Monday, January 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Tin House's Latest

Tin House’s Toward You, by Jim Krusoe, was mentioned today in Kirkus Reviews, receiving recognition as a book of remarkable quality.  The bizarre and lovely story is centered on a man named Bob who studied to get a degree in Auralogy and Past Life Regressology and has a strange tendency to assign importance and meaning to unusual events.  Obviously, when a dog with the same name as him shows up and gets run over outside of his house, Bob’s burial of the animal becomes the springboard to an absurd search for meaning and validation.

Bob meets an ex-classmate he used to fawn over and her new police officer boyfriend as they search for the dog that bit their daughter, Dee Dee.  The little girl and Bob become much closer, however, after she dies and Bob creates a device out of household junk to communicate with the other side.  Toward You is the third book in this series of quirky, heavy-hearted misadventures.  Check it out for yourself.

Friday, January 28, 2011

House Votes to End Taxpayer Funding of U.S. Presidential Elections

 You may notice something missing when you go to do your taxes next year.  Or maybe you won't.  A single box will be removed from 2011, one which lawmakers say is unnecessary and a waste of money:

"House lawmakers on January 26 approved a measure to end the post-Watergate-era option of allowing taxpayers to check a box on their federal tax returns to designate $3 of their tax liability to finance presidential campaigns. Introduced by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the bill (HR 359) would amend the tax code to prohibit taxpayers from financing the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account. Cole said that only 7 percent of American's support the program, which he called a frivolous waste of federal spending used to pay for political party conventions and to prop up the candidacies of long-shot presidential hopefuls."

However you may feel about the program, expect a sleeker tax form to hit your desks early next year.

A New Voice to Notice

Readers, take a few minutes this morning to check out an amazing short story, written by Bilal Tanweer, Granta’s first New Voice for 2011.  “After That, We Are Ignorant” is narrated by a snide cartoonist who is joined on a bus by an old communist poet.  The events of the story are entertaining; the Comrade-poet immediately proves to be one card short of a deck and is jeered and challenged to share some of his poety.  The whole while, boys in the back of the bus egg him on, calling him names, making noises until the old man begins swearing, shouting about his sacrifices and the wisdom of his words.

The real appeal of the story is in its narration.  Bilal tells his story through an anonymous, perceptive individual who is outside the events of the story except for his single contribution: the sarcastic call for the old man’s poetry.  You can hear the laughter in the narrator’s voice as he describes the chaos, characterizing each participant or group as less human and more a cartoon or pack of animals.  He’s focused on making a sketch of the communist in the pressed shirt and crappy Coke cap, completely disinterested and distant from the crowd.  By the end of the story however, we discover the reasons he has for telling the story, and why he will remember his sketch forever.  

There is some sort of humanizing redemption going on there, we think.  Tanweer has done a great job of creating an easily read, yet deep, work of fiction.  If it pleases you, there is also an interview where you can hear his thoughts on the story, and about the larger book of stories of which it is a part.  Follow the link here for the interview and story.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Nods to Soho

There is plenty of recognition for A Stranger on the Planet, Soho’s newest novel by Adam Schwartz.  The book is mentioned both in The New York Times and by the Jewish Book Council this week.  Recommended for its quirky, meaningful moments, the story follows 12-year-old Seth Shapiro, a needy, awkward youth, as he meanders through life with his suffocating, crazy mother.

Seth often fantasizes about his missing father, who has no interest in him or his siblings.  Wondering what would happen if his father found his drowning body, he pictures both his father’s regret and the man’s disdainful disappointment.  Together with his twin sister and their other brother, Seth struggles through his father’s remarriage, and his mother’s engagement to a man she has known for only two weeks.  

Each chapter skips forward ahead in Seth’s life, chronicling his existence by the women and relationships that fill it with meaning, for better or worse.  At his journey’s conclusion, he uncovers deep truths, not only about himself, but his family, and the women he has loved.  Get to know the Shapiros and their confused, loveable son; pick up a copy today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Uncle Sam Goes Mobile

As we ease in to 2011, many of us will find ourselves looking back at 2010, remembering good times, wondering what we could have done differently, and crunching year-end figures.  Tax time is here again.  Before we can pass from the winter chill into the green arms of spring, we must all go back and take one last look back and determine how large of a chunk Uncle Sam will get.  That is, unless you have a reliable business management company to do it for you.  

Regardless, this is the peak of the year for everyone’s favorite entity, the IRS.  Hoping to improve its public image, or to simply make a little less work for itself, the IRS has unveiled its latest technology today: IRS2GO.  Available to both Apple and Android users, this application will allow taxpayers to check the status of their refunds, get tips on how to prepare their taxes, and keep abreast of tax news.  The IRS even has a Twitter feed, to which IRS2GO connects tax payers.

The new application should make life, or at least paying taxes, a little easier for everyone.  The IRS claims that IRS2GO is only the first in a series of innovations they intend to pursue in order to keep up with modern technology.  You can check out the details for yourself here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Benay Internship

Not long ago, we posted an opening for an accounting and bookkeeping internship for credit through Western Connecticut State University.  You are probably wondering what kind of outstanding, young individual we found to fill the position.  We are pleased to officially welcome Dave Carey of Western Connecticut State University to our team as the first intern in this program.  

Dave is going to learn how to create, enter, and review accounting entries including accounts payable, accounts receivable, general journal entries, job or segment creation, bank reconciliations, and more, all under the supervision of Dawn and our staff of bookkeepers.

Dave, and all future candidates, will gain first-hand knowledge of the importance of bookkeeping and ledger entries for consulting, evaluating, researching, and implementing emerging accounting options and software as they further the bookkeeping goals of Benay and other companies who require financial, accounting, and bookkeeping assistance.  Combining information learned from their curricula with their own ideas and our company’s business management experience, they will create a successful course of work that they can call their own, display in a portfolio, or apply toward their thesis projects.

At a minimum of 12 hours a week, Dave will be able to earn three college credits for free!  He’ll be learning the tricks of the trade from our outstanding staff, so look for him in the upcoming year as he finishes his degree and moves on to put the skills he’s been given to good use.  Welcome aboard Dave!