Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A remarkable story... The Year of the Bear by Douglas J. Lanzo

"Mr. Lanzo does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life, and allowing young adults to make real world connections to the subject matter and the characters in his work. The Year of the Bear is an engaging and compelling read." Gregory, Goodreads


Published: November 1st, 2022

A remarkable story of a bear and the coming-of-age journey of a teenage boy.

Thirteen-year-old Jason is on the cusp of manhood, striving to fi nd his place at school and at home—especially after his mother has abandoned them and his father is left to deal with his own anger. When Jason and his father encounter a bear while out hunting, they shoot and kill it, not realizing that they have left a cub without its mother. When Sasquot of the Penobscot Tribe, a part of the Bear Family, discovers what they have done, he decides that Jason needs a lesson in caring for God’s creatures. Thus begins a year that Jason will never forget as he begins to care and train the cub in order for it to survive. As Jason forms a bond with the bear, he, in turn, learns valuable lessons for life.

“Fans of classic, enthralling adventure (and I’m one) are in for a rare treat.”-Josh Lieb

New York Times best-selling and Emmy Award-winning author of I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President


Author's Top 5 favourite movies

My favorite film of all time is Casablanca, a great romance set in Vichy Morocco during World War II and filmed on a modest budget during the spring and summer of 1942 before it was even known who the victor would be.  Featuring legendary performances from Humphrey Bogart as the unflappable, but at heart romantic, Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as the dramatic beauty, Ilsa Lund, Paul Henreid as the inspirational resistance leader, Victor Laszlo, and Claude Rains as the masterfully unpredictable Captain Renault as well as mesmerizing piano playing by the Rick’s loyal sidekick, Sam, played with realistic flair by Dooley Wilson.  Incidentally, “As Time Goes By” is one of my favorite cinema pieces, and I mastered it on our home piano in high school after falling in love with the movie.

Another of my movie favorites growing up was Chariots of Fire, which helped inspire me to become a high school record holder in cross-country and track and Division 1 collegiate runner.  As a middle school boy, I recall playing Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire music many times over on a grand piano in our Church’s music room, inspired by the larger-than-life story behind it.  
The Chariots of Fire soundtrack is a tribute to the extraordinary feat that Liddell accomplished and how he accomplished it.  Surpassed in pure 400-meter running talent by a number of his 1924 Olympic competitors, Liddell simply honored God and God honored him back, defeating heavily favored American champion, Horatio Fitch, in the 400-meter final, a much longer than optimal distance for him.  Astonishing the audibly gasping crowd, Liddell took over a 3 second lead within the first 200 meters and then sprinted the remaining 200 meters in spirited, ungainly form to set a world record and shatter his personal best by an astounding 2 seconds. 

As an adult, I was mesmerized by Alex Honnold’s incredible mental fortitude and dexterous freeclimb up the massive granite face of El Capitan in Free Solo.  Completed in 3 hours and 56 minutes, his death-defying ascent marked the first free solo ascent of El Capitan, one of the most technically challenging free climbs in the world that has ever been attained.   His feat, heralded as "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever", was documented by climber and photographer Jimmy Chin, who feared that Alex would perish during the shoot.

Despite my heritage being 50% Italian and The Godfather’s generally negative stereotyping of its Italian-American characters, I savor Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful film direction and the defining performances of Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and James Caan in this timeless classic, which I have never gotten tired of watching for the umpteenth time over the years.  It is a brilliant coming of age tale of Michael Corleone’s rise to power, by the film’s end succeeding his ailing father and poised to avenge the treacherous slaying of his older brother, Sonny. 

Another film that I found both haunting and riveting was Legends of the Fall, set on a remote Montana ranch, and the near supernatural connections between bears, Indians and the character of Tristan Ludlow in the film.  I was riveted by the hot-blooded but sympathetic character of Tristan played by a youthful and commanding Brad Pitt and the devastatingly plausible portrayal of his loving but heartbroken father, Colonel William Ludlow, played by Anthony Hopkins.  Part of my inspiration for my novel, The Year of the Bear, was derived from almost mystical scenes with Native Americans, the Ludlow family and bears.  This includes its unforgettable ending, where an aged Tristan is fatally mauled in an almost supernatural attack by a grizzly bear towering over an animal carcass that is narrated by a Cree elder and close family friend.  Old Stab tingled my spine when he described how Tristan had lived his life with honor and concluded: “It was a good death.”

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About the author:
An award-winning and featured inspirational author published in Vita Brevis Press’ bestselling 2021 poetry anthology and Café Haiku’s upcoming 2021 Fifth Poetry Anthology and featured in WestWard Quarterly’s Winter 2021 issue, since 2020 Douglas’ poetry has found homes in thirty-eight literary publications across the U.S., Canada, England, Wales, Austria, Mauritius, India, Australia, and The Caribbean. A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, where Douglas enjoyed writing editorials for The Harvard Crimson and articles for various other Harvard publications, he has published professional legal articles throughout his career. A General Counsel by day and writer by night, Douglas resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife and twelve-year old identical twin boys, fellow published poets, enjoying nature, traveling, biking, tennis, and chess.

Author's Giveaway:
1 Winner will receive a finished copy of THE YEAR OF THE BEAR, US Only.

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