Monday, November 7, 2011



Edition 1 volume 1

Many more to come, I am sure!

Your read correctly, it's time for the first Dork Report. I will be the first to admit there were plenty of opportunities to relay such reports in the past, but this incident called for special attention since the egregious occurrence seems to be perpetrated at another's hand. However, I can't lie to you, it was all my fault.

If you are one of the five or six people who read my first Sunday of the month column in the Herald Times Reporter, something in yesterday's offering might have rung a tiny bell. That's because it was my November 2010 column! When I sent it over to Ben, I selected the wrong file. I guess they have come to trust me enough to just print what I send with no editing. Something tells me that might change now.

So, don't go blaming Ben. He's a good guy, and the HTR is painfully understaffed. They do their best, and sometimes fill in the blank spaces with sub-standard work like mine.

I'm not sure when they will run the correct column. I have begun alternating months with Cherilyn Stewart, the Director of the Manitowoc Public Library. It saves time for both of us, but continues to get the word out concerning the local reading scene.

If you're interested, I have included the article that should have run. Ben may save it for January, at which point I hope to convince him that, if he must use my picture with the article, that we find a more current one. I have had two different sets of glasses since that picture was taken, and my current frames are now three years that tells you way too much, correct?

By this time you're all thinking "What a dork," but I beat you to it, didn't I?

Here's the article:

Every morning, upon opening my email, I find a newsletter from the fine folks at Shelf Awareness. For anyone into books, this one-stop source gathers info on up and coming authors and titles, as well as teaser chapters from yet to be published books.

My favorite newsletter feature is a column called “The Book Brahmin”, posing a set of questions to a writer, illustrator, book editor or other individual involved in publishing. The column title references a group of 19th century writers who, taking their name from the highest level in India’s caste system, called themselves the New England Brahmans. These writers, associated with Harvard and Cambridge, included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Bronson Alcott. Along with their nature loving, politically activists peers, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, the Brahmins ushered in the Transcendental movement Their works continue planting seeds of non-conformity in the minds of high school American literature students

That might all sound dry, and boring, but, really, the column is lively and revealing. Since my drop-in visits to the HTR began about two years ago, people often approach me randomly to talk about what they’re reading. People love to share their thought on books. These discussions invariably end with a flurry of questions about my favorites. That got me thinking about the “Book Brahmin” questions, and so, with the permission of my friend, Marilyn Dahl, Book Review Editor at Shelf Awareness, I decided to put myself in the Brahmin hot seat.

Here goes:

What’s on your nightstand right now? Scattered about my home, you’ll find The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, a whimsical British book about an inept Beefeater and 128 year old tortoise named Mrs. Cook. I’m also working on Sacre Bleu an advance reader copy of Christopher Moore’s offbeat interpretation of what caused Van Gogh’s death. You’ll always find a David Sedaris and a Garrison Keillor lying about, as well as a new addition to the ever -on- hand catalogue, a sturdy 1925 edition of Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints.

Have you ever faked reading a book? Oh goodness, true confession time. Yes, I faked reading The Scarlet Letter...twice! I even wrote an essay or two about this unread novel. Ironic, isn’t it? Such a grand deception about a book warning of the effects of sin and guilt. However, I redeemed myself by reading (and enjoying) just about every Hawthorne short story Hawthorne ever wrote.

Ever bought a book for the cover? In fact, I just bought and read The Family Fang for that reason. I couldn’t resist the family portrait – nerdy dad, Lisa Loeb look-alike mom, and two kids wearing Commedia dell'arte masks. The engaging, and somewhat twisted, story of a family who staged “happenings” in pre-flash mob days balances the good with the bad about growing up surrounded by unchecked creativity.

Is there a book that changed your life? In 9th grade, I read Manchild in the Promised Land by Charles Brown’, chronicling his coming of age amidst poverty and violence in Harlem. It’s the first time I fully understood that not everyone was as fortunate and as happy as I was. That’s a huge discovery.

Favorite line from a book? That’s easy. “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” That’s from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry. Everyone ought to read that book.

Want to step into the witness stand and be my next Book Brahmin? Email me at bdenor @, and we’ll get started.