Irene Weinberger Books

an imprint of Hamilton Stone Editions

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Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes reading from Losing Aaron

"A compelling tale," says Jay Neugeboren.

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More News/Losing Aaron News

Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes Upcoming & Current Readings etc:

-- Interview on radio show called "Good Grief

-- Blog Post on Psychology Tody!

Ingrid says of the Blog post that she was pleased because a schizophrenic woman read the piece and told her that she hadn't known that schizophrenia affects smell and taste.  "That explains a lot," she said.  So I helped somebody.

 

-- Chronogram Review (scroll down).

-- Book Q & A's: Deborah Kalb Interviews Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes

-- February 13, 2017 at McNally's in Soho with Meredith Sue Willis. (7 pm, McNally Jackson Books. 52 Prince St near Lafayette).  

-- Podcast: link to a radio interview on the The Kathryn Zox Show. The show is also available for download from The Kathryn Zox Show podcast page in iTunes.

-- May 7, 2017 Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, New Jersey (11:00 a.m., 516 Prosect Street, Maplewood, NJ.)

 

 

 


 

Recent Reviews of Our Books

Deborah Clearman Reviews Mitch Levenberg's   Write Something

Love Palace has received Multiple 5-star reviews

 

 

Older News

Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes read with Phoebe Hoss, author of All Eyes: A Mother's Struggle, at the Elting Library, 93 Main Street, New Paltz, NY on September 10th, 2016.

 

We Were at the Brooklyn Book Festival, September 20, 2015


Mitch Levenberg



 

Our Catalog

   Buy Now Love Palace           Buy Now  Riverside          Buy Now  Write Something     
   Buy Now The Dementia Diaries           Buy Now Losing Aaron

 

Love Palace

In cooperation with Foreverland Press

       Love Palace (paperback)
See Reviews Below!

Love Palace, published first as an e-book by Foreverland Press, has received multiple five star reviews:  "A pageturner, in the voice of Martha, a savvy, funny woman of forty, who starts from down and almost out: 'Just one more one-night stand. I've done everything else, eaten badly, gotten my therapist mad at me, rent due. I'll take one more step down before I go job hunting. Pick up a baby stranger! Feel totally shitty! Adelante! Yes!' The baby stranger, who turns out not to be so strange, nor such a baby, is the first of a cast of diverse characters Martha connects with, all well-drawn and compelling. They include a charismatic preacher and con artist, a former Black Panther supporting a group of tenants whose building is threatened, several recovering or indulging alcoholics, and the wealthy donors who fund Love Palace, the community center where Martha ends up. Martha's psychoanalyst, Madame Landowska, complete with Viennese accent, may be my favorite character: scolding, conservative, kind, beautifully dressed. What keeps the reader turning pages is Martha, endlessly sassy and smart, often impulsive, sometimes unbearable, but in the end rendering the people around her with sympathy and complexity."

 

Read the first chapter of Love Palace

Irene Weinberger Books is an imprint of Hamilton Stone Editions.  We publish a limited number of literary works in e-book and trade paperback format, often in collaboration with other presses. We assume graceful style, whatever the genre and whether the tone of the work is edgy, realistic, poetic, humorous, or experimental. We also look for powerful narrative momentum, whether the story is highly plotted or superficially uneventful.

 

See our catalog here. Order our books from your local book store (for a bricks-and-mortar store near you, try Indie Store Finder), or from Amazon.com , Barnes & Noble , or directly from Hamilton Stone Editions.
To order the Foreverland Press e-book edition in any format, click here; to order for Kindle, click here; to order from Barnes &Noble, click here.
Buy from your favorite bricks-and-mortar bookstore or from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from Hamilton Stone Editions directly at Orders.
ISBN: 978-0-9836668-5-1
Cost: $16.95
Buy Now

 

Oradell at Sea (e-book edition)

(click here for information about the hard copy)

 

Oradell Greengold is the brassy narrator of Meredith Sue Willis' Oradell at Sea. She spends her days and her deceased husband's fortune cruising on first-class luxury liners where young Greek deckhands wait on her hand and foot-rub.

While aboard the Golden Argonaut from Acapulco to San Juan, Oradell describes her gritty Appalachian upbringing in a West Virginia coal-mining town. Her first husband, a passionate union organizer, was the love of her life. Her next husband showed her the seedy side of Las Vegas. In New York she got lucky with her third and last husband, whom she met while waiting on tables in a Greek restaurant.

In between reminiscences, Oradell befriends a jaded young California girl and spends more time with the Greek staff than with the other ship passengers. Oradell is a modern-day Mae West who unapologetically enjoys her wealth and its privileges, which includes boozing it up with the help. She never turns sloppy and sentimental, even when faced with a potentially life-threatening illness.

                                   -- Hal Jacobs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

For more commentary on Oradell at Sea, click here.
To buy from Amazon.com, click here; Barnes & Noble here; all formats, click here.
The hard copy edition of Oradell at Sea is published by West Virginia University Press . It is available from the publisher or from your bricks-and-mortar bookstore (try Indie Store Finder) or from various online publishers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

 

Losing Aaron

 

 

 

 

 

Chronogram Review says, "In this memoir, New Paltz-based Hughes tells the story of her son Aaron's suicide. An intelligent, wry doctoral student studying physics at MIT, Aaron began showing symptoms of schizophrenia at 24. Weaving art, letters, and journal entries from Aaron with her recollections and reactions, Hughes provides a poignant example of introspective reflection. The series of memories that Hughes captures in vivid scene writing illustrates the unthinkable grief surrounding loss while examining how mental illness affects everyday lives."

 

In Losing Aaron, Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes has written a compelling tale of a mother's struggle with her son's mental illness and suicide. She makes us understand how, when one person in a family suffers from the cruelty of schizophrenia, it informs and defines the lives of all those who love that person. We come away knowing not only a mother's loss, but the complexity, wonder, and sadness of the life that has been lost, and the immense struggles that come before and after the loss."

      - Jay Neugeboren, author of Imagining Robert, Transforming Madness, Max Baer and the Star of David, etc.

 

I know that love well, as it is what keeps our family going too - and we know we are fortunate that my son Ben follows the "house rules" of taking his medication each day, under our supervision.  Any day he could choose not to (as he, like Aaron, doesn't think he needs it) - and we have seen too many times where that would lead us: straight to the hospital, and down the chute to square one again. This book renewed my gratitude for the extra days we have gotten with Ben - days that this author's family was denied. Her pain and love, and her struggle to also live her own life as writer, wife and mother - are honestly told.

The pearl in the oyster here is the love the family has for Aaron, and how they do their best to support him in the only ways they know how, even though he consistently refuses the medication that might have changed his life.

Every family member with courage to share their story about mental illness in a loved one opens the door of understanding just a bit more - and that can help reduce stigma and spark action to help those with mental illness and their families.  The author begins with the fact of Aaron's suicide, so we know where this is headed and yet we still root for Aaron - and his Mom, Dad, sister and stepdad - to get the support, education, and understanding needed to change the outcome we know is inevitable. Alas, that doesn't happen - but Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes opens her heart to us as we share in her confusion, frustration and helplessness in the face of a devastating illness that seems to steal the soul of someone we love.

              Randye Kaye, Ben Behind His Voice: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope

 

With courage and clarity, Ingrid Hughes chronicles her brilliant, beloved son's inexorable path to suicide as he is consumed by mental illness. This deeply personal narrative evokes the living, breathing complexity of a family shattered by grief and bonded by love.

- Mindy Lewis, author of Life Inside: A Memoir

 

Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes....vividly portrays what it is to be a helpless intimate stranger in a bewildering world where reason and love are irrelevant. She brings us to the one way mirror of schizophrenia....a bewildering world where reason and love are irrelevant.

-- Grace Wapner

 

Order Losing Aaron from your local book store (for a bricks-and-mortar store near you, try Indie Store Finder), or from Amazon.com , Barnes & Noble .
ISBN: 9780990376736
Cost: $16.95
Buy Now

 

Riverside

by Miguel A. Ortiz

 

See our catalog here. Order our books from your local book store (for a bricks-and-mortar store near you, try Indie Store Finder), or from Amazon.com , Barnes & Noble , or directly from Hamilton Stone Editions.
To order the Foreverland Press e-book edition in any format, click here; to order for Kindle, click here; to order from Barnes &Noble, click here.
Buy from your favorite bricks-and-mortar bookstore or from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from Hamilton Stone Editions directly at Orders.
ISBN: 978-0-9836668-5-1
Cost: $16.95

Buy Now

 

Write Something

by Mitch Levenberg

 

 

Mitch Levenberg has a unique voice, and this unusual little collection is a pleasure. Most of the stories in it have to do with writing and especially with readings--that is, the public performance of writing. Levenberg is wonderful at getting at the existential experience of readings--those moments where you know the audience is feeling the story, or not feeling it, or you (the author) are finding something new in it or--the ultimate--you start channelling Walt Whitman, Kafka, and "the man or woman who wrote that poem on the bathroom wall" that you read while taking a pee before you started. He nails the funny quirks of readers--such as the woman who looks at her watch every 30 seconds ("I know it's rude for an audience member to look at her watch; I wonder if it works the other way around") and keeps breaking off in the middle of her poems, saying she's accidentally read the wrong version.

 
Order Write Something from your local book store (for a bricks-and-mortar store near you, try Indie Store Finder), or from Amazon.com , Barnes & Noble , or from Hamilton Stone Editions directly at Orders.
Write Something is also available as an e-book at Kindle.
ISBN: 9780983666899
Cost: $9.99
Buy Now

 

 

 

 

 

The Demential Diaries

by Mitch Levenberg

 

 

The Dementia Diaries is the story, in journal form, of the last five months of the narrator's mother's life in an assisted living facility in Florida. As time goes on he begins to realize it is no longer he who can depend on his mother but she who now must depend on him for her very survival. At the same time, with her oncoming Dementia, he must cope more and more with her feelings of frustration and humiliation. "If I tell her she needs to take her medication . . . she gets angry and wants to die," he writes. 'Why are you doing this to me?' she says. 'Why are you doing this to your mother?' "She begins to remind me," the narrator says, "of the Exorcist when the devil takes over the priest's mother. 'Why do you do this to me!" she screams at him. 'You are not my mother!' the priest screams back. But he is wrong. She is his mother. She is all our mothers and we are all her sons."

 

 
Order Write Something from your local book store (for a bricks-and-mortar store near you, try Indie Store Finder), or from Amazon.com , Barnes & Noble , or from Hamilton Stone Editions directly at Orders.
ISBN: ISBN 978-0-9903767-1-2
Cost: $9.99
Buy Now

 


 

Our Cooperating Publishers:

Foreverland Press
Hamilton Stone Editions
West Virginia University Press

 

 

 

Irene Weinberger Books does not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

 

 

Reviews of Our Books

 

Love Palace has received Multiple 5-star reviews:

     “We’re in the Limina,” says John King, the handsome, charismatic spiritual advisor to staff and clients at Love Palace, once a strip club now a community center/settlement house that seems doomed to fail. The waterfront neighborhood around the Love Palace is being razed and the tenants forced to make way for expensive new buildings and rich new tenants. For the neighborhood and the people in it, things are in flux. Everything seems to be, as John says, at “a threshold, a moment between time.”

    This is certainly true for Martha, 42 years old,”alone and lonely, chronically underemployed,” maxed out on her credit cards, and behind on payments for her apartment. After she tells off her boss, who’s arrears in paying her salary, she quits her job, and holes up in her apartment, consoling herself with pizza, buffalo wings, and spaghetti. Having eaten up the food in her apartment, Martha splurges at an expensive restaurant, where she meets Robby over her Eggs Benedictine with Canadian bacon. She strikes up a conversation with him and finds Robby, who’s good-looking, winsome, well-built, and half her age (her car is older than he is), has problems of his own. After a few minutes of conversation, Robby asks Martha to marry him. Flattered, but judging him a sweet fruitcake, Martha takes him home—just for the night, she thinks. Her plan goes awry, but in a good way. Due to this chance meeting, Martha ends up at the Love Palace, with a job and new living quarters. There she meets Robby’s friends, intriguing characters like the Good News Crew, a Christian rock band; a young runaway; Black Frank; White Frank; an eccentric cook; and John King, the guru the whole group adores.

    Some of the story is told through Martha’s sessions with her therapist, a peroxide-blonde called Madame Landowska. We learn about Martha’s low self-esteem and her tendency to try to escape anxiety by having sex with different men. Adding to her problems is her feeling of guilt because she can’t bring herself to visit Nana, her grandmother, who has had a stroke and is in a nursing home on the brink of death.

Nana, who raised Martha and her younger sister, Mari, had belonged to the Old Left and worked to overcome economic injustice. She’s at the heart of one of the major themes in this story, the theme of social responsibility and the questions of who will take up the traditions of working to change things for the better and what how are those traditions changing. One of the first people Martha meets in her new neighborhood is Ace, once a Black Panther, now continuing his work for social justice through tenant organizing in the Waterfront District neighborhood.

     Love Palace treats basic human issues like sexuality, class conflict, religion, family conflict, and death with the currency, seriousness, and humor they deserve. Fans of Willis’s Oradell at Sea will love this story, and readers who like this story should read Oradell at Sea. Both books feature a smart, good-hearted woman with a slightly checkered past at the center of a small but important struggle against heavy odds, and both books show Willis’s page-turning story-telling comedic talent at its tough and gentle best.

                           --  Eddy Pendarvis

 

 

Meredith Sue Willis turns her considerable talents to explore a new part of the world: the downtrodden New Jersey waterfront undergoing a radical Gold Coast transformation. In LOVE PALACE Willis has created a memorable cast of characters and a pitch perfect sense of place. The tale of a quixotic battle against redevelopment is narrated by an unlikely heroine. Martha Miller is neurotic, over-educated, under-achieving, over-libidoed, and in a tailspin over being left by Rotter number 3, her long-term boyfriend. (Rotter number 1 was her father; Rotter number 2, her ex-husband). Martha suffers from agoraphobia and low self-esteem, but one thing she’s good at is attracting men and enjoying sex. A man/boy half her age (twenty-one), devastatingly good-looking, and sexually conflicted picks her up at a bar and takes her home to Love Palace. From then on the novel is a wild rollicking ride.

The cast of characters includes: the young runaways and homeless addicts who inhabit Love Palace; the soon-to-be-evicted tenants including a former Black Panther, who live next door; the charismatic cult leader John whose need to connect with everyone includes having sex; Robby, the man/boy who uses Jesus to fight his homosexual attractions and asks Martha to marry him on their first date; Robbie’s wealthy parents whose church supports Love Palace, where the John preaches while seducing Robbie’s mother; Martha’s communist Jewish grandmother who raised her and is dying in a nursing home; Martha’s therapist, Madame Landowska, who insists on payment to continue treatment but comes to Martha’s wedding (“I adore weddings,” she tells Martha, “They represent hope for the future.”); and more. These characters come alive as an incredible range of vivid individuals each with their own flaws and yearnings, seen through the sharp eyes of the empathetic narrator.

It is Martha’s ability to sympathize with even the creepiest characters which gives nuance to what is essentially a morality tale: pitting the disenfranchised poor against the steamroller of capitalism. Who is stealing money from Love Palace’s bank account? Will Martha and Robbie’s unlikely marriage work? Can the little guy ever win? We are propelled through action-packed scenes to an unexpected and satisfying conclusion. If at times the personalities are so large that they verge on caricature, they are redeemed by the deftness of the author’s touch.

                                -- Deborah Clearman    

 

 

Love Palace is a pageturner, in the voice of Martha, a savvy, funny woman of forty, who starts from down and almost out: “Just one more one-night stand. I’ve done everything else, eaten badly, gotten my therapist mad at me, rent due. I’ll take one more step down before I go job hunting. Pick up a baby stranger! Feel totally shitty! Adelante! Yes!” The baby stranger, who turns out not to be so strange, nor such a baby, is the first of a cast of diverse characters Martha connects with, all well-drawn and compelling. They include a charismatic preacher and con artist, a former Black Panther supporting a group of tenants whose building is threatened, several recovering or indulging alcoholics, and the wealthy donors who fund Love Palace, the community center where Martha ends up. Martha’s psychoanalyst, Madame Landowska, complete with Viennese accent, may be my favorite character: scolding, conservative, kind, beautifully dressed. What keeps the reader turning pages is Martha, endlessly sassy and smart, often impulsive, sometimes unbearable, but in the end rendering the people around her with sympathy and complexity.    

                   --  "Riding"

 

 

 

The characters in "Love Palace" were all seriously flawed--like many of us in real life. I saw the preacher for the creep he was right away and had the feeling the protagonist knew John's flaws too but didn't quite want to believe it because he was handsome and charming. Besides, Martha always picks the wrong men. And boy, does she pick the wrong ones in this book! Marrying Robby? The reader KNOWS it isn't going to work, and even Martha knows it. What I like about the novel is that I could relate to Martha's getting on board the train she knows is going to wreck. We all do it sometimes. There's something hopeful about it--that it will turn out okay this time even when we know it really won't.    

                                              -- Donna S. Meredith   

 

 

  Between husbands, lovers, and jobs, a kooky woman meets a handsome young born-again-Christian in a local bar. He he is both wealthy and confused about his sexuality. The two become a pair and he sets out to help her find a job and get her life in order.      Their first stop is his place of employment, LOVE PALACE, a rather mission-like place for the down-and-out and wayward.     The story combines fuzzy family relationships, sibling rivalry, con artists, and the helping professions in a humorous mix.     Never one to ignore her West Virginia bible belt origins, Willis creates "big city" characters with West Virginia roots, complete with an activist Jewish grandmother languishing in a nursing home, an off-beat working class mother, an absent father, and a sparring sister.     As one expects with a Willis novel, the well-developed characters are slightly off kilter but are treated fairly: Charlatans are charlatans, domineering mothers are domineering, but none are unredeemable.     The novel takes a look at the issue of urban renewal without being preachy.     The humorous take on life is refreshing and the dialogue is spot on.       

 

                    -- P.J Moore

 

 

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