Category Archive: Books

E. G.'s reviews of books.

Introducing: “Meridian”

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A gentle reminder that–besides enjoying them in my collection, Matters Familiar–you can sample and buy each story individually. Welcome to the eighth story of 12: “Meridian.” Two questions came to mind that gave birth to “Meridian:” Why do we have such difficulty relating to other people who are not exactly like us? What if a …

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Introducing: “Medalists”

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Did you know that–besides enjoying them in my collection, Matters Familiar–you can sample and buy each story individually? We’re over the hump–today’s featured story is seventh among 12: “Medalists.”     “Medalists” was–as they say in the movies–“inspired by actual events.”  A while back, while soaking in a hotel spa after a workout, I encountered …

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M. L. Stedman: The Light Between Oceans

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If I’ve read a more elegant and absorbing a tale of the danse macabre between morality and mortality than M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans, I don’t remember it.  (The book is the second selection for CapRadio Reads, Capital Public Radio’s most excellent book club.  We’re meeting Tuesday, March 12 to discuss it.) Stedman …

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Introducing: “The Jewel of Genoa”

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Did you know that–besides enjoying them in my collection, Matters Familiar–you can sample and buy each story individually? Today’s tour of those stories stops at the halfway point of the collection’s 12 stories–Number Six: “The Jewel of Genoa:”     “The Jewel of Genoa” was my first story and remains my favorite.  The loss of …

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Introducing: “Intentional Walk”

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Did you know that–besides enjoying them in my collection, Matters Familiar–you can sample and buy each story individually? Today’s tour of those stories stops at Number Five of the collection’s 12 stories: “Intentional Walk:”     “Intentional Walk” was informed by watching my own kids and others’ in “organized” athletics.  More specifically, one of my …

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Introducing: “Gemini”

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You’re cordially invited to sample each of the stories in my collection, Matters Familiar. Today’s tour stops at Number Four of the collection’s 12 stories: “Gemini:”     “Gemini” was inspired by the kind of conflict that life can hand out among family members, especially in larger ones. (I grew up with four brothers and three …

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Introducing: “Midterms”

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Another free–and very short–story is available for your reading enjoyment. Midterms was my entry in National Public Radio’s Round Nine of their occasional feature, “Three Minute Fiction,” in which they invite listeners to submit an original, unpublished story of 600 or fewer words which is “not inappropriate” and fulfills a condition set by that Round’s …

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Introducing: “Chosen”

chosen_story_card

You’re cordially invited to sample each of the stories in my collection, Matters Familiar. The third of the collection’s 12 stories is “Chosen:”     “Chosen” was inspired by my conversations with young people about their spiritual journeys and searches for a meaningful belief system in our fragmented culture. Given the subject, I gave in …

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Introducing: “Boys Will Be Men”

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You’re cordially invited to sample esch of the stories in my collection, Matters Familiar. Second up among the 12 stories  is “Boys Will Be Men:”     “Boys Will Be Men” was inspired by the burgeoning problem of boys growing up without a responsible male authority figure in their lives and possible social consequences.  Also …

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George Saunders’ 10th of December: Warmly Exhausting

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If this review seems languid, it’s because my brain and I are cuddling—having just concluded a taxing but gratifying bout of intellectual intercourse with George Saunders’ 10th of December. This is my first Saunders encounter and his fourth story collection since 1996’s critically-acclaimed CivilWarLand in Bad Decline.  The command of perception, humor, and satire he …

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Introducing: “Ashley Alert”

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Today, I’m beginning a series of posts to introduce you to each of the 12 stories in my collection, Matters Familiar. Might as well start with Number One:     “Ashley Alert” was inspired by the cultural climate that gave birth to the “Amber Alert” system early last decade. (Has that much time since “Y2K” …

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Tessa Hadley’s The London Train–Stiff Upper Life

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Tessa Hadley’s fourth novel, 2011’s The London Train, is sneaky, and beyond satisfying.  (Congratulations, CapRadio Reads, on a swell second selection.) First, a confession.  As is my wont with new fiction, I dove directly into the Kindle edition with no preliminaries—no research, no reviews.  A single recommendation from someone else works best for me.  I …

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Sloan’s “Mr. Penumbra:” GEEKS RULE!

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Our local National Public Radio affiliate, Capitol Public Radio, inaugurated its “CapRadio Reads” book club with a launch party Tuesday evening for first-time novelist Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. What a splendid evening it was.  Mr. Sloan—a 30-something Michigan State graduate in economics who spent the last decade knocking around Silicon Valley tech—was charming, …

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My Story: “Midterms”

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Following is my entry in NPR’s Round Nine of their occasional feature, “Three Minute Fiction,” in which they invite listeners to submit an original, unpublished story of 600 or fewer words which fulfills a condition set by that Round’s author-judge.  In this case, each story had to “reference a U.S. President, real or fictional.”  Inasmuch …

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The Canary is Coughing

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Mike Lofgren was mad as Hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. So, after almost 30 years staffing congressional Republicans as a budget, defense, and national security expert, he quit the party and his job and posted his reasons on Truthout. That was a little over a year ago; now he’s written a book: …

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Xenodu: End of the Republic?

Will the outcome of the November 7 election foreordain the end of our Republic? In 2008, someone in my writers’ group dared me to do something “fantastical.”  (Like my hero, Mark  Twain, I believe the best stories are in the here and now.)  So, I did–I finished Xenodu just four years ago.  I’ve made just …

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Four-legged, Bi-winged Karma

If you’re anywhere near Face in a Book bookstore in El Dorado Hills tonight, before 8 PM, do drop in for the book launch party of The Dog with the Old Soul. (Don’t worry if you’re a little tardy; we’re mostly very fond of the grape, which will be served, so we’ll likely stay until …

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It’s “Ashley Alert!”

Just posted a new video, in which I explain what motivated me to write “Ashley Alert,” the first story in my short stories collection, Matters Familiar, and I read an excerpt .  You can view it here. As I say: You can sample “Ashley” and any of the other stories here; You can also preview the …

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