Book reviews TuesdayBookBlog

#TuesdayBookBlog Give My Regards to Nowhere: A Director’s Tale by Richard Engling (@RichardEngling)

Hi all:

Another discovery thanks to Rosie’s Book Review Team. A hilarious story that I recommend to those who love the world of theatre as much as I do.

Give My Regards to Nowhere by Richard Engling

Give My Regards to Nowhere: A Director’s Tale by Richard Engling

Chicago director Dwayne Finnegan has a long shot at the big time and only two obstacles: himself and everyone he knows.

Dwayne’s got an idea of how to direct Shakespeare’s least-favorite play that could set him on the road to Broadway. We’re talking Bob Fosse choreography, Jimi Hendrix guitars, and the hottest cast in the city of Chicago. But when the show’s producer cuts out with the cash, Dwayne decides to produce the show himself, putting his marriage and his meager finances at risk. What could go wrong?

About the author:

Richard Engling is a Chicago actor, playwright, and novelist, whose books include the novels, GIVE MY REGARDS TO NOWHERE: A DIRECTOR’S TALE, VISIONS OF ANNA and BODY MORTGAGE, and the collection of plays, ANTIGONE AND MACBETH: ADAPTATIONS FOR A WAR-TORN TIME. His plays also include GHOST WATCH and ANNA IN THE AFTERLIFE and have been produced in Chicago and elsewhere.

My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (author, check here if you are interested in getting your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for this opportunity.

I had no previous knowledge of the author of this novel, although from his biography it is evident that he has plenty of experience in the world of theatre, especially Chicago theatre, in different roles, and as I have an interest in theatre and drama, as a spectator, student, and reader of plays, and in Shakespeare plays in particular, I couldn’t pass the occasion to check this out.

I was lucky to see an amateur production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus at Sussex University many years back. I don’t remember it in detail, but despite this being one of the least well-liked and more controversial of the bard’s plays, I found it very moving and loved it, as much as one can love a play with murder, revenge, betrayal, rape, and cannibalism among its themes. So, the fact that the plot of the novel involved the staging of a modernised version of Titus Andronicus, with rock music, choreography, dance, and an alternative casting challenging preconceptions and racism running through the play (two African-American actors play two of the most important roles), added to the interest for me. And although I don’t know much about the Chicago theatre scene, the author is well-versed on the subject, as many of the reviewers have noted, so that was the cherry on the cake for me.

The main protagonist, the director of the play, Dwayne Finnegan, discovers that the main actor -and one of the motors behind the idea- has dropped it, but, with some encouragement from his wife, Angela, he decides to carry on. He is a theatre lover, well-intentioned but ambitious, and not beyond telling a lie (or three) to get his way. Although Dwayne is the main character, and his long-suffering wife, Angela, a teacher not directly involved in this world, also plays an important role (and is a fabulous character), this is an ensemble novel, very much like a repertoire theatre company, full of memorable characters: Dwayne’s friends and reluctant investors, Chaz and Aleister (one who helps and one who mostly hinders the proceeds while getting himself into trouble at the same time), Tom, choreographer, friend, inspiration and supporter, the cast of players: Coco, not always likeable but a force of nature and a woman who knows what she wants; an older star going through a crisis but a great actor nonetheless; an upcoming new actor full of existential doubts who needs to move beyond his preconceptions; a young actress whose plight mimics what happens in the play (and some of the themes and motifs of the play are revisited upon the cast members in one way or another); a musician who doesn’t always remember his role in the play; some other colourful individuals, like the owner of the theatre, for whom dates and times are a moveable feast… Most of all, I loved Joan, the stage manager, and Ingrid, who started as the set designer and ended up becoming so much more. Both are amazing.

There is plenty of comedy and even slapstick (electroshocks and all. Don’t ask, you’ll have to read the novel), and some might get a bit repetitive after a while, especially Dwayne’s invocations of a variety of Saints and religious motifs to express his amazement, surprise, annoyance, horror… but, let’s say that by the end we get to understand that he is, perhaps, as peculiar and original are Joan and Ingrid are, in his own special way.

The novel is written in the third person, in chronological order, from Dwayne’s point-of-view, and it takes the reader through the whole process of creation, rehearsals, performances, and the aftermath. The writing is dynamic, easy to follow, and contains just enough detail for theatre lovers to enjoy it without the action getting bogged down or slowed with unnecessary trivia.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but I’ll only say that I enjoyed the ending, and I think most readers will be happy with it as well. I was also pleased to read that there might be more adventures for Dwayne (and I hope the whole company) in the future, and I’d love to read them.

If I had to make a suggestion to the author it would be to, perhaps, add a cast of characters, which might be helpful as well if there are future novels involving the company, both to refresh the memory of those who had read the first one and to familiarise new readers with the Psychedelic Dream Theater.

Especially recommended to those who like the theatre and are curious about how things work backstage, those who enjoy novels with a large and varied cast of characters, and anybody who appreciates slapstick, Shakespeare, and stories with a heart.

Thanks to Rosie and her team for their support, thanks to the author for this fun story, and thanks to all of you for reading, sharing, commenting, and, don’t forget to always keep smiling.


Guest classic author revisited. Oscar Wilde. And a question. Have you written a book based on a classic?

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I bring you guest authors and books, in a shape or another, and recently I decided to start exploring classics again. As my original posts are quite old I thought it might be worth sharing some of the early ones again as many of you might not have been visiting at the time and might enjoy them.

I got many interesting suggestions for other guests that I’ve taken note of (and it’s likely that I’ll start exploring quite a few of them) but an author I know made a suggestion that resonated with me. She told me that one of her books (I’ll share in a few weeks as by the sound of it, it should be a fabulous read) follows quite closely on the steps of a famous classic and she commented on how tagging a new book related to a classic to a post on the classic itself might be a good way to kill two birds with one stone. And I thought, genius! So, although I have a few in mind, if you’ve written a book that is either a new version, a continuation, explores one of the characters,  takes place in the world of a classic (or even has one of the writers as a character), or has any strong link to a classic, please let me know in the comments or contact me with the details and I’ll add it to my list. 

And now, without further ado, one of my favourites. I bring you my post on Oscar Wilde. As you know I also shared the Selfish Giant over Christmas. And I’m sure I’ll keep on sharing his work.
It’s Friday and it’s again with great pleasure that I bring you one of my favourite authors. Yes, yes, he’s no longer with us but I feel he could hardly be with us more than he is. I’ve loved Oscar Wilde from a young age. I remember my friend Margarita would read everything Poe (I also enjoyed him) and I asked for the complete works of Oscar Wilde as a Christmas present. And loved them!

Oscar Wilde in New York
Oscar Wilde in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What can I tell you about him? There are films, biographies, and more recently even novels where he is a character in its own right (involved in quite fun intrigues).

He was born in Dublin in 1853. His father was a doctor and a well-known eminent one. His mother wrote revolutionary poems, spoke several European languages and translated many works. He had an older brother and a sister who died of Scarlet Fever (I love ‘Requiescat’…simple and touching, quite different from much of his other work).

He was an excellent student, excelled at classics, studied at Trinity College in Dublin and Magdalene College in Oxford and became enamoured with aestheticism, to the point where he went to America to deliver a series of lectures on the subject.

He was writing poetry, early plays, went to France and married Constance Lloyd an educated woman with her own mind. He wrote Dorian and in rapid succession many of his plays and became very popular.

His wit is legendary, his homosexuality too, his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, trial, imprisonment, his famous ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ all well known…And he died in Paris in 1900 and you can see his grave at La Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I love Epstein’s angel sculpture on his grave (Yes, of course I’ve visited. More than once).

Tomb of Oscar Wilde by Jacob Epstein
Tomb of Oscar Wilde by Jacob Epstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I’ve been there recently and now it has a glass case around it to avoid the kisses, but there are still kisses.

There are many websites about Oscar Wilde, I leave you one link but…many…

Before I offer you free links to some of his works in electronic format I will offer you some of his quotes. There are so many….

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

— “An Ideal Husband”

“The Book of Life begins with a man and woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations.”

— “A Woman of No Importance”

“Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualification.”

— “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime”

“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”

— “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

“One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.”

— “A Woman of No Importance”

“I prefer women with a past. They’re always so damned amusing to talk to.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

“I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn’t mean.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

“Men become old, but they never become good.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

“A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain.”

— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

And now a few links. There are also very cheap versions of his works so…

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

‘The Picture of Doria Gray’

‘The Canterville Ghost’

‘An Ideal Husband’

The Happy Prince and Other Tales (I adore his tales. Some are just funny and amusing, but some like the Happy Prince and the Selfish Giant really have a heart).

Selected poems of Oscar Wilde

I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you for reading and please, like, comment, share and CLICK!


‘Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer: And Her Parable of the Tomato Plant’ by Marsha Roberts. Now in audiobook! Narrated by Della Cole

Hi all:

You’ll remember on Tuesday I was telling you about the audio version of my book ‘Escaping Psychiatry’.  Due to my personal interest in the topic of Audiobooks I’ve been talking to other authors and reading information about it wherever I could. Marsha Roberts is one of the authors of the group ASMSG that I mention quite often (and I also belong to). She has also recently published her very successful book ‘Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer: And Her Parable of the Tomato Plant‘ (What a title, eh?) in audiobook format, narrated by the fabulous Della Cole, an actress Marsha and her husband and fellow-author Bob Rector know quite well. As I’ve never brought you her book before, I thought I’d take the chance to introduce you to it. And to Marsha.

Author Marsha Roberts
Author Marsha Roberts


After years of producing Corporate Theater for clients such as IBM and Coca-Cola, Marsha Roberts developed, produced and marketed Letters From The Front, the only professional theatrical production to tour military bases around the world. This heartfelt show touched hundreds of thousands of lives, toured stateside and abroad for fifteen years, was the first play ever to perform at the Pentagon and became known as The World’s Most Decorated Play.

The daunting process of getting this never-been-done-before production off the ground and onto a worldwide stage gave her a keen awareness of what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles and find the miraculous in the commonplace. She shares many of her experiences in her inspirational memoir “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant” which Kirkus Reviews says is “An optimistic look at the magic of life.”

Confessions of an instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer audio
Confessions of an instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer audio

“Anyone who has wondered whether God or miracles are possible in our lifetime will want to read this uplifting book.” ~ Anne Holmes, CEO Natl. Assoc. of Baby Boomer Women

Confessions belongs on the nightstand. When hope is not at hand, it can be.”
~ Dianne Harman, Author

“You feel after reading that the writer is now your friend and you know her so well! Fantastic.” ~ Duncan Whitehead, Author

“So entertaining and full of faith, I had tears streaming down my face… only to find myself laughing a few pages further.” ~ Simon Okill, Author


An optimistic look at the magic of life.” — Kirkus Reviews

Goodreads Listopia Voted #1 Must Read Memoirs ~ #1 Most Inspiring Books ~ #1 Best Happiness Books

An unflinching look at the life of a Baby Boomer woman told with heart, humor and charm. Roberts grapples with the question: how do you keep the twinkle in your eye and the sass in your walk as you get older? The unique way she finds the answer has been described as “Funny, touching and inspirational” ~ “Heart tugging and heart warming” ~ “Delightful”

Roberts takes the reader on a captivating journey where real life collides with real miracles. With stories ranging from candidly intimate to wonderfully adventurous, each chapter or parable uncovers a piece of the puzzle. And as it comes together, the picture that emerges reflects Roberts’ life-affirming belief in God, the essential ingredient in her secret formula for happiness.
A charming and uplifting read, Marsha’s style of writing makes you feel as if you’re with a trusted friend, sharing life lessons over a cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it don’t forget to like, share, comment, CLICK and of course LISTEN!

Ah, and I thought I’d leave you a link to Bob Rector’s great article on the process, steep learning curve and difficulties of creating an audiobook for those of you who might be thinking about it.