I’m a writer, podcaster, and bookseller whose ultimate goal (besides being a roadie for the E Street Band) is to make reading, writing, and books in general as popular in Texas as high school football. It may take a while.
A Serious Family Squabble
I come from a big family, so big it would put 19th century Italian-Americans to shame. I’m also the oldest, which comes with its own baggage. If you’re a first-born son, you know what I’m talking about. All eyes on you, the combined expectations of an entire lineage, all that nonsense.
The Sister Stores
Sal Terranova is about to lock up the bookstore after an incredibly slow Wednesday when Luis Ortiz appears and pushes past him. He is carrying a six-pack of Modelo Negra (though two are missing) and an arrangement of marigold flowers. He tosses one to Sal after he has flipped the sign to “Closed” and locked the door.
A Meeting Across the River
Night had already fallen by the time we reached the causeway. A crew working on the road had forced us to sit through three green lights without moving; we were definitely going to be late. The western stars were just visible now and ahead there was a darkness on the edge of town that made me uneasy. I’d have rather been back in Candy’s room or even at Mary’s place, but a job was a job.
More Novel Recommendations Using Just the First Line of the Book
Roughly two months ago, I wrote an article titled “15 Novel Recommendations Using Only the First Line of the Book.” This was supposed to be the first in a two-part series (30 titles at once seeming a little overwhelming), but somehow Part Two got lost in the shuffle. In the spirit of better late than never, this is, finally, the second part of the series.
Germany After WWI and the Myth of the ‘Stab in the Back’
There has been much talk since the 2020 US Presidential election about the persistent narrative that the election was somehow stolen; media outlets refer to this narrative as “the Big Lie.” The majority of people do not adhere to this false notion, but a significant number do. Those who don’t believe it see those who do as deluded sore losers and tend to just go on with life. After all, what real damage can a myth of this type really do?
Spreadsheets and Breakfast Burritos
Spreadsheets. Morgan Barnett hated spreadsheets. He had come to believe that when man had eradicated the plague as a serious threat, God had replaced it with Excel and considered it a fair trade. This hatred would not have mattered much if it were something that could be avoided (as was the case with his fear of clowns and sharks). However, Morgan made his living entering numbers into spreadsheets. Pie graphs, pivot tables, linked workbooks; these were the tools of his trade, and had been for over two decades. Some days he wanted to take the small cast iron statue of a bull his daughter had given him and throw it through his computer screen.
Four Authors Whose Work Was Shaped By Their Experience in War
Almost as long as there have been wars, there have been authors who first served in the conflict and then wrote about their experience. Sometimes it was memoir, as with Gen. Hal Moore writing about the first American battle of the Vietnam War in We Were Soldiers Once, And Young. More often they used fiction to better explore, convey, and try to understand something that is nearly unfathomable to those who have not lived through it.
Eli collected pieces of other people’s lives. His job gave him ample opportunity to do so, though few would have ever imagined such an activity. He worked in Morrison’s Used Bookstore, his only job since leaving college after his sophomore year five years earlier. Morrison’s was exactly the type of place where people left pieces of themselves.