CategoryTwo-minute Reads

What a Start to the Day!


I wake to a strange reddish cast of light in my room. Is it the apocalypse? I get out of bed and stumble my bleary way to the window and there in front of me is the most incredible dawn. By the dawn’s early light. This has to be an omen of good things to come. Sure enough, while I’m getting dressed, I choose a shirt from my drawer I have not worn in months, and folded inside it is my...

Friends & Family Fans


That’s my friend Howard on the left. He’s the frontman for the rock band the Coal Palace Kings. They get it on every Black Friday, this year at the Hangar on the Hudson, a cavernous, spartan venue in Troy, NY. If you miss the Black Friday performance, you don’t get to see the Coal Palace Kings. They perform once, maybe twice a year, these oldish guys who’ve been loving and playing music all their...

Life Notes: November 2022


It’s fire season again. Thanks to my local crew that hones in on any fallen hardwood tree in Delmar, and our joint ownership of a beastly wood splitter, I’m stocked up on seasoned firewood. Nothing like an evening fire in the kitchen and in the living room—the joy of a two-sided fireplace. Pumpkin approves. My battery died on my laptop and replacing it required prying off the entire back of the...

Buzzwords are Buzzkill


I recently read an article in Fortune titled “Let’s not circle back on that: These 10 corporate buzzwords are the most hated in America.” Then I came across a report in the Harvard Business Review that said writing in the financial industry is so full of jargon and complexity that poorly written financial statements can actually harm a corporation’s market value. As someone who’s written volumes...

The Magic of Air Travel


What is it about air travel that makes it so ripe for speculative storytelling? Maybe it’s the improbability of flying 30,000 feet above the earth in skinny metal tubes. Or as a passenger, the complete surrendering of any sense of control over your fate.   A recent French novel and an American television series both rely on a similar premise about air travel. In the NBC series Manifest (now...

Driving Lesson: The Zipper Merge


Driving on the highway back from North Carolina, we see a sign that the right lane is closed in one mile. Immediately drivers start switching to the left lane, leaving the right lane open. I do the opposite, switching from the left lane to the right lane, while the left lane backs up almost to a standstill even though the right lane doesn’t end for close to another mile. I cruise in the right...

Fake Friends Are Good For You


Did you know that fictional characters can be an important part of your social network? Most people know that social interactions are important to your well being. And according to Dr. Laurie Santos, the Yale professor whose course “The Science of Well-being” I took, “. . . when we can’t get the real thing, we’re pretty good at finding creative ways to fill those gaps.” There is a social...

A Story You Would Wait in Line in the Rain to See


Back then, my literary agent, who I had just signed a contract with to represent my novel, “Stash,” asked me if I’d ever heard of Robert McKee and his book, “Story.” I hadn’t. She suggested I get the book, read the book, and then work on my novel some more. I had mistakenly believed the novel was finished. After all, she’d agreed to represent me, so she must have thought “Stash” could sell. But...

Fallingwater Delivers on Its Promise of Spectacular


Somewhere in the backwoods of Western Pennsylvania stands a house called Fallingwater designed by the iconic twentieth-century architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I’ve always wanted to visit Fallingwater—considered one of Wright’s masterpieces—and I finally did. The famous view of Fallingwater. I grew up in Buffalo, NY, where I never tired of walking past the two Frank Lloyd Wright houses in my...

Does It Stand the Test of Time?


When I travel, I like to bring along a favorite book to reread. I’ve been rereading from the list of The Most Important Novels in My Life (some short story collections made the list), and one of the questions I consider is whether the book stands the test of time. Almost forty years after first reading Lorrie Moore’s debut book of short stories, “Self-Help,” I realize time isn’t a test, or if it...

White Privilege on Display in “The White Lotus”


Since we’re paying for a plethora of streaming services (HBO, Hulu, Netflix, etc.), I decided it was time to actually watch something on one of them. HBO’s “The White Lotus” was my choice. Six episodes, six hours of witnessing the power of white wealth, privilege, and entitlement, skewered and served up with huge doses of cynicism, cringe, and above all, entertainment. Entertainment because...

Feeling Lucky? Get Gambling!


I was meeting a friend, mentor, and professional associate (all one person!) in Schenectady at a restaurant for lunch and arrived early because I ran a few errands on the way and ended up with extra time. How to spend that time? I’ve been thinking I should spend more time making money, since the book royalties gravy train chugs slowly and the financial portfolio is nosediving. So why not pop in...

Be Careful Who You Slap


A couple of years ago, I made a list of the Most Important Novels in My Life. Since then, I’ve been rereading them to see how well they stand the test of time. Christos Tsiolkas’ “The Slap” remains near the top of my list. The story is set in suburban Melbourne and follows a core group of friends and relatives that cross racial and class lines. It opens with Hector and Aisha hosting a...

The Most Important Novels in My Life


I have set myself a task for 2020: reread the ten most important books in my life. To qualify for the list, the novel (or novella or short story collections; I’m including those also), must meet one or more of the following criteria: It was so profound and meaningful to me that I’ve read the novel multiple times. It significantly influenced my own development as a novelist. The...

The NYS Writers Institute Resides in the Doughnut Hole


What does one do on a sunny, mild September Saturday? In my case, I spend it indoors at the Book Festival presented by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. I’ve heard people call this area of upstate New York the hole in the doughnut. They say there’s nothing really here, but we’re within easy driving distance to the world-class cities of New York, Boston, and...

David Klein

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


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