CategoryTwo-minute Reads

A Challenging Love Triangle

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The love triangle fascinates me. It’s a classic storytelling device because it comes with built-in drama, tension, and excitement. It radiates sex, secrets, and heartache. What more can you want from a story?  Rick, Ilsa, and Laslo in Casablanca. Jay, Daisy, and Tom in The Great Gatsby. Vampire, Werewolf, and Bella in the Twilight series. The love triangle never stops delivering. I’ve been...

2,000 Consecutive Days

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I’m not a dedicated social media user. I have a LinkedIn account but use it only to keep tabs on a few professional contacts. No Instagram, no TikTok, and no other platform that I happen not to know about because I’m too old or not cool enough. I fiddle with Facebook, mostly as a lurker and tracking old friends, with the occasional shameless self-promotion to persuade someone, anyone, to buy one...

The Juice is Gone

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It’s my first job in the corporate world. I work at a software company called MapInfo, a supposedly cool tech company. And yet today there’s a television on in the cafeteria and there must be a hundred people gathered around it to watch the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial that had captured our entire nation’s attention. Former NFL star, ad pitchman, and film actor Simpson had been...

Sunbeams Aren’t Made Like Kurt

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You learn a little more about this guy and you might not be so disdainful of the “tortured artist” cliché. No, this post is not about me. Kurt Cobain was a wildly talented musician and lyricist, and he fought his depression and addiction demons to the death—his own—joining the “27 Club” of musicians and other artists who died at that age: Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix...

I’ve Got My Father’s Longines

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My father, Bob (1927), and Harriet’s father, Joe (1926), were born a year apart. They both served in the Pacific in World War II. They both went to college on the GI bill that paid their way. They both married, led professional lives, and raised families—Bob in Buffalo and Joe in Brooklyn. They both lived into their eighties. They also had almost identical Longines wristwatches from the same era...

“The Zone of Interest”

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About “The Zone of Interest,” long-time movie critic Manohla Dargis at the New York Times wrote, “Jonathan Glazer has made a hollow, self-aggrandizing art-film exercise set in Auschwitz during the Holocaust.” I couldn’t disagree more. This film, loosely based on the plot of a novel by British writer Martin Amis, packed an emotional punch whose pain lingers in me days later. I’m more convinced...

Tree Trunk In My Way

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For someone who often willingly glues himself to his desk, I’m a physical, movement-oriented person. I need to exercise, do things, play things. I like to compete. I love to test my limits. And as lucky as I’ve been and as devoted as I am to my fitness, my limits are a lot closer than they used to be. The bar is no longer getting higher. It’s only dropping lower. About two years ago I wrote about...

“When We Were Orphans,” Kazuo Ishiguro

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Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the world’s most respected novelists, having won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017 based on a body of work of only seven novels and one collection of short fiction. I say “only” because many Nobel Prize winners have a much larger oeuvre. But Ishiguro’s work has a distinct and unique voice. He’s unlike any writer I’ve come across. His novels feature...

Riveting, Suspenseful, Drama

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I was perusing the offerings on Netflix recently and ended up watching nothing. That’s because I was so absorbed by the three-word tags that Netflix has appended to every movie or series title. Understated, Inspiring, Dramedy Gruesome, Suspenseful, Horror As different titles and their accompanying graphics and text tags were presented to me, one after the other, each one shown just long enough...

What We Talk About When We Talk About . . .

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Back in 2020, I listed “The Most Important Novels in My Life” (including a couple of short story collections). I stated my goal of re-reading these twenty-five books to discover my top ten. I’ve bailed on ever being able to pick a top ten, but I’ve re-read most of the books on my list and just finished Raymond Carver’s collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, originally published in...

Greet or Ignore that Passing Stranger?

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I live in a mostly friendly suburban town, where people often greet or at least acknowledge another person when walking past them on the street. But the other day Jim and I were walking in the neighborhood when we reached a corner at the same time as a couple coming from the other direction. They were in conversation; so were we. Jim said hi. I waved. They completely ignored our presence even...

The Fleeting Flavor of Fruit Stripe Gum

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It’s Christmas morning. And my birthday. I’m not sure what age: old enough to know better, yet young enough to think I can get away with it. The living room is in tatters after five kids rip open their Christmas presents. In our stockings are individual packs of Fruit Stripe gum. Five juicy flavors! My favorite! We have to get ready for Mass but I beg my parents to let me have just one stick of...

Hard on Myself, and Others

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I’m in a meeting with a professional colleague/client who doubles as an adviser to me and triples as someone I can talk to like a friend. I might be the same for him. Today we’re in the middle of a business discussion, but then he shifts the topic as he tends to do and is now telling me a story about when he was young and his mom told him he was very hard on himself. I immediately relate. I’ve...

Chain-Gang All-Stars

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I had plenty of reasons to pick up Chain-Gang All-Stars, the debut novel by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. It made The New York Times “Ten Best Books of the Year” list. It was nominated for a National Book Award. And it was a Read with Jenna Book Club pick (that would be Jenna Bush). Plus, I’m always up for a good dose of dystopia (even wrote one myself: The Culling). The premise: a privatized, for...

Unusual Movie Choice for a Holiday

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For various reasons, it was just the four of us this year for Thanksgiving. With Owen studying forestry in New Haven and Julia working full time as a dietician and studying for her Master’s, the kids lead busy lives. Having this day together felt like a gift. We all contributed to our Thanksgiving feast. Owen is the cranberry sauce expert. Julia handled the Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes...

David Klein

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

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