Tuesday, March 9, 2010

free beer. i mean, book.

I have a few book-related rules:

1. No hardcovers (bulky, expensive).
2. If by page 100 a book has no redeeming qualities, it's OK to put it down.
3. Avoid books with cute titles that include words like "sweetness" and "pie" and "secret life of bees."
4. Only read books with pages made of paper (no Kindles, no e-books, no stone tablets).
5. Buy local.
6. When a friend's book is published, buy a copy the minute it's released.

When my friend Creston Lea's book came out last week, I was so excited to follow rule no. 6 that I broke rule no. 5 and bought a copy online. I was so excited, in fact, that I apparently put not one but two copies of Creston's book in my cyber shopping cart. So I have an extra, which I'd like to share with one of you.

In case you're worried, Creston's book, a collection of short stories called Wild Punch, doesn't break rules 1 through 4.

1. It's not bulky or expensive. The stories are both generous and lean, rich with detail but without an extra ounce of fat. And the characters, who you'll want to save/shake/marry/go drinking with, are for the most part flat broke.
2. There's no way you'll want to quit after page 100. In fact, you'll reread stories as you go along, and as you near the end you'll read more slowly to make the book last as long as possible.
3. The title is not cute, and neither are the stories: They're smart and risky and well-wrought and dark (yet beautiful and somehow hopeful, too).
4. The copy I'm giving away cannot be read on a Kindle and will be sent to the winner through a thing called the mail (that's not a misspelling). The pages are made of paper, and the front and back covers feature illustrations by the talented Miss Sarah Ryan.

So if you're looking for a good read, send an email to gruelfordinner [at] gmail [dot] com by Friday, March 12, at 5:00 p.m. EST, and my assistant will randomly select someone to receive a copy. If that someone is not you, don't think of yourself as a loser, think of yourself as a good sport, and then go to your local bookstore and buy a copy. It's called Wild Punch, and it's by Creston Lea.


  1. how is your assistant with a piping bag? i may need to borrow him on friday as i have to bake 700, yes 700, cupcakes!

    p.s. what does courant mean?

  2. MLC, I cannot WAIT to eat 100 of those cupcakes on Saturday. However, my assistant's skills in the kitchen are limited to eating crumbs off the floor. And the last time he was around a baked good, he managed to lick a few inches of frosting off the side of a cake the yachtsman had baked.

  3. loving the b.c. book, eh? W.P. is far superior, i agree.KM

  4. MLC: i wondered the very same thing about courant! if you ever need an assistant -- i'd love to see how your kitchen works -- and i take cupcakes as payment :)

    kate: Wild Punch sounds interesting, and I'm always looking for a good (free) read...

  5. KM, I haven't even started the BC book yet! So I'm judging it entirely by it's cover. And I've been refusing to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on similar grounds. Cutting off my nose to spite that cute title, probably...

  6. I had no idea Creston was also an author. I can't wait to read his book even if I don't win it!