Posts Tagged ‘books’


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Around the world






If you didn’t get a chance to listen to Wednesday’s The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, please do. This week’s guests took us around the world in 60 minutes and with them we visited Cuba, the Caribbean and the Congo.

First up was author Ruth Behar. Ruth was born in Cuba, but raised in New York by Jewish parents, her mother of European descent (Ashkenazim) and her father a Sephardi Jew with roots in Turkey. Ruth’s latest book is Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in Between Journeys, and in it she shares stories of her cultural heritage and the conflict she has suffered since being forced to leave Cuba when the Castro regime took over the island nation. But Ruth’s story could be yours and mine. Don’t we all struggle with our identity? Ruth’s descriptions of Cuba in our interview and her abject honesty about her struggle as a Cuban-American are only part of the reason I suggest you read this gripping memoir by the award-winning writer.

Next up was journalist Michael Deibert whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal among others, and who has been a commentator on international affairs for the BBC, Al Jazeera, National Public Radio. But in recent years, Michael has worked to increase and sustain dialogue on international peace-building and development issues, with a particular focus on Africa and Latin America. His new book, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Between Hope and Despair is a take-no-prisoners look at the Congo, and is a cut-above the usual fare, as is our conversation. Do listen and do read the eye-opening book. You’ll be curious to hear Michael’s take on the Bush II and Clinton Administrations. Enjoy.

Third up on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show: Every so often a writer comes along with a truly unusual voice and that fits the description of award-winning author Robert Antoni. What an interesting life Robert has led, and what a fascinating family he is a part of. Robert was raised in the Bahamas, but his grandparents were early settlers of Trinidad and Tobago, with a heck of a story to tell. Robert’s latest masterpiece As Flies to Whatless Boys is fiction based on his family history. Magical, mystical, melodic is the only way to describe this coming of age story filled with unique characters and plot twists. Don’t miss this one.

The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds airs Wednesdays at 3 pm ET but podcasts of the show are available for your listening pleasure from multiple venues. You can download the podcast FREE from iTunes @, listen @ or for your mobile connection find us at

Miami Book Fair

By the way, all three of my guests will be making appearances at the Miami Book Fair International November 17-24.  Check out the book fair’s website for date and times of appearances, and to see a list of all the authors participating in the fair and the many events that will take place. I’ll be there, so come on down to Miami and let’s meet in person!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog


Many of you have asked in which order you should read Andrew Gross’ thrillers. Here’s what Andrew suggested when I asked him: 

“No real order. Only The Dark Tide, Don’t Look Twice, and Reckless were part of a series, and could be read in that order. The rest are stand alones. I like starting with the most recent and working back. But no one ever threw The Blue Zone, my first, against the wall and said it wasn’t a damn good read!”

So there you go!

And just in case you missed my interview with the fun and adorable, as well as incredibly talented Andrew Gross and his fellow thriller writers, Steve Berry and Wiley Cash, it’s not too late to have a listen to a really fun hour, especially the round table conversation. You won’t believe what each of them revealed about themselves!

Download the podcast FREE from iTunes.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Hi my friends,

Oh my… another weekend is upon us. Honestly, I want to scream: SLOW DOWN! Time is just racing by. I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, there are not enough hours in the day. If I allowed myself, I’d be on that treadmill running like a hamster 24/7, but even I know sometimes it’s good to relax. So join me this weekend, even if you have to force yourself and take a little time for yourselves. Here’s some interesting reading for your pleasure.

Have a peaceful and restful weekend!










Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Good morning, everyone!

Have a great weekend? I hope so.

I finally saw Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”. It’s a movie everyone should see. I think it is one of the most successful films about American history ever produced. It manages to do something that historical films often fail to do: Let the historical figures prove their own heroism vs. building their grandeur into a script, which often leads to caricature. Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Fields and Tommy Lee Jones’ performances will knock your socks off. There wasn’t one bit player in the film, each performance Oscar worthy. John William’s score is riveting and sometimes even fun. The lighting and set designs are superior, as are the costumes and makeup. Yes, as you can tell, I loved the movie, and hope that you will all see it. Even in the awful days of our fight over slavery, our Congress managed to reach consensus and do what was right for the country. It makes one wonder why the clowns in office today who are fighting over something as ridiculous as a budget, even deserve to be there. Think about how trivial our nation’s arguments are in comparison to what they were in the days of the Civil War. If that doesn’t put things in perspective, I don’t know what will.

Some of you may not know of my interest in the Civil War. Have a look at my book “STILL LIFE images of Antietam.”  There are copies still available. Contact our offices and we’ll arrange to get you a copy. It’s a great gift for Valentine’s Day.

It’s a busy day for me as I prepare for Wednesday’s show, which we’ll announce later today. I think you’ll like this one.

Here are some stories for morning thoughts.






Have a great day.



Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Good morning, my friends,

It’s Monday, and my morning thoughts are like scrambled eggs after too much food and wine over a warm and friend-filled weekend. So, in my first course of this week’s news here are a mishmash of today’s top stories. By the way, no one makes hash browns like IHOP!






Have a great day, everyone!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog






As those of you who listen to The Halli Casser-Jayne Show know, we love books. We don’t care in what form they are created be they hardcover, trade paper or ebook. For us,  it is content that counts. So in our short history as a The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds, we’ve brought you a great many authors. Now we are being sponsored by the Miami Book Fair International, a phenomenal fair featuring the best authors from around the world. By the way, if you are in the Miami area November 11-18th I’m recommending that you visit the 29th edition of the Miami Book Fair International in downtown Miami at Miami Dade College. There you can hob-nob with some of the great writers of the world and meet some of the authors who have been guests on our show, and others of the 300 plus authors appearing at MBFI that include Tom Wolfe, Junot Diaz, Dave Barry. Ann LaMott, Lemony Snickett, Robert Caro, Emma Donoghue.

So it breaks our hearts, here on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, when we see what is happening to the business of publishing. I just received an e-mail that I’m going to share with you. It contains an extremely well-written piece by New York Times best selling author and Shark Tank survivor Michael Levin, a nationally acknowledged thought leader on the future of publishing. Have a read and weep. At the end of the article find an announcement, special for our readers of The Halli Casser-Jayne blog.

Publishers, Weakly: What The
Penguin/Random House Merger Really
By: Michael Levin

When I saw the word “synergies” applied to the proposed merger of publishing giants Penguin and Random House, I laughed out loud.  “Synergies” is Wall Street-speak for “Let’s merge two failing companies, fire half the employees, run the resulting business more cheaply, suck out all the money we can as quickly as we can, and then leave the wounded, gasping beast that is the resulting company to die a miserable, public death.”

Which is exactly why “synergies” best describes the merger of two of the biggest names in the publishing industry, which is wringing its hands over the immediate consequences of this deal, which really represents one more death rattle of the once thriving book publishing trade.

Here’s what happens now:  lots of editorial, marketing, and other jobs will vanish.  Agents will have fewer places to sell books.  Fewer books will be published.  Authors will get even less money (if that’s even possible, since some publishers are paying zero advances whenever they can get away with it).  And the pontificators will pontificate on what it all means to society (not much, since most of society has already given up on reading books).

Here’s what happens next:  the remaining major publishers will find it harder to compete, because the resulting publisher (Penguin House?) will be able to produce books more cheaply.  So they’ll fire people, merge, fire more people, and eventually roll over and die.

All because publishers never figured out how to deal with the Internet and how to sell books in a wired world.

All because publishers considered themselves “special” and thought they could get away with selling products they didn’t market.

All because publishers are English majors wearing Daddy’s work clothes and pretending to be business people, running their businesses on whim and gut feeling instead of figuring out what people want and giving it to them, the way smart businesses work.

I have no pity for the fallen publishers.  In Wall Street terms, there isn’t enough lipstick in the world to make these pigs kissable.  They had the responsibility to shape society by providing it with books worth reading, to create a cultural legacy for our generation and generations to come.  And instead, what did they give us?

Ann Coulter, Navy SEALs, and Fifty Shades of Gray.

The publishers will blame everyone in sight for their predicament, but this is a self-inflicted wound; what the Brits would call an “own goal.”

You can’t run a successful business passively waiting for people (in this case, literary agents) to tell you what you should produce.

You can’t run a successful business by throwing 10,000 strands of spaghetti (or 10,000 books a year, in Random House’s case) against the wall of public opinion and seeing what sticks.

You can’t run a successful business selling information in the form of printed books by putting them on trucks to distant cities, hoping that booksellers (anyone who can fog a mirror, run a cash register and repeat the phrase, “We don’t have it but we could order it for you”) will actively work to sell your stuff to people.

Bottom line:  you can’t run a successful business when you are essentially competing with yourself.  If Barnes & Noble doesn’t sell a Simon & Schuster book within three weeks, it sends the book back to Simon & Schuster, at Simon & Schuster’s expense, only to have that same space on the shelf filled with…wait for it…a different Simon & Schuster book.

That’s not marketing.

That’s masochism.

A New York editor who worked at Penguin once told me that his boss called all the employees into a meeting and said, “If there’s any merger talk, you’ll hear about it from me and not from the New York Times.”

A few days later, he was reading The New York Times on the subway on the way to work, and read that Penguin was merging with another publisher.

Here we go again.

If it weren’t for Fifty Shades of Gray, Random House (and Barnes & Noble, for that matter) would have been on life support.  There would have been nothing left to merge.

Penguin’s owner, Pearson LLC, is the smartest guy in the room, dumping off Penguin’s trade publishing on Bertlesmann, a German conglomerate which somehow still thinks it can make money selling books.

And now a few thousand more publishing employees are going to leave the world of books and hit the bricks.

So let the hand-wringing begin.  The collapse of a once proud industry has taken a giant step forward.  And there ain’t no synergies in that.

Naomi Wolfe
Camille Paglia
Michael Grunwald
William Chafe
Joan Walsh
Brad Meltzer
Deborah Baker
Ann Coulter


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Tomorrow at 3 pm ET and Thursday at 9 pm ET I will be talking with New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah. To prepare for my interview I just finished reading her newest book Home Front. I’m not going to review the book now but I am going to tell you that this was one moving, riveting story. This book explores the ravages of war on our soldiers and their families. Hannah, after extensive research, spares us not at all. She annihilates the VA for its lack of support for our returning vets. She explores Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and white washes nothing in her portrayal of its affects on those who served.

There’s a sad reality, as I will discuss on tomorrow’s show and that is that few of us ever encounter our defenders in our daily lives. This book gets in your face as to what our fellow Americans risk for our country. I will be honest. It left me ashamed that I call myself an American. They sacrifice so much; what do we give back to our warriors?

I encourage you all to read Home Front. I’m not going to tell you that it’s an easy read. But I am going to say that it is one helluva book that you won’t be able to put down. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be frightened, you’ll be shaken. And when you are, just remember, what you’ll feel reading this brilliantly carved story ain’t nothing compared to our fellow Americans who risk life and limb for the rest of us.

OK, maybe this is a review. We will discuss Home Front further with Kristin Hannah, tomorrow on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show. You can listen in right here on Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.


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