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Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Maine can write, no question there."

...Or at least, so say the fine folks in Vail, Colorado, whose Vail Daily reviewed Monster and gave it a generally favorable reading. (Though they make reference to the "fundamentalist Islamic texts" that I cite in the appendix--say what?) For those completists among you, here's the link:

It is, as I say, generally positive, though there are some weird turns of phrase in there too. Ah well... I'm guilty of that myself, from time to time.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Keep an eye on

The lively and often-entertaining site interviewed me while in NYC last week, and is supposedly going to post the hour-long (!) interview sometime soon. I'll post the link when it shows up, but in the meantime, the site itself is well worth exploring:

NY Times: You win some, you lose some

Janet Maslin at the New York Times has given a thoughtful, though mixed, review of Monster, 1959 in today's edition of the paper. I won't claim that it's entirely positive--it's not--but there is certainly a blend of both admiration and doubt. Anyway, it's food for thought, and she does say enough nice things to make me feel like maybe I picked the right career after all. (Your mileage may vary.) Here's the link.

Barnes and Nobles Rocks; Rhinebeck Swings

First of all, many many thanks to both the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Greenwich Village, NYC, and to Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, NY, for their generosity in hosting me over the weekend. Both events went well, although both were small; maybe 8 or 10 people in the city, and 6 or 7 in Rhinebeck. But that was okay, it just added to the intimacy of the events, and gave me the chance to talk to people face-to-face, which is how I like to do it.

Above is a photo of the tremendously kind Dick Hermans, who runs Oblong Books and Music. I have to say, I've been in a lot of bookstores in my life, and this is one of the finest I've ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because they were nice to me... Oblong's book selection is outstanding, especially their fiction, and the music range is impressive too, especially for a relatively small store. I urge anyone with an interest to take a ride out through Rhinebeck sometime and check it out. Rhinebeck is a fun little town in and of itself, and home of the famous Aerodrome that offers weekly air shows using restored World War I biplanes and triplanes.
(The fact that, in the above photo, I appear to be falling asleep, has nothing to do with either the own or the bookstore, but is just the side effect of my recent change in medication. Oh, come on, I'm kidding.)
In both venues I read for about 25 minutes from the new book, then took questions, some of which focused on the material in the book (monster movies, in particular) and some which were more general about how I go about writing anything at all. (Typical question: do I make an outline? Answer: no.) People also askes about living in Pakistan, my perception of events there, and whether I thought the US media reflected those events accurately. (Answer: no.) So all in all, the two events, each about an hour long, were interesting and fun both for me and--I hope--for the people who attended.

Special mention must be made of my number one fan, Lori from Pennsylvania, who drove up from the Poconos to attend the first evening's reading at the B&N on the Upper West Side--the event that got cancelled. I went up to that store anyway, on the off chance that some people might show after reading this blog, and lo! there was Lori and her pal (now my pal too) Sunshine, looking baffled at the guy behind the counter who was explainig patiently that nope, Dave Maine wasn't due to appear that night... Anyway we ended up sitting for coffee for an hour and, once again, having a great time talking about just about everything. So that was time well spent--thanks, Lori & Sunshine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


...Not by me, but there you go. The Dec 20 event at Barnes and Noble in Greenwich Village was intended to replace the reading at 82nd and Broadway, but nobody thought to tell me that.

My sincere apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by this. If it were up to me, I'd be there anyway. Thanks for understanding and I hope to see you tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Off to NYC

Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 19) I'll be trundling down to New York to do a couple of reading events:

FEBRUARY 19 (Tuesday), Barnes and Noble at 82nd and Broadway, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

FEBRUARY 20 (Wednesday), Barnes and Noble in Greenwich Village, Ave of the Americas at 8th Street, 7:30pm. Same deal: Reading, q+a, signing. Come along and ask me something really confrontational and snotty. Make it fun!

Maybe I'll get a photo or two from these events to post next time, along with a funny story. Hey, it could happen...

Also in store:

FEBRUARY 23 (Saturday) brings me to Rhinebeck, NY, and Oblong Books on 6422 Montgomery Street (Route 9), also at 7:30pm for a similar event. For those of you who prefer your lit'rary events outside the big city.

MARCH 20 (Thursday), in South Hadley, MA, home of Mount Holyoke College, has a reading at Odyssey Books, 9 College Street. 7:30, same schedule.

That's all for now. Hope to see you on one of these evenings.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cooking Tips for Bachelors #4: sauteed bay scallops

Happy Valentine's Day, sweethearts.

So here I am at my mom's house in Connecticut, sitting in front of her Ferrari-esque computer (motto: "More computing power than the Apollo missions had") in scenic yet wintry Ye Olde Newwe Englande. And what better way to celebrate, um, mid-February ("only six more months till winter!") than by whipping up a pan of tasty yet delicious bay scallops, buttery and tender and melt-in-your-mouth-tastic:

1. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, enough to coat the bottom. Drop in a couple tablespoons of butter and let it melt.

2. Dice as much garlic as you can stand, and toss that in. (I use 5 or 6 cloves.) Let it start to sizzle, then add a little salt and pepper.

3. The whole mess is pretty hot by now. Pour in some white wine, which will sizzle and snap in a most satisfying manner.

4. Add about a pound of bay scallops. Be sure to slice off the little stem-like foot beforehand, otherwise this bit will grow rubbery when you cook it.

5. Stir the scallops around in the pan for about 90 seconds. Don't cook them too much. They will go from translucent to white, and that's when you're done. If you can bother yourself to flip them, so both sides are cooked through, that's nice.

6. Remove from heat. You now have a pound of delicious scallops and a bunch of gravy. Slop it over some rice and dig in.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Oprah Mag exhibits great taste and discernment

Take a look at what the March issue of O, the Oprah Magazine (on sale now, BTW) has to say about Monster, 1959:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

More updates

For those of you in or near to Western Massachusetts, who are uninterested or unable to get to New York this month, I will be appearing at Odyssey Books at 9 College Street, South Hadley, Mass. on Thursday, March 20 at 7:30 for a reading/q&a/signing. The phone # is (413) 534-7307. In the coming weeks I am also supposed to be interviewed for a web site called, which is apparently something special (though it's new to me), and I believe the interview will be posted on the site. Besides this, rumor has it that both The New York Times and O, the Oprah magazine are due to review Monster, 1959 in the near future--like, in the next week or two. So keep your fingers crossed and think happy thoughts.

All this is in addition to the two Barnes and Nobles readings on February 19 and 20 in New York City, and Feb 23 in Rhinebeck, NY (see my entry below, at the start of January). I'm also still confirmed for the Newburyport Literary Festival, but have no specifics as to exactly what I'll be doing, or when.

I will return with a special bay scallops edition of Cooking Tips for Bachelors in the near future, so, stay tuned.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Can someone tell me what just happened?

I'm sorry... I thought you just said the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

So there I am, sitting in my new, temporary, sparsely-furnished living room, with a cable-less 21" TV that I had to go buy a plug-in aerial for, squinting through the snowy reception to watch the Big Game, and what do I see? Tom Brady knocked onto the ground. Again. And again. Again. Bad pass, great coverage, Brady on the ground. Repeat until bored, then watch it several more times. And it's only the first half.

What can I tell you? The Giants played better, had a better game plan maybe, and seemed to suffer from nerves less than the Patriots. You can't blame the refs for this one. So congratulations to them and their fans. (The Giants I mean, not the refs.)

On a happier note, Uzee and I spent yesterday afternoon wandering around downtown Northampton, Massachusetts, a place I"ve heard much about but had never been to before. Great bookstore there called Raven Used Books, a terrific diner called Jakes, and more funky jewellery, ceramics, art supplies, cappucino and kitsch than you can shake a Jesus Action Figure at. Yes, I actually saw the famous Jesus Action Figure in the window of one shop. "With moveable arms and realistic gliding action" or something like that. There was also a Moses Action Figure, for those of you interested in collecting the whole set.

Also we discovered, real, genuine, honest-to-God bulk tea at a crunchy health food place; Uzee was most relieved. And much more that escapes me in the pos-Super-Bowl haze of dismay that I find myself surrounded by this morning, alas.

Hey... just wait till next year.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

90 minutes before the Super Bowl. And counting.

Yes, what can I say. I'm a New England boy at heart and expect I always will be. So here's hoping the Patriots pull off a terrific victory and make their perfect season complete.

In other news, Uzee and I have relocated to the US for the time being so that I can do some publicity for the new book, among other things. Some upcoming events are listed a few entries down the page; stay tuned for additional news as I get word of it.

Currently reading The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips. Oh man what a great book. Funny and smart and complicated, reads like a thriller or a whodunit but the characters are impeccably drawn. I'm maybe halfway through, so, maybe it'll crash and burn before the end but I don't think so. It reminds me somewhat of Matthew Kneale's English Passengers in its tone, and coming from me that's high praise indeed. Kneale's book is one of the best I've ever read.

BTW, this site has the time wrong. As I write this it's 4:45. Go figure.