So David Carr and Emily Gould Walk Into a Genre

While in Louisiana, I actually managed to spend some time reading. Finished up the short stories of Flannery O’Connor on the way down and knocked out David Carr’s “Night of the Gun” and Emily Gould’s “And the Heart Says Whatever.”

I hadn’t really planned to write about either one of them. I’m a couple years late on Carr’s book and, frankly, I was worried I wouldn’t like Gould’s. (Despite my cranky image, when it comes to new writers if I don’t have anything nice to say, etc. I also didn’t feel like putting up with cat-calls from the peanut gallery.)

But! (As they say on Gawker and The Awl.)
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Book Review: Sorta Like a Rock Star

On Thursday, I started reading Matthew Quick’s Sorta Like a Rock Star. On Friday morning, I finished it. I managed this despite taking Ambien on Thursday night. Ended up staying up until 1 in the morning and then, when I woke up before the alarm, instead of going back to sleep or turning on the television, I finished reading the book.

I’ll say this much: I’m glad I finished the book in the privacy of my own home. While it may have helped his sales some, I don’t fancy the idea of sitting on the 4 Train and blubbering like an idiot as the story crosses the finish line. The short version of this review: Buy this book and read it. (Full disclosure: Matthew Quick blurbed my book and though I’ve still yet to meet him, I think he’s a cool cat.)
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I’m on the 4 Train commuting to work this morning. Somewhere along the line, a couple blunders into the train. The woman takes a seat and the guy almost gets his jacket caught in the closing door.

“The fuck off of me. Give me my jacket,” he curses, but laughs at the same time.

Seems like someone’s had his liquid breakfast this morning, is in good spirits and, obviously, want to chat. I’m a magnet for such people, so I bury my head in my book. As we crawl by 33rd Street, he sets his eyes on me.
Continue reading “Ironical”

10 Things You Can Do to Make Me Rich!

The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival starts shipping in eight (8) days and the nation is just bursting with excitement about it. OK, so maybe a handful of people are bursting with excitement and everyone else is just bursting from too much holiday food and the mental strain of the New Orleans Saints making the playoffs.
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Nice Things Said About My Book

You never know what might happen when you send advance reader copies of a novel out into the world. Some might end up in the garbage. Some might end up being sold on eBay. Some might snag you some publicity.

In the case of one copy of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival (B&N, Amazon), it resulted in a thoughtful and positive review from Josh Sternberg, a fellow Brooklynite, PR ninja, Twitterer and blogger. Go check it out. And I’m not just saying that because Josh really liked the book. Okay, so maybe that’s part of the reason I’m saying that. At some point, I’m sure I’ll get a bad review and only then will we know if I’ll actually link to such things. I’d LIKE to think I’d be man enough to do it.

Then again, if someone does write a bad review it will obviously be because he’s some dimwitted subliterate buffoon who doesn’t like me for political/personal/religious/hygiene-related issues, so you never know.

In other advance-copy news, a copy was requested by Sarah Wagley Branton down Opelousas-way to be auctioned off during the Rotary Club’s live TV auction to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club as well as the Opelousas-Eunice Public Library. While the book didn’t get as much as John Ed Bradley’s “It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium” did last year, it did go for over $50 to Charles Dore. Not like I expected it to do anything close to a book about LSU football (a book I highly recommend, by the way).

That’s all I have for now. I could go on an unhinged rant about Borders still insisting that the book was written by someone named Liz Wheaton, but I’ll save that for another day.

A Starred Review in Booklist

So I just found out that First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival is getting a starred review in the Nov. 15 Booklist. Sweet! Like the Publisher’s Weekly reviews, Booklist reviews are long on plot summary and the thumbs up or thumbs down usually comes as one sentence near the end. And here is that sentence:

Readers need to hold onto their hats because Wheaton’s roller-coaster ride of a book has hilarious highs that plunge to soul-baring angst, then zoom back up to the top.

To be honest, this is the first time that “roller-coaster ride” has been used to describe anything I’ve ever written. But I’m not complaining. Besides, as anyone who’s taken a graduate level lit theory course can tell you, the reader defines the text, not the writer!

Two Months to Go

It’s October 30 and we all know what that means! Time to panic and run down to the local drug-store to buy a last-minute Halloween costume. You can grouse about how that dented Miley Cyrus mask looks silly and makes your beard itch — or you can make a game of it and be proud you’re wearing The Last Shite in the Shop (as I heard an Irish DJ refer to this shopping pattern).

Oh, and Oct. 30 means we’re now less than two months away from the shipping date of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. It starts shipping from Amazon and B& and other online retailers on Dec. 29.

Of course, a lot can happen in two months — like a massive coronal eruption on the sun’s surface frying us all to a crisp — and lord knows I’m tired of waiting, but two months is nothing. Nothing.

The Recent Reading List

Friday, I finished The Well and the Mine, by Gin Phillips. It was a beautiful bit of Southern fiction, the kind I used to aspire to write, but gave up for comedy and angry satire — because, as much as I love her voice, I know it’s not my voice. The characters in it — the Moore family — were, as they say, something else, and I really didn’t want the book to end. Extra bonus is that my copy is signed. I met Gin at SIBA a few weeks back and she had one of those great stories: Her book was published by a small house and then picked up by Penguin/Riverhead.
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The First Reading . . . and Your First Taste of the Book

Holy crap, there's a poster involved.
Holy crap, there's a poster involved.
Last Friday, I flew down to the Southern Independent Booksellers Association trade show, held this year in Greenville, South Carolina. For the vast majority of you who don’t work in publishing, what goes down at SIBA is that the good folks who own and/or work for independent bookstores around the South show up, look at what’s out there, maybe meet some authors and publishing-house reps, and decide what they’re going to order for the upcoming year. (That’s a simplified version, but close enough.)

Of course, that means it’s a chance for publishing companies and authors to get out there and cajole, beg and plead for their books to be considered. And I think we all know it goes without saying that I’m not the type to shun publicity and a chance to sell himself or his work. I signed a couple of boxes worth of uncorrected advance reviewer copies of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival and even learned that Kensington had a poster printed up for the trade-show floor. A POSTER!
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