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Cocktail Hour

Bad Advice Wednesday: The Google Image Edition

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I was out of ideas for “Bad Advice” so I Googled it. Then I tried Google Images, and got the pictures below. Take a look. You may even find yourself.

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Lundgren’s Book Lounge: “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour,” by Joshua Ferris

categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence

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In a quirky, maddening and compellingly captivating body of work, Joshua Ferris portrays the existential angst of modern life. His tone is a sometimes frantic high-wire dance reminiscent of a synergistic mix of the Coen brothers and Dostoyevsky. Yet always, despite the sometimes implausible details of his narratives, Ferris is urging us to consider our plight: what is the meaning of existence in a world that seems bereft of meaning? Continue reading →

Serial Sunday: Crash Barry’s “Tough Island,” episode 26

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Dogs chasing sheep

[We begin with a flashback To refresh the reader’s memory of Crash’s sheepish neighbors.]

With my typewriter in the exact center, the table fit nicely in front of the large window on the east wall of the room. The view featured a deserted isle a mere hundred yards from Edwin’s wharf. Wheaton’s Island, forsaken 50 years before, was ten acres of rock and spruce, with a foursome of weather-beaten structures built so ruggedly that neglect and abandonment couldn’t destroy the ancient pylons, pillars and braces that held the buildings perched on ledge and seaweed. All the windows and doors in the mini-fishing village had been stolen by Matinicus thieves decades before. Continue reading →

Bad Advice Wednesday: Find Your Voice

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Allen Ginsberg


This week’s thought comes from Allen Ginsberg, who was born June 3, 1926, making him yet another vital member of the greatest generation that Tom Brokaw forgot to mention, and a few months older than my father, who regards him as a child of the sixties (like, blame him on my generation, but no).  Okay, Here it is, plenty to think about: “To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province and your own consciousness.” Continue reading →

Lundgren’s Lounge: “Driving Mr. Albert,” by Michael Paterniti

categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence

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Mike Paterniti


Working in a bookstore affords me the enviable opportunity to read things hot off the press, sometimes even earlier, with galleys and advanced reader’s copies. But occasionally the deluge can become overwhelming and then it’s time to go back to the dusty stack in the corner and grab that long-neglected classic, the one you’d always meant to read… Recently I did just that with Michael Paterniti’s classic from 2000, Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Einstein’s Brain. Continue reading →

Anxious Bode in the House of God

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Anxious Bode

Back when Anxious Bode was still just Thierry, we were trying to blend in, my folks and I, and we were observing and copying what the crowd did on this Sunday morning in Saint Michael. I was living in Lincoln Park, near North Chicago. My parents were visiting from France for Christmas. There was snow on the ground, and a sharp wind as we walked the cobbled streets leading to church. It should have been easy—we were all Catholics, even if some of us were foreign—and in a sense it was. Until the offertory. The silence that fell on the congregation as members prepared their donations impressed us with the necessity to be ready when our time would come. We were quick to notice that the man who collected the donations, did so with the help of a basket attached to a pole. He would push the basket through the pews, serving the farthest away first, and retreating toward the aisle. My father-Anxious Senior—was not entirely ready when our turn came. He could not find decent bills to put in the basket. He gathered all the coins that he had accumulated in every American store he’d gone to. When the deacon stopped at our pew and vigorously pushed the basket in front of us, my father, worried he’d miss his chance, lunged. Continue reading →

“Big Bend” is Back and Better than Ever!

categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence

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The University of Georgia Press recently re-issued my book of stories, Big Bend, in a new paperback edition,  and, for the first time, as an e-book.  So bug your local bookstore, and load up your e-reader! Continue reading →