Flash Fiction Stories for the Musically Inclined

Fiction - Anthology
159 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2021
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Author Biography

Theodore Jerome (Ted) Cohen is an award-winning author who has published more than ten novels--all but one of them mystery/thrillers--two books of short stories, and eight flash-fiction anthologies. He also writes illustrated storybooks for children (K-3) in the series Stories for the Early Years as well as Young Adult (YA) novels under the pen name "Alyssa Devine." During the course of his 45-year career he worked as an engineer, scientist, CBS Radio Station News Service (RSNS) commentator, private investigator, and Antarctic explorer. What he's been able to do with his background is mix fiction with reality in ways that even his family and friends have been unable to unravel!

Dr. Cohen's writings (he holds three degrees in the physical sciences) have received the highest reviews from Feathered Quill, Hollywood Book Reviews, Kirkus Discoveries, Pacific Book Review, Reader Views, and Readers' Favorite, among others, with many of his books recognized for their excellence through medals awarded by several of these same organizations following their annual book competitions. In 2017, for example, Readers' Favorite awarded Dr. Cohen's first short story anthology, The Road Less Taken: A Collection of Unusual Short Stories - Book 1, a Silver Medal while the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE) awarded the same book its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Short Stories. The NABE also awarded Dr. Cohen's collection, Creative Ink, Flashy Fiction: Flash Fiction Anthology - Book 3, its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Anthology - Winter, 2018.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Parchment paper made out of music manuscripts. A harmonica jazz musician who played with the best. Two concert violinists that escaped certain death during the Holocaust. Over 6,000 carol singers in West Reading, Pennsylvania singing Christmas carols to cheer a young girl dying of leukemia. Music filters through everything about our lives. Music is everywhere and it is everything. It’s not just the music elite, those who excel at their craft of musical performance, who reap the benefits of a life filled with music. Those who listen, those who try to learn to play an instrument, those who do simple musical events like karaoke or just singing in the shower – these are people whose lives have been enriched by the power of music.

Theodore Jerome Cohen, an award-winning author, has put together a collection of 32 of his short and flash stories, all fiction, all with the underlying theme of music. Flash Fiction Stories for the Musically Inclined is a joy to read for those who, quite simply, are somewhat musically inclined to allow music into their lives. Some are serious, sad, emotional, while others are happy, joyful, and even a tad humorous. As a retired music teacher, so many of these stories spoke deeply to me, not just of the power of music, but also its importance in our daily lives. Some stories I enjoyed more than others. Some are like the secret ingredient in the apple pie Haydn’s wife was well known for. Yes, there is even music in the food some people eat. The stories are well crafted, the skill of the author evident in each one, whether it’s a longer story or a really short flash fiction. Whether it’s classical, jazz, rock ‘n roll, or some other marvelous musical style, this book covers it all with a unique flair that exemplifies this author’s work. Loved it!

Joe Wisinski

Flash Fiction Stories for the Musically Inclined by Theodore Jerome Cohen is a collection of 32 short stories. Some are only one page long, others are several pages, but they all have two things in common—they are related to music and they are at least somewhat based on fact. One unique aspect is that the stories are inspired by photographs; the photos are included in the book. The musical genres range across many categories, from classical to country and many more. The author calls his book “faction,” which is an accurate description—it’s fiction based on facts. Some of the stories are humorous; others are serious. There are also endnotes that further delve into the background of most of the stories.

I enjoyed reading this book. Author Theodore Jerome Cohen is creative, humorous (where appropriate), and insightful. His stories are both educational and entertaining. Although I knew some of the historical facts that Cohen’s stories are based on, I learned many more. If you’re a Buddy Holly fan, as I am, be sure to read the endnote for his story. It’s fascinating information, although of course tragic. I especially liked the included photographs. Many tell a story in and of themselves. For example, a photo of an early phonograph shows how far technology has advanced in a relatively short time. Whether you’re interested in music or not, you’ll like Flash Fiction Stories for the Musically Inclined. Because all the stories are short it’s a good book to put on a nightstand to read a story, or several stories, at bedtime.

Joy Hannabass

Flash Fiction Stories for the Musically Inclined by Theodore Jerome Cohen is a collection of 33 stories, all written around musical artists who have played different musical instruments at some time in their life. Elvis being the artist on the cover has probably drawn many people to this book. I love Elvis and anything written about him, yet you will find many other exceptionally good stories here too. Along with Elvis, Cohen shares several stories about Frank Sinatra that most people probably don't know. He tells a sad story of George Harrison, and he shares about many others he has known through the years. Cohen throws several stories about himself in the mix as well.

This book is such a diversion from what I usually read. I thoroughly enjoyed each unique story and I truly appreciated reading them. Hearing the Frank Sinatra stories was a pleasure. How I loved the sweet story about Frank Sinatra and the Thanksgiving dinner at Patsy's restaurant in mid-town Manhattan. And I had no idea that West Side Story almost didn't make it. Theodore Jerome Cohen shares his own violin story, and at the end of his story, he shares a surprising twist that you don't want to miss. Reading about Cohen's barber also brought a smile to my face, as well as a bit of sadness about what his life must have really been like.

Flash Fiction Stories for the Musically Inclined has stories for everyone, with Elvis, Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, as well as others I didn't recognize such as harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson. There are many types of music and instruments, from the blues, jazz and rock-n-roll, to country and a little classical, with instruments such as the fiddle, violin, accordian, guitar and more. If you enjoy reading about people with a musical background, I encourage you to check out this book. And if something about this book intrigues you, check it out. You will love it.