Category Archive: Books

E. G.'s reviews of books.

Anthony Marra’s “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena”


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”


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”


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”


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”


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”


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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We Zany Irish!


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


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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Counsel Stedman Responds


To my fellow Goodreads members: Hope you followed my prompt and took the chance to ask M. L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans–the Indie Book of the Year this year–a question last Friday. I did: Q:  Congratulations, Ms. Stedman, on an extraordinary work. Like you, I am an attorney trying to reinvent myself …

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Free Story–“QUINCY”

QUINCY was my contribution to Round Five of  National Public Radio’s “Three Minute Fiction,” concluded November 14, 2010—and my first formal entry, which has since become either a habit or a convenient means of externally-applied discipline. Rules: 600 words or fewer; Not “inappropriate;”  Had to begin with “Some people swore that the house was haunted;” …

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Goodreads: M. L. Stedman Q & A

Earlier this year, I read, enjoyed, and reviewed M. L. Stedman‘s breakout novel, The Light Between Oceans.  (It was a selection of the CapRadio Reads book club.) For those of you who are already Goodreads members–or are thinking about joining–they’re hosting an exclusive, one-day-only discussion group this Friday, May 10, in which Ms. Stedman will …

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Thank You, Capital Public Radio!


A heart-felt “Thank You!” to our CapRadio Reads book club monitor, Vicki Lorini, for the VIP treatment we members received at last night’s launch party in Davis for John Lescroart‘s latest offering, The Ophelia Cut.  Gratitude also goes to Donna Apidone, Mr. L himself and the rest of the Cap Radio team for a lively …

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The Man Who Rode the Comet


One Hundred thirteen years ago last Sunday, America’s Shakespeare—Samuel Langhorne Clemens, writing and lecturing as the more familiar “Mark Twain“–left this mortal coil as Halley’s Comet approached, just as he’d come in 77 years earlier. If you haven’t already done so, treat yourself to his two-volume Autobiography, a treasure trove representing over 8,000 documents.  It’s the …

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The Night Circus–Hooptedoodle


The Night Circus is Erin Morgenstern’s first novel, published July 3, 2012.  I’m reading and writing about it now because it’s the April selection for CapRadio Reads, Capital Public Radio’s book club. First, the relevant details.  Le Cirque des Rêves, (“The Circus of Dreams”), shadowy, ethereal, and open only at night, is the elegant central …

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Introducing: “Term Limit”


Ever consider the human side and consequences of all those “political scandals” you can’t avoid watching, hearing, or reading about? That’s the premise behind “Term Limit,” the final story in my first collection, Matters Familiar, which you can have in e-Book form for less than a dollar (plus tax). Here’s an introduction: John Quincy “Jack” …

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Introducing: “Robbin’ Hood”


Miss the wit, wisdom, and drama of your all-time favorite serial TV mobsters from New Jersey, but not the violence? Maybe this will help. Download “Robbin’ Hood,” the 11th of a dozen stories in my first collection, Matters Familiar, for less than a dollar (plus tax). Here’s an introduction: Early in my career, as counsel to …

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Introducing: “Pipe Dream”


Improve your mind: Learn Zen 101 in under an hour; Indulge your basic distrust of attorneys, guilt-free; and Laugh yer arse off, in the bargain, For less than a dollar (tax excluded). How, you say?  Simple: download “Pipe Dream,” the 10th of a dozen stories in my first collection, Matters Familiar. Here’s an introduction: “Pipe …

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Introducing: “Pallbearer”


Ninety-nine cents would do you no good at all at Starbucks–but it will buy you any one of the 12 stories from my collection, Matters Familiar, in your favorite e-reader format.  (And, if you need a warmup, there are seven free stories available, as well. Here’s an introduction to Number Nine in Matters Familiar:   …

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