Wednesday, April 26, 2017

new five-star review for Auggie's Revenge

This new five-star review of Auggie's Revenge at Goodreads lifted my spirits:

"I don't often read comedies (or watch them for that matter. I haven't watched a sitcom in years). I'm much more drama oriented. That being said, this book was wonderful. Dark humor is my favorite style of comedy, and this book certainly fits into the dark humor genre. 

"This is a much different book than Fight for Your Long Day. . . In fact, I enjoy this book quite a bit more than the first novel (which is saying something, because I liked that book a lot). I started out reading slowly because my schedule didn't allow much time to read, but by the middle, I couldn't stop. I kept staying up late to get further and further into the very engrossing tale. Watching Michael's life unfold in the way that it did was morbidly fascinating. 

"There's a bit of absurdity to the humor, especially as the novel progresses. Michael's situation, already bad because of his job as an adjunct, spins somewhat out of control. It is all of his own making, of course. No one can undo a life better than the person living it. There's a fair bit of philosophy imbued within the novel (relevant because Michael is a professor of Philosophy). In a way, Michael's path in the novel follows a philosophical path, from simple existentialism to an almost Dada like life near the end of the book. All in all, I would highly recommend reading Auggie's Revenge.

"This is very much a book about Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. They are both characters in this novel. Fairly current events, though fictionalized, play a large role in the novel, especially near the end. As someone who has made Pennsylvania his home, and who loves Philadelphia, I was glad this was the case."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Zen and the Art of. . .

Because I recently checked out a copy of the 25th anniversary edition, I could pull a Fred Exley and commemorate Robert Pirsig's passing as Exley did with Edmund Wilson's writing after Wilson died (see Pages from a Cold Island). Exley made reading Edmund Wilson a religious experience after his North Country neighbor passed on. Although I appreciated Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I wasn't as completely enamored of it as Exley was of Wilson's work. All the same, it's a death worth noting, and Zen is a great book I may reread this summer. Philly.com has a nice obituary.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sontag and Hem on solitude and the writing life

Thanks to an Annie Rose Facebook share, I read Ernest Hemingway's thoughts on solitude and the writing life from his 1954 Nobel Prize speech. The entry begins with Susan Sontag:

“One can never be alone enough to write,” Susan Sontag observed. Solitude, in fact, seems central to many great writers’ daily routines — so much so, it appears, that part of the writer’s curse might be the ineffable struggle to submit to the spell of solitude and escape the grip of loneliness at the same time.

Follow the link for more.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

No-No Boy by John Okada



I read somewhere in the before and after material of the University of Washington edition of No-No Boy that John Okada's family urged his wife to discard his writing after his death from a heart attack at age 47. She burned all of his manuscripts and journals, so that the already published No-No Boy and a note about a page in length are all that remain of the writing of the first Japanese-American novelist. 

On the other hand I've noticed a peculiar lack of interest from friends and family in my manuscripts, journals, papers, and Walter Kaufmann mass-market paperback Nietzsches kept chilled in an unheated storage space in North Philadelphia. The rent continues to inch ahead there, but not once has a storage-space manager called to alert me to the busy clangs of manic relatives beating on the lock and door of my space, intent on setting fire to my literary remains. For now, my papers survive, as do I, soon to make it past the goalpost of 47 although I haven't helped my chances with recent entree and sandwich selections.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

thank you, #CEA17.


Friday, March 31, 2017

book signing at #CEA17

On Friday from noon to 2 p.m., I'll be signing copies of Auggie's Revenge and the Classroom Edition of Fight for Your Long Day at the College English Association Conference Book Exhibition.

Friday, March 17, 2017

College English Association in Hilton Head, South Carolina

COFFEE ON THE COMMONS Contingent Faculty Caucus │ Bayleaf │Saturday, April 1, 9:15-10:45 a.m.   

On Writing The Original Adjunct Novel:

A Discussion of Contingent Faculty Issues with Alex Kudera 
              
Alex Kudera's Fight For Your Long Day (Atticus Books) was drafted in a walk-in closet during a summer in Seoul, South Korea and subsequently won the 2011 IPPY Gold Medal for Best Fiction from the Mid-Atlantic Region. It is an academic tragicomedy told from the perspective of an adjunct instructor, and reviews and interviews can be found online at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Psychology Today, Inside Higher Ed, Academe, The Southeast Review, and other locations. His second novel, Auggie's Revenge (Beating Windward Press), and a Classroom Edition of Fight for Your Long Day (Hard Ball Press) were published in 2016. Kudera's other publications include the e-singles Frade Killed Ellen (Dutch Kills Press), The Betrayal of Times of Peace and Prosperity (Gone Dog Press), and Turquoise Truck (Mendicant Bookworks). Alex has taught college writing and literature classes since 1996, and he currently teaches at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.         

“Because, yes, if he can reach Frank before he disappears, if he can hang on and finish up the shift the right way, if he can wake up tomorrow, not hit the snooze button, make the coffee, hop in the shower, remember to shave, get off his ass in a timely fashion, he’ll have the chance again, yes, on a shorter day even, to teach his classes all over again. Yes, all over town in an encore performance, Adjunct Duffleman rises to the occasion in the age of terror, a lone soldier of the subway, bus, and elevated line and a failure of many in God knows how many ways. And yet from the bottom of his heart, he wants to believe that the outcome remains possible that for some student from his past, or perhaps one on the way, Cyrus Duffleman, educator, could make the difference. Yes, if he could reach Frank now.”   
            
~~ from Fight for Your Long Day