Author

Ben S. Dutka - page 2

Ben S. Dutka has 90 articles published.

figured it all out too late. He got his degree in Psychology and realized years later that he wanted to write for a living. He now has 16+ years of digital and print journalism experience and currently entertains an ongoing love affair with the greatest literary classics (he savored every page of "War and Peace" and thought it could've been longer, and he will finish Proust's "In Search of Lost Time"). He also loves crossword puzzles, tennis, the outdoors, and working on numerous novels. One of these days, one will get picked up...and when it does, the world will make a little more sense.

More Than They Seem: 3 Books That Explore Backstory

in Fiction by

We love to imagine backstories for our favorite fictitious characters as we wonder, what from their past made them the way they are?  Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee recommended three books that explore “Backstory: We Are More Than We Seem.” This week’s selections were chose by Parnassus’ Social Media Director Mary Laura Philpott, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and the Huffington Post and is the founder of the online magazine MUSING. Parnassus opened in 2011 when author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes realized that bookstores were disappearing from Nashville, a city with a rich cultural tradition. “I have no interest in retail…but I also have no interest in living in a city…

Keep Reading

Undaunted Women: 3 Great Reads About Sexy Survivors

in Fiction by

Sensual, resilient and undaunted, this week’s Shelfie picks feature heroines who survive in their own, inimitable style. Our recommendations are from bookseller Hannah Oliver Depp of Politics and Prose. The Washington, DC landmark, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, is famous for their events featuring the world’s most famous authors. In her own words, here are three books Depp loved. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg (Grand Central Publishing, 2015) “Attenberg brings to life the story of the ‘Queen of the Bowery,’ Mazie Phillips-Gordon, from her best to her hardest times; it’s a unique novel of one of the most fascinating historical figures you’ve never heard about. A young woman narrating not only her coming of age, but the far more…

Keep Reading

3 Crackling Mysteries with an International Flavor

in Fiction by

This week we’re looking for some crackling good mysteries with an international flavor as we turn to Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City. After opening their doors in 1978, the staff and customers tended the books with care much like a garden and the business quickly grew. They now fill three-and-a-half floors and the latter half is an 1,100 square-foot coffee house, located in the same place where the local literary society met in the 1930s. Did you know it’s the same society that saw the likes of Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg and E.E. Cummings? Buyer Paul Ingram, a confirmed fan of all kinds of mysteries, has supplied us with three mysteries for this week’s Shelfie picks. The timing is…

Keep Reading

3 Shelfies from Chappaqua Library about First love and Sentimentality

in Fiction by

Summer is a time for romance and adventure. You’re undoubtedly having your own memorable experiences during these fleeting warm-weather months (carpe diem, no?) and to enhance that experience, why not back it up with several amazing books? Why not turn the pages of a riveting novel where themes like young love, magic, mystery and historical suspense transport you to another world? For this week’s Shelfie Picks, we turn to Chappaqua Public Library, a library in the suburbs an hour north of New York City. Chappaqua counts certain former White House residents among their neighbors. From independent book stores to great libraries, we support champions of great books and Chappaqua was nice enough to participate. Reference Librarian Vicki Fuqua recommended three…

Keep Reading

Shelfie Picks: Strand Book Store’s New Contemporary Classics

in Fiction by

Sure, there’s plenty of light summer reading. We went to McLean and Eakin for wonderful summer lovin’ picks, turned to Skylight Books for summer adventures with coming-of-age twists, and even chatted with Elin Hilderbrand, the “Queen of the Summer Novel.” But just occasionally, those lazy summer days inspire deeper thought and encourage us to delve into untested waters. We want to turn the pages of a book that, while still accessible and enjoyable, makes us think and question. That’s what inspiring literary works do, right? A few excellent literary fiction novels have arrived this summer and to help us select three that go above and beyond, we headed to Strand Book Store, “New York City’s legendary home of 18 miles of books.”…

Keep Reading

5 Literary Picnic Ideas from Fictitious Dishes’ Dinah Fried

in Fiction by

A picnic is the metaphor for the perfect day — unless it isn’t. Too often, picnics are sadly devoid of inspiration. How many times can you drag the old picnic basket under the same tree, stuck with the same ol’ scenery and the same boring ol’ chips and dip? We’re here to save the day with some ideas from the great literary masters, some of whom have written about beautiful – and wildly diverse – picnics. From Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse to that wonderful classic The Wind in the Willows, eating al fresco has never been more intriguing. It also helps to have the input of Dinah Fried, author of Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals (Harper Books, 2014). She came up…

Keep Reading

Shelfies from The Booksmith Brings Out our Inner Explorer

in Fiction by

In our lives, we must all take a journey. The exploration of ourselves and our world is precisely what makes life worth living. A rich tapestry of personal and geographical discovery molds us into the individuals we become, and ultimately allows us to amass valuable memories. That is why we’re honoring Space Exploration Day and offering three new books that encourage us to be adventurous in both mind and body. On July 20, 1969, man walked on the moon; where will your adventure take you? For added inspiration, we turned to The Booksmith, one of the country’s best independent bookstores located on Haight Street in the heart of San Francisco. A 39-year-old establishment “with a focus on unusual literary fiction and…

Keep Reading

Rethinking Narcissism: Self-Pride Can Be Healthy

in Non-Fiction by

If you’re a “narcissist,”  you’re a bad person. This appears to be the general consensus. Being someone with a degree in psychology, I’ve always wondered about the term myself, and why everyone is so fast to apply the label. And it’s getting worse. These days, you’re a “narcissist” if you allude to any personal achievement, or if you name-dropped at a party, or even if you simply showed up wearing nicer clothes. Due to this disturbing phenomenon, my wonder has increased to concern. How big is the gap between narcissism and simple self-confidence and are those who hiss the term “narcissist” even aware of that gap? Are we too close to thinking narcissism and positive words like “esteem” and “confidence”…

Keep Reading

Remembering E.L. Doctorow, Literary Innovator and Author of Ragtime

in Fiction by

E.L. Doctorow will be forever remembered as the remarkable innovator who blended fictional characters with historic events in innovative and relevant ways in his award-winning and critically acclaimed novels, Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and The March. He passed away at the age of 84 yesterday, July 21, 2015. Doctorow’s seemingly endless ingenuity, from Ragtime to World’s Fair, infused social commentary into captivating narratives; he brought our attention to important issues while giving us a ride on the pitching, churning sea of his imagination. Ragtime was the book that made his career and in it, we find a striking combination of fictional and real-life characters (including the legendary escape artist Harry Houdini and civil rights leader Booker T. Washington), along with a dry, witty tone that…

Keep Reading

Shelfies with Skylight Books: Summer Adventures with a Coming-of-Age Twist

in Fiction by

Ah, summer. There’s just something about the warmer days that invoke feelings of love and adventure. It’s a season that makes us all feel young again; with that wistful, melancholy irony, we look back at our developing years during the carefree days of summer. We all wish we’d had wisdom beyond our years, the foresight to appreciate those days as they were happening. “If only I could go back…” we dreamily inform the waves. But at your side are several books that take you away and perhaps, take you back. That’s because Skylight Books has graciously provided you with three brand new, wonderfully inspired titles that will keep the pages turning while the sun rises high over a picturesque beach.…

Keep Reading

5 Audiobooks Perfect for Your Long Summer Drives

in Fiction by
audiobooks in the car

As you pull out of the driveway, everyone is excited. You’re heading out for one of those meticulously planned, ideally memorable vacations that you’ll talk about for years. You will return refreshed and energized, carrying smartphones and digital cameras chock full of memories. This vacation will go down in history as one of the greatest ever! But you have to get there first. Once you hit the highway, everyone in the car starts to realize that many hours must pass before the memories can begin. Well, good memories, at any rate. Who enjoys memories from an eight-hour car ride? Amidst all the planning, you’ve overlooked the critical travel element, which is all too common. Don’t despair, though; there’s a cure for the…

Keep Reading

Shelfies Inspired by ThrillerFest and Comic-Con, Thanks to Mysterious Galaxy

in Fiction by

With ThrillerFest and Comic-Con landing on the same weekend, this week’s Shelfie Picks were a no-brainer: We needed some fantastic sci-fi, fantasy, and general thriller novels to recommend. If you’re traveling to either of the aforementioned events this weekend, or you plan to travel elsewhere this summer, you need some thrilling diversions. Who wants to stare at the back of an airplane seat for hours? The train has some old-world charm but eventually, it tries to put you to sleep. And heaven forbid if you’re traveling by bus; then you really need something to take you to another world. Enter three new novels by some of the genre’s most respected and successful authors. These picks come courtesy of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, an…

Keep Reading

Aliza Licht’s “Leave Your Mark” Says: Turn Yourself into a Bestseller

in Non-Fiction by

In this always-connected, always-plugged-in world, your personal brand is more critical than ever. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I know a little something about personal branding. The term may sound modern – and of course, the practice and philosophy of personal branding changes with the times – but in fact, it’s an age-old truism: You’ve got to self-promote. You’ve got to get yourself out there. My grandfather was a self-employed electrician. In those days, there was no social media. No Internet, no cell phones, no instant communication outside of the telephone. Even so, there were business cards and the all-important reputation, fueled mostly by word-of-mouth. How do people know you? What do they know about you? Over time, people came to…

Keep Reading

Take My Spouse, Please: A Laugh a Day Keeps the Divorce Lawyers Away

in Non-Fiction by

To this day, I have no idea why I went to school for psychology. Did you know that at one time, I was considering a career as a marriage counselor? And do you know what stopped me? Way too damn depressing. However, had writer and comedian Dani Klein Modisett written her latest book (her first was the well-received Afterbirth…stories you won’t read in Parents magazine) when I was in college, perhaps I would’ve thought twice. Maybe I would’ve laid the book down and pondered: “What if I took the humor approach to therapy? It’s not exactly scientific – ol’ Professor Whatsisname would frown on it – but it works, right? Maybe laughter really is the best medicine. Well, for issues of the mind,…

Keep Reading

Help End Global Food Waste by Adopting “Ugly” Fruits and Veggies

in Potpourri by

Yeah, some of that supermarket fruit is so pretty it almost doesn’t look real. Perfectly shaped, shiny, and absurdly colorful. But do these really look that unappetizing to you? Of course, as most individuals who prefer organic fruits and vegetables will tell you, this effort to make our food look cosmetically appealing has some serious downsides. It’s why the shapes and colors in an organic bin of produce aren’t quite so perfect. Even so, we all know appearance matters. That’s why the poor misshapen piece of fruit is just so off-putting. We may not even notice it but we routinely bypass the ugly ducklings in the produce section without even thinking. Hey, ugly fruits and veggies need love, too! Perhaps…

Keep Reading

Independence Day Shelfies from Written Words Bookstore: Honoring our roots

in Non-Fiction by

When you’re firing up the barbecue on Saturday, dismissing everyone’s advice and recommendations because you are the grill master, you should take some time to consider. The meat needs proper time to cook, anyway. Perhaps you could cast a reflective eye on the holiday in question, and wonder about this country’s history. If you’re a novice when it comes to your American past, have no fear: This week’s Shelfie Picks consist of entertaining, accessible reads that will put you in touch with your roots. We went to Written Words Bookstore (please note their new address in Shelton, CT!) for these Independence Day recommendations and owner Dorothy Broder was nice enough to deliver three absolute winners. Here they are: 1. The War That…

Keep Reading

1 2 3 4 6
Go to Top