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The Best Books of 2021

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This is the time of year when media outlets that review books come out with their best-of-the-year lists. I compared the top ten books of 2021 as determined by the editors at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Amazon. What’s clear to me is there is very little consensus on what the top ten books are, which is not surprising for a number of reasons. First, there...

Is a Dream a Hidden Door?

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I’ve always been a dreamer. Yes, the person who has (had) moonshot aspirations, but I’m talking about being a nighttime dreamer when my unconscious goes into rogue storytelling mode. Every. Single. Night. As a kid, I had recurring nightmares. As an adult, my dreams are invariably unsettling. There aren’t too many picnics and butterflies in my dreams. Since we all dream, you would think...

Rainmaking Rumors

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Alize slipped into a crevice between two boulders and shimmied to the top of the taller one. She sat cross-legged on her perch, raised her binoculars, and glassed the length of the pipeline, from north to south and back north again, then adjusted her viewing angle and scanned the western exposure beyond the pipeline into the dry, beige distance: washed-out rock and baked earth and sagebrush, long...

Mistakes Were Made, But I Was Grateful

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The other day I went for a run (some walking) at a trail network in town called Normanskill Ravine. True to its name, the single-track trail is steep. It doesn’t just go down into one ravine, but leads through a series of drops and climbs and switchbacks that lead you to the Normanskill, where you run flat along the creek for a while before looping back through long ascents and descents. Three...

Book Burning

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“It was a pleasure to burn.” So thought Montag, the protagonist of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451,” as he hosed kerosene onto a burning pile of books. Montag has good company in contemporary America. Two members of a Virginia school board recently called for a book burning of “sexually explicit” books. A school board member in Florida demanded that someone must be...

The Quest to Find Meaning

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I’ve been in a philosophical mood recently, at times contemplating the meaning of life, and therefore have supplemented my usual reading of fiction with two books atypical for me: David Benatar’s THE HUMAN PREDICAMENT and Victor E. Frankl’s MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING. Both books operate from the premise that life is inherently meaningless, that there is no cosmic purpose to our lives, and the...

Duke Whips It Out

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We’re practicing in the park across from the Zoo in the big meadow next to the golf course. Our Coach, Duke Donovan, has us run tackling drills over mud puddles. He blows his whistle and says huddle up men. It’s either a dirty joke or three laps for the fumble on the last play. We circle around, 11- and 12-year-olds of the St. Mark’s Lions 90-pound football team. He’s probably 30, younger than...

I’ve Been a Drug Addict

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I’ve been a father who doesn’t take his heart condition seriously but instead focuses on preventing his daughter from marrying a man he doesn’t approve of. I’ve been his daughter, a recent college graduate who meets the wrong kind of guy and slides into drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve been that wrong kind of guy who isn’t an awful person but will manipulate others to achieve his goals. I’ve been a...

A Book Review Makes My Day

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How do you discover the next book to read? For me, I look at my to-be-read pile teetering on the edge of my desk or my written list and choose from there, but the pile and list have origin stories as well. I read the New York Times Book Review every Sunday and receive the NYT Book Briefing newsletter and newsletters from several bookstores. Fellow readers who I trust make recommendations...

The Real Reason I Became a Writer

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You asked me how I decided to become a creative writer. The four of us were sitting outside finishing our lunch, the chill creeping in, and your question caught me by surprise. It shouldn’t have, since I’m sure you’re in the throes of deciding what to do next with your life and it makes sense to ask others how they decided about theirs. Although I’ve been asked this question often enough, I...

Just the Kind of Day You Want

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Just the kind of day you want for a run, in the woods, by the stream, past peak, sun doing its trick slanting through the trees. Fallen leaves conceal roots and ruts on the trail and other spots are muddy and slick, and I have to pay attention more than usual, focus where my foot will land and the trail will bend, that’s called being in the moment, said to be good for you, and I don’t fall, this...

Another Failed Diet

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The most controversial item on the election ballot in the Town of Bethlehem this past Tuesday was Proposition 6. If passed, a 1.3 mile stretch of busy four-lane road between Elsmere Ave. and the Albany city line would undergo a “Road Diet,” funded primarily by federal and state money. Four traffic lanes would be reduced to two—one in each direction—plus a center turn lane, dedicated bicycle lanes...

Time for an Important Talk

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They told their son he could become anything he wanted, and when he wanted to become a poet, they held their tongues and supported his dream. But now he was 27 years old, chronically underemployed, and didn’t seem to produce much work. Every three weeks or so the son would read to his parents a poem he wrote, and frankly, they usually didn’t understand it. The poems might have been lyrical, but...

Is Facebook Getting Into Poetry?

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Another corporate giant has rebranded itself. Facebook the company is now Meta the company. I suppose it had to be done because of brand confusion. Facebook was the name of the company as well as the name of the app used by billions of people. It’s similar to when Google the company became Alphabet the company, and Google remained one of Alphabet’s platforms. So why now? Many observers...

My Left-Handed Adventures

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It started with brushing my teeth left-handed. At first, my movements were clumsy, and I feared I wasn’t getting off all the tartar, and the dentist would reprimand me on my next visit. Also, I discovered when I employed my left arm, my dominant right just hung there like a drooping, effete claw. Accustomed to carrying all the workload, my right didn’t know what the hell was going on. With...

Is This Meeting Necessary?

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Dear Boss: We have a problem that is impacting productivity: I had six meetings today. That pretty much shot my entire workday. A meeting on budgeting, two separate marketing meetings, a meeting on organizational reporting structure, a meeting on product strategy, a meeting on Halloween decorations. I didn’t attend that last meeting on decorating, but I was invited because the organizer wanted a...

Dear Google Alerts:

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Savvy guy that I am, I use Google Alerts to catch any mentions of my novels STASH and CLEAN BREAK out there in the Internet cosmos. Just in case someone, somewhere, read one of these two cool books and wanted to tell the world. I’d want to know about it. I might even get in contact with such a dear reader. So I was pleased to get this alert today for David Klein Stash. Sadly, the alert had...

Artifacts Turn Up in Strange Places

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When I hear the word artifact I picture a shard of pottery or a primitive tool that gets unearthed during an archeological dig. Collection of objects was found by divers in the Tollense River in Germany and is probably the contents of a personal pouch of a warrior who died 3,300 years ago on the battlefield. Credit: Volker Minkus But I knew this wasn’t the definition of artifact that began to...

A Moment of Praise for These Two

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She’s 22, he’s 21. Both are completing their last semester of college, set to graduate in December. In their level of intellect, emotional maturity, and self-awareness, they’re light years ahead of where I was at that age, exposed to so much more, in some ways forced to grow up a lot faster, yet better protected in others.   He reads more than 50 books a year and approaches life with curiosity...

BEWILDERMENT, Richard Powers

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Devastating and essential are the two words I would use to describe this novel from Richard Powers, the Pulitzer-prize winning author of “The Overstory,” another novel I loved. In “Bewilderment,” Astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life in the cosmos while single-parenting his nine-year-old son, Robin, who is on the spectrum and about to get kicked out of third grade for bashing a fellow...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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