Category Archive: Reviews

E. G.'s reviews of books, music, etc.

Anthony Marra’s “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena”

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Capitol Public Radio’s book club, CapRadio Reads, features a profound, timely, and moving selection when it next meets on Monday, August 12, at 6:30 PM.  (At this moment, tickets remain; sign up here.) Intended or not, Anthony Marra reminds us Americans that we are, indeed, exceptional—at least in one respect. Thanks to happy geographical accident—being …

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A Scene From: “Meridian”

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Schwerner, Chaney & Goodman.  Mean anything? “Meridian,” from my first short-story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, raises that question, in the context of a conversation we need to have among ourselves that’s long overdue. “John Doe” awakes without his memory after a traffic accident, and his journey to its recovery reaches into the past he shares with …

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A Scene From: “Gemini”

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Two brothers, set on course to confront their estrangement after the death of their bitter, domineering mother… That’s the theme of “Gemini,” from my first short-story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR.  (Sounds a little like Tuesday’s sample from “Pallbearer,” except it’s a generation later and different circumstances drive the dynamic.)  Jim‘s and Cary‘s father’s death from cancer …

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A Scene From: “Pallbearer”

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Imagine you were were born 106 years ago, and standing in the shadow of Pikes Peak… Welcome to the opening scene from “Pallbearer,” taken from my first short-story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR. It’s the tale of the lives of two brothers, opening on the eve of the Great War and concluding with the younger’s death in the …

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A Scene From: “Chosen”

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Happy First Day of Summer! Here’s a way to avoid dreading those upcoming Dog Days of July and the merciless Central Valley sun: a scene or two from “Chosen,” taken from my first short-story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR. If you like it, you can buy it or the whole enchilada; instructions at the end. “Chosen” is the …

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A Scene From: “Pipe Dream”

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An on-time, balanced California budget!  (Insert your own cranky qualification here, if you must.)  Balmy, seasonal weather returns to Sacramento!  Late-spring miracles, by any measure. How about a few laughs from my short story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, to tempt you to read it in its entirety? You can do that in paperback or eBook or purchase …

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Free Story–“Timeout”

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TIMEOUT was my entry in Round 11 of National Public Radio’s “Three Minute Fiction,” concluded last Sunday, June 9. Rules: 600 words or fewer; Not “inappropriate;” In which a character “finds something he or she has no intention of returning.” I took the occasion to imagine a situation in which a father–whose family has suffered …

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We Zany Irish!

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If you’re not familiar with the web site Today in Literature, you should be. I’m a subscriber; occasionally, I use a summary of Steve King’s offering of the day to introduce my emails, with a link back to the full story.  I couldn’t do so with this week’s best—and maybe this month’s, if not ever–installment, …

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From Paris to Provence: Where Food is Life

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CapRadio Reads scores again. Last Saturday, Capital Public Radio’s own book club pulled out the stops for its members.  We were invited to C. G. Di Arie Winery in Amador County to discuss June’s selection, From Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food & France, by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington.  Besides the usual book-launch …

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A Scene From: “Boys Will Be Men”

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It’s June in Sacramento–let the “Summer Budget Swelter” begin!  Eleven days until the Constitutional deadline for a state budget from the Legislature, and triple-digit temperatures loom. How about a little literary relief from my short story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, to tempt you to read it in its entirety? You can do that in paperback or …

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A Scene From: “Robbin’ Hood”

As you head into the weekend—many of you exhausted by the California Legislature’s first-house deadline—how about a brief, amusing morsel from my short story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, to tempt you to read it in its entirety?  You can do that in paperback or eBook or purchase a digital version of the story by itself.  Your choice; …

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A Scene From: “Ashley Alert”

Welcome to another temptation to buy my short story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, or—if you’re not feeling especially extravagant—a single, digital copy of a featured story which, I’m confident, will turn your head in time. Today’s excerpt is from “Ashley Alert.”  This tale found its origins in the establishment early last decade of that roadside system designed …

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A Scene From: “Term Limit”

Continuing in my effort to tempt you to buy my short story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, or—if you’re not feeling especially extravagant—a single, digital copy of the featured story which, I’m confident, will turn your head in time. Today’s excerpt is from “Term Limit,” a tale that borrows from my own checkered past–up to a point. John …

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A Scene From: “The Jewel of Genoa”

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Today, I begin a feature in which I tempt you to buy my short story collection, MATTERS FAMILIAR, or—if you’re not feeling especially extravagant—a single, digital copy of the featured story which, I’m confident, will turn your head in time. Today’s excerpt is from “The Jewel of Genoa,” my first and still most favorite story.  …

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Jeanne Robertson: Dee-lightful

As advertised, G. and I took in Jeanne Robertson’s show at Three Stages Folsom Sunday night. The woman did not disappoint. The centerpiece of her current round of appearances is the adventure in which she sent her husband, “Left Brain,” to the grocery store to get the ingredients necessary for her to rebuild her supply …

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Free Story–“TAPPED”

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TAPPED was my contribution to a writers’ group exercise based on the submission rules for Round Eight of National Public Radio’s “Three Minute Fiction,” concluded April 23, 2012. Rules: 600 words or fewer; Not “inappropriate;” Had to incorporate this sentence: “She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the …

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Free Story–“SHAMBLES”

SHAMBLES was my entry in Round Six of National Public Radio’s “Three Minute Fiction,” concluded April 3, 2012.   Rules: 600 words or fewer; Not “inappropriate;” One character had to tell a joke, and one character had to cry. In retrospect, being a grandparent made it much, much easier to come up with a joke that might …

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Support “Your Mother!”

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  If you didn’t “Listen to Your Mother” last night at the Crest Theater, you missed it. Listen to Your Mother is a national effort to “give Mother’s Day a microphone” by staging local, live readings of original essays for, by, and about motherhood that are recorded and shared afterward via social media.  Thanks to …

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