Tom Starita

Genre: Fiction

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I would not suggest this novel for anyone younger than seventeen due to language and sexual content.

GoodReads Description

Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated is a classic coming-of-age story that takes a unique and comic look at what we all fear— having to grow up and abandon our dreams.

For a charismatic man like Lucas James, life is a breeze because everyone else provides the wind. This man-child front man for a mediocre cover band has been mooching off of his fiancée Jackie for years until she finally decides she's had enough. Faced with the reality of having no income to support his carefree lifestyle, Lucas James abandons his principles and gets a job working in the stockroom at, “That Store.” How does he cope with this new found sense of responsibility?

He casually steals...

In a life spent bucking authority how will Lucas James deal with his manager, 'Victor the Dictator'? How long can he survive Ralph, a starry-eyed coworker who desires nothing more than to be best friends? Will Lori, a twenty-something cashier, be like everyone else and fall for his charms? Will he ever find a place to live? And is “growing up” just another way of saying “selling out?”

With this hilarious and engaging novel, author Tom Starita perfectly captures a character we have all met and perhaps some of us know all too well.

My Thoughts

It's time to review this book.  Oh, boy.  This will not be easy.  I have been trying to find the words for it since I finished the book on Sunday.  Did I enjoy reading it?  Yes!  Did I think it was a realistic novel?  Definitely!  Did it make me lose faith in humanity, want to tear my hair out, and cry?  Oh, yeah, that too.  

After hours of thought and headaches, I finally realized what Starita did with this book.  I could only conclude that the little stinker had forced his audience to see that no matter how badly we want others to make the correct decisions, they won't.  We have to do that.  I hated the ending of this book, until I figured it out.  Some people don't change.  Some people would rather screw over the other guy before ever following a moral compass.  And then, there are people (like the ones who choose to read this book) that would make the right decision.  Starita may choose a striking and unorthodox way to do it, but he is using an apathetic dick (his word, not mine) to encourage mankind to take a deeper look at their morals, values, and decisions.  

What I Liked

I loved Starita's conversational writing style.  There seemed to be no division between the words on the page and the character that I could so easily imagine was sitting in the room talking to me.  This shows not only the ability to write, but to write well.

Starita also had a firm grasp on characterization.  He knew what he wanted his characters to be doing and their choices always made sense.  This was true for every character in the book, no matter how large or small their role was.

What I Didn't Like 

Lucas James.  Mr. Starita, if you're reading this, I'm sorry.  I hated your main character with a burning passion.  I can't believe that anyone can be that rude, selfish, or evil.  Then again, I also know a few people like that.  I wish I could have seen a larger change in Lucas James, but I think that would have been an unrealistic option.

Although I enjoyed the flashbacks that allowed me to learn more about Lucas James' background, I felt that they were too often and sometimes lacked connection to the rest of the story.  The plot would have been much easier to understand if the story took on a more linear plot line.

My Rating








Monday, July 10, 2017

Top Three Items: My Ideal Reading Nook

Earlier this summer, I was approached by Arhaus who wanted to know what my ideal reading nook would look like.  This post is my answer to their question.  I could spend HOURS writing about this. In an effort to save time and get to my favorites, I decided that a reading nook needs to be cozy and comfortable while still providing good light and plenty of room for all of my books. Below, you will see the top three items that I fell madly in love with in my quest to answer Arhaus' question.

The Perfect Chair

The ideal reading nook must be a place to spend hours reading.  I have never been one to sit in a chair and read.  Why?  Because every time something happens in the book-I move.  If I'm happy, I curl myself into a big ball and get as close to the book as possible.  When I'm mad, I tend to kick my legs out and spread out to get as far away from the idiot characters as possible.  Therefore, a chair usually doesn't hold me for long.  My bed is typically the most amazing place to stretch out, curl up, sit up, kick out, and whatever other motion is necessary for my reading motion spree.  It's not graceful and it's not pretty.  That was why I was totally excited when I saw this chaise on the Arhaus website.


I can definitely see myself all wrapped up in a colorful afghan and stretched out!  This is especially perfect as it can fit easily beside a window or alongside a wall to fit easily into a more compact space.

Bookshelves

Obviously, bookshelves can make or break a reading nook.  They need to be large enough to hold all of your books.  They need to be beautiful enough to fit with your ideas about decoration.  They need to be elegant enough to show off your personality.  I have always been a fan of the shelves from The Beauty and the Beast and heard the sound of my jaw hitting the floor when I came across this wall unit.


Now, I would definitely need something more than this unit to hold all of my books.  With it, I would be off to a tremendous start!  I love the sliding ladder!  I can easily see this wrapping around a corner and ending near a window with the chaise slid in front of the wall unit so I never have to leave my spot to pick up a new book!  


Mood Lighting

During the day, I would love to have the light of the sun to illuminate my pages.  At night, at least in Northern Minnesota, outside light is not enough to read by.  Therefore, I need a light soft enough to read by without encouraging me to stay awake all night long.  It took a long time for me to choose from all of their selections on the Arhaus lighting page!  What a collection!  Finally, I decided that this pendant lighting would do a wonderful job.  I love the brass color and believe that it would add a modern and colorful look to the beige of the chaise and the black wall unit.



It is so easy for me to picture these three items in my home. Now, I'm almost sad that I have to go back to a simple roller chair or my bed.


Let's Chat

What do you need in your ideal reading nook?  What would you like to get?  What do you think of my top three items?