Open Books Newsletter
Spring 2024

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New Books, New Authors, New Year!
Reviews, Interviews, 
Excerpts & more...
Featured Books for Q1 2024

Author Arthur Kevin Rein is back this Spring with a sequel to his largely popular 2022 Debut Novel, Rolling in the Deep
A Flame Worth The Candle is now available from Open Books Direct. 
Don't Look Now but The Band is Back!
Instead of playing in rundown bars, Uncle Joe’s Band now sell out concert halls.

Prior to a tour in Japan, a letter arrives claiming one of the band members, Ian, is the father of an unnamed young woman, who coincidentally is the member of another band, Stygian Teal. In the hopes of identifying Ian’s daughter, Uncle Joe’s Band attends a Stygian Teal concert. Much to their surprise, they find not one, but four Stygian Teal band members, any of which could be Ian’s daughter.

Meanwhile, as the band’s namesake Uncle Joe, an aged deadhead, makes his way across North America during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, another Uncle Jo, Joji Kinsara, makes his way across the Japanese archipelago. Everywhere he goes, Joji leaves large painted haiku poems, which become noted works of art. In his travels Joji visits the Nagano Winter Olympics, starts an environmental revitalization of Mt. Fuji, and helps ensure that a young Masako Owada becomes a future empress.

As they journey through Japan, Uncle Joe’s Band attempts to discern which young woman is Ian’s daughter, how to deal with newfound fame, and what it takes to formulate a family.
Mark Glassman does a surprisingly good job of feigning confidence, fooling everyone but himself.

Mark Glassman is twenty-five in 1979. Self-taught after dropping out of college, he devises a course of study that encompasses such varied works as The Sorrows of Young Werther, The Universal Baseball Association, and Portnoy's Complaint. But the amount of alcohol he consumes, the vast quantities of pot he smokes, and the other drugs he experiments with compromise the seriousness of this endeavor.

When Glassman falls in love with Teresa Devlin, he realizes that he is terrified of her sexually, and that his only recourse is to resume his pursuit of Sarah Sloane, one of his housemates in a shared living arrangement. Soon Glassman arrives at the neat psychological ploy of playing the two women off one another.

Eventually, Glassman packs his bags for Long Beach Island, where he spends the winter feeling sorry for himself. Will he ever fully recover from acting out to an extraordinary degree? Is happiness even possible for a person such as himself?
Recent Events by Open Books Authors
Pamela Gwyn Kripke is a journalist and author whose stories have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, Medium, New York Magazine, Parenting, Elle, D Magazine, Creators Syndicate, Gannett Newspapers and McClatchy. Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have been published or are forthcoming in Folio, The Concrete Desert Review, The Barcelona Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Book of Matches, The MacGuffin, Meet Me At 19th, The Woven Tale Press, Underwired, Doubleback Review and Round Table Literary Journal.

Her novel, At the Seams, received the Arch Street Press First Chapter Award and was excerpted in Embark and West Trade Review.
Robert Klose teaches at the University of Maine and is the single father of sons adopted from Russia and Ukraine. He is a regular contributor of essays to The Christian Science Monitor. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, The Boston Globe, and various literary magazines. His books include the memoirs, Adopting Alyosha — A Single Man Finds a Son in Russia and Adopting Anton — A Single Man Seeks a Son in Ukraine; the essay collections Small Worlds — Adopted Sons, Pet Piranhas and Other Mortal Concerns and The Three-Legged Woman & Other Excursions in Teaching; and the novels, Long Live Grover Cleveland, which won a 2016 Ben Franklin Literary Award and a USA BookNews Award, and Life on Mars, which was a Finalist for a 2019 Best Book Award sponsored by American Book Fest and was also a Finalist in the International Book Awards and American Fiction Awards.

He is also a four-time winner of a Maine Press Association award for Opinion writing. 

Dr. Eileen Ryan has taught in a variety of educational environments from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northern Montana to the urban and suburban schools of Chicago. 

Developing resource programs at three private high schools motivated Dr. Ryan to pursue a PhD in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout her career she also taught graduate and undergraduate level courses and provided professional development in special education to a variety of schools.

Dr. Ryan’s quick wit and wisdom are greatly admired by colleagues, friends and family, and her husband, children, and grandchildren will testify under oath that she makes the best Chritmas fudge anywhere.

A collection of twenty-one poignant and humorous short stories by Pamela Gwyn Kripke.
When a former close friend and rival is murdered, world-weary but still aspiring optimist Jeffrey goes back to the beginning, to those fraught college years at Yale University during the 1980s and to her, to make sense of what happened—only to discover that what needs most making sense of is himself. 

By turns smart, funny, and heart-wrenching, Bright College Years tracks Jeff and an ensemble cast as they navigate the shortest, gladdest, most complex years of life.
The women and girls in these twenty-one stories encounter hurt—to their emotions, bodies, beliefs and ideas—confronting who they are or will become. Their predicaments reveal the subtleties of human interaction, the power in one's decisions and ultimately, the complex resilience that imbues women's lives. A captivating look at managing transgression, the collection is an honest, funny and astute portrayal of the female experience.

Anax Grayson, a neuroscientist and physicist, enlists in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and is assigned to an undermanned reconnaissance team. One member, Skeeter Hatfield, has suffered since childhood from a rare malady known as heautoscopic hallucinations during which he sees ghostly, extra-corporeal projections of his dead twin brother. In a journal Grayson records his observations of Hatfield’s neurological condition, and speculates about friendship, love, notions of time and space, neuroscience, consciousness, and the myths of agency and selfhood.
Andrew Pessin is Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College, with degrees from Yale and Columbia—though he is perhaps most recognized for his appearances years ago as “The Genius” on the Late Show with David Letterman. Author of four philosophy books, and one textbook. His book, Uncommon Sense: The Strangest Ideas from the Smartest Philosophers, was named an “Outstanding Academic Title of 2013” by Choice. His first novel, The Second Daughter, written under the pen name J. Jeffrey was a Semi-Finalist in Literary Fiction at The Kindle Book Review Book Awards. In his spare time he composes and performs amusing philosophy songs.
Stephen Spotte, a marine scientist, was born and raised in West Virginia. He has published 19 books, including three volumes of fiction, a memoir, and a work of cultural theory. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist of The Wildlife Society and also holds a U.S. Merchant Marine officer's license.

Dr. Spotte now lives and writes from his home in Longboat Key, Florida.

It's been less than two months since Sam Robel and Diane Warren took down the Manticores and their connections to organized crime. The disgraced family is a wounded but still dangerous animal, crouched in the Northwoods, licking its wounds. Sam and Diane think the fireworks for the summer of 2013 are over, but then Diane's father suddenly appears at Noquebay Resort, released from prison under suspicious circumstances with only half of a twenty-year sentence for negligent homicide completed. And then a girl that Sam thought was gone forever visits him with news that transforms his and Diane's lives forever.

In a far-away city there hides a woman who unwittingly holds the key to the future for both Sam and Diane. But there is fear in this woman's eyes and words she will not speak. Will solving her riddle prove fatal? Can a family curse be put to rest? In this story of heroism and sacrifice, Sam and Diane are swept to a place where nothing is guaranteed and everything is at stake.
Arthur Kevin Rein grew up on a resort (with five siblings and four cousins) much like the one described in Rolling in the Deep and A Flame Worth the Candle. Since then, Rein has graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh, obtained a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and practiced Internal Medicine for forty years. He has published short stories and non-fiction works. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife. 
While Fred is sure his learning disability is the reason he can never find his shoes, he mostly believes his LD is the reason he will never feel normal.

​​Fred and his best friend Henry, who has ADHD, attend Mrs. Hogan’s resource class where she teaches them what LD and ADHD mean, and more importantly, what role the disorders will play in their lives. 

As Fred navigates four years of high school—confronting bullies, struggling with homework and tests, losing his shoes, and trying to answer the question, Who are you, Fred?—readers will gain an understanding about the complexities of 
learning disabilities.

Why can't Fred find his shoes?
Ready to pull the Trigger?
Happily ensconced as a tenured Professor of Biology at the small Skowhegan College in the wilds of Maine, Tymoteusz Tarnaszewski—who goes by the moniker "T"—suddenly finds himself in unknown ​territory when an incident in a colleague's classroom motivates the college administration to issue a blanket policy requiring the installation of "trigger warnings" in all syllabi. 

T, believing that this would constrain his teaching, refuses to comply, even after one of his own students lodges a complaint about something T said during the course of a genetics lecture. The administration's judgment is swift: T will be terminated at semester's end for insubordination.

What recourse, if any, does T have to save his position? And what will he do when he learns the higher-ups knew, early on, that the student who lodged the complaint against him is actually a threat to the school?

Loss of a beloved home leads Jill Carstens 
to encounter her fundamental identity
Micah Thorp
Looking Back on 2023 
Favorites from Familiar Writers and a Few Fresh Faces
Open Books author Jill Carstens recently launched her newly published memoir, Getting Over Vivian, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado at the Wolf and Wildflower Wine Bar, and also in Salida, Colorado at Salida Books.
Open Books author Robert Klose has been busy with events to launch his new novel, Trigger Warning at University Bookstore in Orono, Maine, at Maine authors for Lewiston to benefit the families of the mass shooting victims in that city, at the Bangor Authors and Literary Book Festival in Bangor, Maine, and on WABI TV.