Reference

Books that made America

The key to this take on the well trodden premise is a simple fact not usually assayed: America is still being made and is not a static thing which was done at some historical point in time. The nation is not a baked cake that can be left out in the rain, but a salmagundi, a jambalaya, a gallimaufry, and a slumgullion, if not a farrago. The first America, the one at the time of the Declaration of Independence was not exactly the one that wrote the Constitution a mere twelve years later. The America of 1860 was certainly not the America of 1865. The general self-awareness of this nation has been shaped and reshaped–mostly by events, not by books. Events are hard facts to ignore. Books are interpretations. A national catastrophe like the Civil War defined us far more than Uncle Tom’s Cabin, for instance. The hubris of the author is that their words are important to the process—yet that is a determination that can only be made by the reading citizen.

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On Country and Music

My first awareness of what music was, was a cousin sitting on the front porch of my grandparents house in Spartanburg, South Carolina, playing away on an enormous guitar and singing in a voice which was not pretty, but made you listen.

I might have been all of seven years old, but I remember that his voice was not pretty, as well as I remember the realization at that moment–an early epiphany you might say–that music was made this way. Somehow this had escaped me until an age well after Mozart had written his first symphony. Before that, music was something that emitted from the radio.

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Latest Blog Posts

The seven senses

  As is so often the case, the Greeks got there first. Perhaps not always exactly or correctly, but at least in spirit. The seven liberal arts, as set out in ancient thought as the keys to education, are grammar, logic, and rhetoric, enhanced by arithmetic, geometry,...

The Miserables

In our time, as we watch the headless corpse of France flop in the shadow of a spiritual guillotine, it is difficult to imagine an age where Hector Berlioz and Saint-Saens, Bizet, Debussy and Offenbach filled the concert halls; Rostand, Feydeau, Brieux, Claudel,...

The Miller’s tale

The two original Mad Max films had a certain intelligence behind them, extrapolating an apocalyptic future from the present. And at minimal cost. They were, like the original Star Wars films, game changers. Post-nuclear holocaust could never be the same. The third in...

Joe Bailey, and the reason for the dog

[Yet another portion of A Republic of Books, more of which can be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.]       Honest cops are a lot like honest reporters. There aren’t many of them around, and they both work for naturally corrupt organizations with political agendas...

Yes and No

There are two kinds of people, those who think there are two kinds of people and those who do not, but of course, the latter group are wrong. The very taxonomy of human being, that state of existence so bullied, bloodied, disparaged, idolized, hated, loved, condoned,...

What’s all this, then?

A preamble to A Republic of Books, portions of which may be found elsewhere on this ethereal site. There is a wonderful quote from a fabulous movie of long ago, often repeated but seldom fully appreciated: “Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the...

The problem is . . .

The problem is that the two major political forces of our age, socialism and capitalism, are rotten to the core. Ostensibly, socialism is the ‘public’ ownership of property and capitalism is the private ownership of property. In practice, neither is true. Capitalism,...

Otto Biedermeier is dead.

My guess is that most of you did not even know he was sick. Sadly, the great filmmaker, Otto Biedermeier has died, and it is perhaps parody that killed him. And it is for that reason alone that his death is the subject of the sudden novel I have just completed. You...

An open letter to those who might be wondering.

The move from Abington, Massachusetts to Lee, New Hampshire has been better than feared, but perhaps ultimately worse for the simple demonstration of fact that I haven’t the energy, muscle mass, or psychological stamina I once had. There has been an attrition,...

Trifles taken from the alms-basket of words

[a bagatelle from A Republic of Books, a 'novel in progress' to be found elsewhere on this site] By the bye, the category I have chosen for my work is ‘honorificabilitudinitatibus,’ as it is found in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, if for no other reason than it...

Consider Cleisthenes

(Oh yes, oh yes. Another potable portion from a chapter of A Republic of Books, the novel in progress to be found elsewhere on this site.) And while we are at it, consider Cleisthenes, the father of Athenian democracy and thus a father to us all, dead and white though...

All slaves are equal but some get to live in the big house.

(Oh yes, another new and potable portion from a chapter, this one  posted with A Republic of Books, the novel in progress to be found elsewhere on this site.) A novel is a flimsy currach indeed in which to set out on a journey such as this. The urgency to remain...

Novels & Novellas Available for Purchase

I Am William McGuire

I Am William McGuire

It’s a bloody Cro-Magnon world.
What’s a Neanderthal to do?

 

A Slepyng Hound to Wake

A Slepyng Hound to Wake

Leaving well enough alone is not good enough at all—not if the reason for a death is to be found in the life that was lost.
Hound

Hound

Henry Sullivan has made a simpler life for himself, finding and selling books. There is little room in it for either love or murder.

 

About

I have been informed by trusted authority that the short quip which I have placed here for the last year or so, by way of biography, lacks gravitas. “Over-paid by others for hyphenated jobs such as lawn-work, snow-shoveling, house-painting, office-boy, dish-washer, warehouse-grunt, table-waiter and hotel night-clerk–I’ve since chosen to be a writer, editor, publisher, and for most of my life, a bookseller, and even managed to occasionally pay myself. Hound is my first published novel.” And so it does. It is hard to be serious about so unserious a subject as oneself. But herewith, and keeping the ‘nasty bits’ (Brit expressions are so brilliant) to myself, I offer then, this ongoing post begun as posts at Small Beer Press. If anyone is interested, from time to time I will add something at the end to bring the epic closer to the present moment.

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