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Thursday, July 2, 2009

How to Train a Rock by author Paul Steven Stone

Blind Elephant Press, 189 pp.

This book was sent to me for review as part of Library Things Member Giveaway Early Reviewers program. Thanks are due to both the author and LT for their consideration.

I'll have to be honest here. I was a little skeptical about this book before reading it. The author describes it as "Short Insights and Fiction Flights". I had no idea I what I was entering into; and expected some kind of off the wall humor, such as that you find in bathroom readers. The first story did not do much to alleviate my concern, as its subject is dog droppings on the front yard. Imagine my surprise, no, perhaps shock is a better term when the fifth story rolled around. Now, we had been leaving humor behind already for some beautiful, lyrical poetry in Listen to the Wind and an emotionally powerful essay on a child abused at the hands of a church leader. But nothing had prepared me for Pretty White Gloves, which is an insight on the descent into hell for a Vietnam War veteran. I was floored. This story kicks you in the guts. I know I have been imprinted with it for life.

From there it was a wild swing of elegantly written articles covering just about everything under the sun. Yes, there was certainly humor. And beautiful emotional articles; most centering around the author's personal life and experiences.

This book is a collection of some of the author's best articles from a long running column of his called "A Stone's Throw". I loved it! The writing is exceedingly good. I recommend it to everyone. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to review this book, or I am sure I would never have discovered it; and I would really have been missing out. This truly is a gem of a book.

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