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Friday, April 18, 2008

My hometown (almost) newspaper decides it loves me after all

A few years ago, when my first book The Preservationist was published, it received some very nice reviews from several unexpected quarters, including Time magazine, the Washington Post, the NY Times, and others. One place which did not give it a nice review was The Hartford Courant, the paper I grew up reading, which said, in essence, "This book blows dead bears." (I'm paraphrasing here.) Ever since, the Courant has kept its distance from my other books, which was believe me just fine as far as I was concerned...

...Until their very kind review of Monster, 1959, which I mentioned a couple of days ago. Now the paper has followed up with a brief interview of me, complete with photo. Here's the link:,0,3987623.story

They were kind enough to mention the event at Border's bookstore in Farmington, next to Westfarms Mall, which is happening Sunday (April 20) from 2:00 to 3:00. Be sure to swing by if you are so inclined: I'll be happy to sign books and answer any questions you might be able to dream up. And even if you can't make it, but an extra copy or two of the Courant. They've earned it, heh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pressure Drop, Monkey Man, Time Tough, 54-46 Was My Number, etc.

So the other night Uzee and I went out to hear Toots and the Maytals, one of the best reggae bands of all time. Toots in fact was the guy who coined the term "reggay" in his song "Do the Reggay" from, I think, 1962 or thereabouts. As it happened, that was the first song he sang in concert, along with a pile of great songs, including many from Funky Kingston, which gets Dave's rating at The Greatest Reggae Album of All Time and If You Thought It Would be Something by Marley, You Just Haven't Been Paying Attention. He played "Time Tough," "Pomps and Pride," "Take Me Home Country Road" (yes the John Denver Song), "Pressure Drop," and "Love Is Gonna Bring Me Down"--that's half the album right there. Other highlights included "Monkey Man," "Reggae Got Soul," and a blistering hot "Hallelujah" to end the show. Plus some long groove thing called, I think, "Roots Rock Reggae," though I don't know if that's the name of the song or just all the words he could remember at the moment, as he repeated them over and over for about ten minutes. Plus a couple new songs from the album last year but you know, none of us went for that.

To get an idea of what you missed (unless you were there and didn't bother saying hi), here's a 90-second clip of "Monkey Man" taken by one other than myself. I like to call it "Dave's Earthquake-Cam." Pop a Dramamine and enjoy.

The sound quality maybe isn't so hot. What can I say, I used this tiny little digital thing. And in case you're wondering, I am definitely NOT the guy who jumps up on stage and, um, "dances" along with Toots. I've got nerve, but not that kind of nerve.

Monday, April 14, 2008


The fine folks at The Oklahoman newspaper have some very nice things to say about Monster, 1959. Thanks, guys.

I should mention that I was in Oklahoma City for a couple of days back in, oh, 1995 I guess it was. Nice little town. I seem to recall a park with a rose garden. Or was that Austin? Oh hell, it was a long time ago... I know for sure there was a museum with lots of cowboy sculptures. Who's that guy, Remington, who does them all? Lassos and bucking broncs. The kind of stuff you see lots of in Connecticut. Or Pakistan for that matter.

Yes, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff...

...Namely, the Magic Wings butterfly farm and semi-tropical greenhouse, up in Deerfield, Mass. What can I tell you. Uzee and I went up there last week, Thursday being a remarkably warm and sunny day, and passed a mightily pleasant couple of hours with our winged pals. Life is too short not to enjoy creatures as exquisitely beautiful as these, I think.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Newburyport update

The Newburyport Literary Festival 2008 in Newburyport, Massachusetts (in the northeast of the state, near New Hampshire and the shore) has posted its schedule on this page:

I'll be reading at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, the 26th of April, at the Newburyport Public Library. Where is this, you ask? I have no idea, but how tough can it be? Don't answer that question. I'll be reading from Monster, 1959 but there will be an extensive, I hope, Q+A and of course I'll be happy to take questions about any of my books (or anybody else's books, for that matter). Plus I'll sign stuff if people would like. At first I was like, "Ten in the morning, yeah right, I can just picture the mob we'll have." But looking over the schedule, it seems like there's stuff going on all day, beginning at 8:00 a.m. (oy) and continuing through till evening. So maybe we will have a decent early-rising crowd after all, and hopefully you will be a part of it.

In case a weekend in eastern Massachusetts is not part of your immediate future, I will also be appearing at the Border's Bookstore in Farmington, Connecticut on Sunday, April 20 at 2:00 p.m. This is the Border's next to Westfarms Mall, and it follows a very nice review in the Hartford Courant (see previous post) so let's hope some people turn up for that one too. An interview in the Courant is in the works for the Thursday before.

And if anyone reads Publishers Weekly, this week's issue contains a review I wrote of Tim Winton's Breath. Winton is an Australian writer who has never broken very big in the US, but I liked this book pretty well.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hartford Courant raves; NYTBR is less convinced

Here's a link to the wildly positive review of Monster, 1959 that appears in today's Hartford Courant:,0,6605604.story

And another one to the more reserved New York Times Book Review:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Don't worry, Doctor, it's just my creative prolepsis flaring up again

So there's this guy out there named Kyle, I think he's a student, and he keeps a blog in which he apparently posts his college papers. And what do you know, he's written a paper about the two Samsons, mine and Milton's. What a riot. He says things like

"Maine’s creative prolepsis of Samson’s thoughts before destroying the temple begins, like Milton’s, with an important simile"

Well sure! Doesn't everybody's? He also says this:

"Rather than emotionally driven, Maine presents Samson as a logical person attempting to deduce the will of God through reason"

Which is, to say the least, a surprise to me...

But I shouldn't make fun of it--the guy's put some thought into my book, which I appreciate, and what the hell, I've been compared to worse people than Milton. (Although I guess he was sort of a shithead, if I'm remembering my Junior-year Milton class right. Didn't he treat his daughters like dirt?) And anyway this kind of writing puts my own academic career to shame--my college papers sounded like, "I really like Anne Sexton's poems I think they're really really good."

Anyway if you're interested, here's where you can read what the kids are saying about Dave Maine these days:

And if you're feeling nice you can even leave a comment. But no nasty ones, okay? I can't afford to alienate my, ahem, academic fan base.