Saturday, May 30, 2009

Book Recommendation

The Worst Journey in the World by Aspley Cherry-Garrard

“If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long
as all you want is a penguin’s egg.” This tragic book is nearly universally acknowledged as one of the classics of adventure writing, definitely considered the unparalleled apex of polar exploration, and certainly does not need my approbation. Aspley Cherry-Garrard’s writing style beautifully brings both the singular characters and the Antarctic environment to life. In fact, this perfectly controlled story of a disaster approaches not just great travel writing, but great literature.
Cherry-Garrard makes us feel the unfathomable cold of the polar winter, as well as the lengths humans go for the smallest of gains. But he also tells a gripping tale, an easy thing to do with a triumph, but not with a disaster.

In a way, this book reads a lot like Moby Dick - both detailed and realistic, giving total access to Captain Scott’s failed expedition. But it also plumbs the icy depths of the polar sea for meaning and awareness. Aspley Cherry-Garrard is a man who has done what all travelers hope to - live through an extraordinary adventure and not only survive, but understand it.

First published in Hackwriters: The International Writers Journal.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fairfield Borders

Saturday I had my first 'book signing' at Fairfield Borders, which was a lot different than giving my usual presentation and signing afterwards. Instead I was set up in the center of the store and sat there patiently, talking to the occasional pedestrian. It was a slightly bizarre experience.

On the plus side, Diane invited me to be part of a round table discussion on November 18 (6:45 pm) about "history." I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Live on WPKN

Amy and I were guests of WPKN last Monday night, from 10 pm to midnight. We enjoyed talking about our books, Bridgeport, and our lives. Amy read a few poems and I told stories of old Bridgeport to amuse and entertain our listeners. Here we are in the studio.

And our host, JF! He is hilarious. We also met Doug Echols, and hope to work more with both of these WPKN favorites again soon.

As soon as I figure out how to chop up and post the audio from the evening, I will have clips to listen to.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bridgeport Historical Society

My presentation at the North Branch of the Bridgeport Public Library last night drew 75 people, most members of the Bridgeport Historical Society. We had a great time discussing the ins and outs of Bridgeport history, and I certainly learned a few things myself.

I also met Charles from the Stratford Public Library and will be doing a presentation with them on October 4 (2 pm). And more immediately I met J.F. from WPKN and my wife Amy and I were guests on his show last night. I'll post about that fascinating experience shortly! Maybe I'll even figure out how to post audio clips.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rainy Faye's

My reading at Rainy Faye's Bookstore in downtown Bridgeport went smoothly. There were only a few people in attendance, perhaps due to my big reading tomorrow night for the Bridgeport Historical Society. I'll have more to report on that in a couple days.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Manet's Last Peony

flowers vased in
clear water, each petal
disappearing as thick brushstrokes
of tears.

- Amy Nawrocki
First published in "Amaze: The Cinquain Journal" 2006

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Henry Miller Honeymoon

This charming story of one day from my honeymoon in Paris is one of my most popular stories of all time. It has been published in mutliple places, including the University of Bridgeport's alumni magazine, Knightlines. I originally wrote it for a pair of Henry Miller blogs, MillerWalks and the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company.

The other day it was published on a Paris Walking Tours website. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Recommendation

Originally published on Hackwriters.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I came to this masterpiece quite late in life. I’m not sure why, because I had seen it on library shelves since my childhood. But then one of my other favorites, Peter Mathiessen’s The Snow Leopard, referred to the famous “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” chapter and so I found an ancient hardbound edition with the original drawings. I carefully read it one Saturday afternoon in my easy chair, with soft music playing and a cup of Earl Grey steaming next to me. I was enchanted. The adventures of Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad are timeless and fun, something I was prepared for from a children’s classic. But I was not prepared for the wisdom, harmony, and depth of the more reflective chapters.

The Wind in the Willows burns with the warm hearthfires of fellowship and compassion. It concerns home and travel and the balance we must strike between them. And so on a driving tour, two friends and I read it out loud to each other, finishing on the last stretch of highway heading for home. One of my life-memories will be reading a chapter from this treasured tome on the windy top of Mount Mitchell in North Carolina.

This is unquestionably a book for a certain kind of explorer - those of us who explore our homes: the little fields and streams, the groves and reed ponds, the paths and villages. And at the end of the day, we enjoy sliding back into our easy chairs, boiling a cup of tea, and wrapping up in a comfortable blanket. We may never discover a hidden city or make the first ascent of a mountain, but you can be sure we still hear the wind in the willows.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Milford Barnes and Noble

Had a lovely time speaking at the Milford Barnes and Noble this Saturday. Perhaps more importantly, I got to see my book actually in a bookstore, and hear from a manager that it was "doing very well." Here are some photos...

Me giving my spiel...


And most exciting for me, my book featured on an endcap!

And here it is in the nearby Borders!