Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Save Bookstores Day!

Happy Save Bookstores Day! Rumor has it is that the thing to do on Saturday, June 25 is to visit an Indy bookstore or two and buy something--most likely, a book. We plan to get to at least one over the weekend, and I wish I could easily get back to all the Indy stores that have been generous in supporting Fight for Your Long Day. If you care to hit up your local Indy store for a copy of the [redacted], it's most likely they'll order it all special, just for you!

I guess, in truth, it's hard for me to know or say if owners of independent bookstores are any worse off than adjunct faculty, the fifteen million without work, or anyone else in this economy staring at a double dip that does indeed have the fancy ice creams on sale at our local American-owned Ingles (which means they are priced just a bit over regular Wal-mart prices). It could indeed be better not to own anything brick and mortar unless it is one of those magically affluent recession-proof places. But do those mirages exist?

Well, I guess it's still fun to browse and blow coin on books on any given Saturday. . . and so I offer:


PS--What I wrote below in February, 2010 seems connected to the here and now of book, but of course, the actual holiday proved only to be a false rumor and thus not part of our shared mythology:

Yes, it is true. February is national "Shelve Your Indy Novel in the Superbookstore" month. This means that sneaking into a local big-box store known for housing book product and in clandestine fashion placing your independently produced novel on the shelf, with sticker price affixed, is the thing to do. No dark glasses, trenchcoat, or other disguise is required; a hidden camera might make things more interesting, but of course, the store most likely already provides those. Alphabetical order is expected, but the organizers of this month's theme have not yet arranged to check up on folks. I'm assuming this means it can also be "Pretend Your Last Name Begins with a Q Even if it Begins with an X" month.

Reminder: It is absolutely NOT national "Sneak Strong Coffee for Free in the Superbookstore Cafe" month, and as per usual, shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Ah, humanity, and the way of all fiction. . .

PPS--There are so many new authors these days that my dream of being snug against and sold because I'm mistaken for Kundera is nowhere near 2011's reality. Not only is my title most likely not in your store, but at any store with a decent selection of K and then Us, there are now a half dozen fine books standing between us. I'm sure this is not quite as troubling to Milan. . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Thirty minutes before the closing bell, I did manage to get a memory of Dad up on the wall over at When Falls the Coliseum.

Happy Father's Day, to you and your father!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

blurbs added, sales stalled

More blurbs were added to the amazon link for Fight for Your Long Day, but once more, after the great Chronicle of Higher Ed rush of early June, 2011, sales seem to have stalled. So, yes, please don't rush out to buy a second copy (or a fifth, Mom), but if you're currently sans Duffler and looking to make this Daddy happy, don't be afraid to Indy-up or point and click in some other soft Cyrus place (in fact, there's free shipping direct from the Atticus Books online store).

''[A]n expose of academia and the labor that sustains it, the kind of novel one learns from and rallies behind. Eyebrow-raising and wry, Kudera's take on the ivory tower certainly makes it look less pearly white.'' -- ForeWord Reviews

''Cyrus Duffleman and Fight for Your Long Day cast light on [the] situation in which many contingent faculty members find themselves ... I hope the novel is popular enough to make a big change; it has already changed me.'' -- Isaac Sweeney, Academe

''[I]t is not unfair to call Fight For Your Long Day a protest novel, in much the same category of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. And like Sinclair's book, it sounds a note of genuine disgust at economic injustices ... Kudera is an extremely talented and driven novelist. The authenticity of the experience he writes about burns through on each page. The story of Duffleman and his many similarly suffering peers in the real academic world is a plight long overlooked finally getting its deserved attention.'' ---- The Southeast Review

Product Description

2011 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Award - Gold for Best Regional Fiction (Mid-Atlantic)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Interview with ForeWord Reviews

This link leads to the full text of an interview with ForeWord Reviews.

You can see in this first response, I "out" myself as a Little House on the Prairie man:

ForeWord Reviews: When did you start reading, and what did you like to read as a child?

Alex Kudera: I believe my first attempt at reading a novel was around age seven when I read Little House on the Prairie. I can’t tell you why I skipped Little House in the Big Woods. By seven, I was conscious of the fact that I was reading late relative to a number of kids I knew. My sister, 20 months older, was already an avid reader, and my closest friend, just three months older than me, had read to my sister’s class when we were in four-year-old nursery school. It took me a month to get through the first chapter of the book, but slowly, I improved and learned to enjoy sustained reading.

By the way, I also required speech therapy as a child. I believe that this was around first or second grade, and I remember I had to walk through my older sister’s “academically talented” classroom to get to the therapy room. I just want to note that both reading and speaking did not come easily to me, and so perhaps, there could be some inspiration found here for other aspiring novelists who never experienced writing or related skills as a gift or something to be taken for granted.

But back to my favorites, after Little House, I went on to read many different books, but I remember enjoying Matt Christopher’s sports fiction, The Hardy Boys, and all different kinds of sports biographies for kids. Judy Blume, Encyclopedia Brown, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, and many others came later, and then by high school, I was reading classics commonly assigned.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chronicle of Higher Education

A few days after Isaac Sweeney was kind enough to interview me for one of his Chronicle blogs On Hiring (The Two-Year Track), Ms. Mentor wrote:

"But it took nearly 40 years before anyone wrote a novel told consistently from the perspective of an adjunct: Alex Kudera's Fight for Your Long Day (2010)."

Thank you for noting the originality of the idea and for including an adjunct's perspective in an article that would have to be heavily weighted with the voices of the tenured or those fortunate to earn their living from writing, not teaching.

(I did notice that the two of the 11 finalists I've read are both told from the perspective of tenured professors, but I like both books quite a bit. In fact, I often speak of The Human Stain as my favorite by Philip Roth, a writer I do not always endorse, and Don Delillo's White Noise is one I've taught many times.)

PS--As a side note, Steve Himmer, also of Atticus Books, posted this quotation from the Isaac Sweeney interview:

To me, the most significant American stories have almost always been stories of alienation; the alienation could be emotional, social, psychological, or economic and is typically a combination of these. The university is central to the information economy and employs millions of workers across the country and more throughout the world. The fantastic irony of the marginalized teacher caught in the middle of the educational economy is too much to ignore; it is a rather fantastic elephant in the room that the place of greatest alienation in the university could be right behind the classroom lectern, where a contract worker without health benefits is the only adult most freshmen will have significant communication with.

Thanks, Isaac, Steve, Ms. Mentor, and everyone else who has recently linked and shared these Chronicle notes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Haiku on the Horizon

I returned home from another tired Thursday.

She was happily munching on snack and bottled water in her car seat, so I stopped at the mailboxes to retrieve whatever still gets sent, and low and behold, there awaiting me was the most pleasant surprise, the next issue of Contemporary Literary Horizon.

Busy, tired, fountains, playground, doggy, tired, boats, water boiled or bottled until further notice, and then late at night, I dove into Don Riggs's essay on haiku. It comes with plenty of fun samples and the inside dope that he demands 250 of those 5/7/5 [redacted]ers, 25 per week, when teaching a 10-week creative-writing class. I can hear Don's voice in my head, where with some irony, he is introducing the students to the possibility of writing all 250 the night before the quarter's homework is due.

Thank you, Dr. Daniel Peaceman, for another wonderful issue of your transcontinental, trilingual project.

Thank you, Don for adding a touch of Nicole Kline's haiku, and allowing my nostalgia for past schools and itinerant appointments to blend in with the mix.

Philadelphia, when you're looking for your Poet-in-Residence, and if you're bold enough to consider someone on the margins of the short list--with apologies to all the other less recognized Philly poets, and I'll blog you all up soon--be sure to stop by any class taught by Don Riggs, and you'll see we are dealing not just with a poet but with a scholar who speaks a foreign language and would have a wonderful voice for leading us all further into poetry.

Or, if you prefer, just try the lesson Don mentions in the essay, the one about sitting for a half hour and writing haiku about anything you see. And yes, you're encouraged to choose the same subject twice.

I might just try that
right now. If you don't mind this
rather weak haiku.

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