November is the official release date for my newest book about Rhode Island, but you can order it on Amazon now. (At the time of my writing this, it's on discount, but that tends to fluctuate.) Unlike my previous Rhode Island book, this is a more serious historical book, covering historical events in Rhode Island from the founding of the state to the sewing of the World's Biggest Sock.
Okay, so it's not all, like, super-serious.
But my point is, while my previous book about Rhode Island may have been about random silly things, and filled with whimsy in the form of pun-laden captions and ridiculous limericks, It Happened In Rhode Island is a more scholarly tome. Not, I should hasten to clarify, that this book is particularly academic, or high-minded. I just mean that I had to do actual research and write up historical events that happened in Rhode Island, and then the hardest part -- leaving out all the puns, rhymes, and dumb jokes that I might have been tempted to make.
That being said, the book is still surprisingly entertaining. Which is to say, when I got my proof copy, after having written it and forgotten about it, I was surprised how entertained I was to read it. Granted, it's easy to surprise someone with a terrible memory. But having stepped away from the research material for a bit, returning to read these little summaries of events was actually quite interesting. The book contains some "traditional history" that talks about the Great Swamp Massacre, Burning of the Gaspee, and some slightly more esoteric historical tidbits like General Burnsides.
But it also has more modern "historical" events, which include things like Babe Ruth's first home run, and the moment when Bob Dylan put down the acoustic guitar and picked up the electric guitar instead. And of course, no book about Rhode Island would be complete without some stories of ridiculous RI politicians. Because they are ridiculous. Anyway, this is my newest book, and you should buy a copy for yourself to put in your bathroom along with Rhode Island Curiosities and Think You're The Only One?, because it's a bunch of interesting little 4-page stories, and they're all true.
This book has been in progress for roughly a decade, and as of Fall 2010, is finally available. I hatched the idea during my
senior year of college, and began working on it the fall after my
graduation. Various interruptions, from full-time employment, to
writing the other books below, to home-buying, conspired to keep me from
But now I am finally done. My book, From God To Verse, is a line-by-line translation of the Five Books of Moses into rhyming couplets. Sure, it took me a while to finish and publish, but good things come to those who wait. I haven't left anything out, not even a single name from the endless genealogies and begats. What I have done is made the language more accessible, added parenthetical explanations in some places, and put in short chapter summaries. Oh, and made the whole thing rhyme. That was the hard part.
It's a little scary to realize that I've spent nearly a third of my life writing this book. I look back at where I was when I started it, both as a person and a writer, and am amazed how much I've done in the meantime. But while I have written three other books, this is no doubt my magnum opus (literally, "big penguin"). For anyone who wants to share the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy with others, or rediscover them yourself, I strongly encourage you to try my rhyming translation.
Given how small Rhode Island is, it's amazing how much stuff is packed in there. Sure, my new book has a few things everyone knows about, like Waterfire and the Big Blue Bug. But there's also some history, some cool events you've never heard of, and a whole bunch of fascinating people.
If you are in Rhode Island for any length of time, you are going to come across something from my book, even if it's by accident. But if you buy my book, then you'll know. Maybe you'll have read up about who brews the Yacht Club Soda you bought at the farm. Or maybe when you run into the Coupon Queen over dinner, you'll recognize her.
But Rhode Island Curiosities also contains things you would never come across on your own. And for some of it, that would be a shame. This book could entertain anyone, but naturally it will be of most interest to two groups of people: Those who live in Rhode Island, and those who might visit Rhode Island. The former group will be glad to see some of their favorite things in here, as well as learn about cool people or events just down the road, which you might catch in the near future.
As for visitors, Rhode Island offers a unique chance to see a whole bucket of cool stuff in a short time. You could pick any three places (aside from the annual events and world-travelling professionals), and easily catch them all in a day trip. Heck, there are dozens of things to see in a few hours just walking around Providence. My point is, unlike those travel books that list a hundred things to see of which you'll realistically only catch two on any given vacation, you can find everything in Rhode Island.
Compared to Think You're The Only One?, this book has a bit more of my voice. Rather than sticking to a purely fact-based reporting of my findings, I've tossed in my own opinionated commentary, a few limericks, more than a few puns, and often a whole lot of excitement about the topic. Why? Because Rhode Island is really cool. And once you read my book, chances are, you'll agree.
Buy it now!
In November of 2005, I wrote a
novel called Shards, as part of National
Novel Writing Month. I've got too many books in the works already
to be pitching it to publishers, so I printed it up through LuLu.
What's the advantage of this self-publishing? Well, instead of waiting
years to find the right publisher and make agreements like my other
books, it was instantly available online -- and still is. If you want to read some sample
chapters for free, or even purchase it, just follow Mr.
It was a change for me to write a
free-flowing story instead of a labored process of neverending re-editing
of minutia. It's my first novel and I'm glad I wrote it. It's heartfelt,
and in some sense contains more of me than other books I have written
and am writing. My friends who have read it all seemed to enjoy
it, but this book contains more of my deranged mind and less research than
my other books, so be warned.
Organizations of procrastinators
and pessimists? Competitors in sports ranging from cheese racing
to rock paper scissors? Religious devotees who worship everything
from slack to Satan? Men proud of their award-winning beards and
women against peeing while standing?
Yep, we've got all of that, ever since 2004.
Think You're The Only One?
is a collection of short profiles on over five dozen of the world's
most bizarre groups. Two-page spreads on everyone from the Christian
Deer Hunters to the Space Hijackers, with probing questions, inside
information, and of course, instructions to join. Although I certainly
had my trials and tribulations while writing the book, I must say
that it was pretty cool, at least in retrospect. I got to talk with
some truly fascinating people, from whom I found out a whole bunch
of neat stuff, which is all in a conveniently priced and portable