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Home > Magazine > Reading
"Tales of Beatnik Glory": Blast from the 60's plus Heritage
April 07, 2014 - "Tales of Beatnik Glory" is a super book for anyone who missed the 60's or wants to relive them, with an emphasis on the East Village of NYC. Click on the pic and order a cheap Kindle edition. Hard to believe the paper has gone outta print already, but copies are also usually available at the same link. The Tales are written...
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Trying to Read "The Dharma Bums" Again...
September 26, 2013 - I'm reading "The Dharma Bums" these days. I've started it a few times over the years. We'll how it goes this time. The story kicks off with a nice train-hop up the CA coast and then a big reading/party where Ginsberg first reads Howl and where the Beat scene actually started. I'm up in the air about what the writing is ...
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An Outdoor Heritage Reading List
July 01, 2013 - Ron Watters is an outdoor educator of longtime and high standing. He's also closely involved with the National Outdoor Book Awards and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education. He teaches a course in Idaho (at ISU) on outdoor literature (lucky!). Here's his recommended reading list. Hmm, maybe this is something that I ...
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Top 10 Lifechanging Books?
September 08, 2012 - What's your shortlist of must-read life-changing books? Probably some of these would have an outdoor aspect to them. I'd say let's feel free to give it that slant, if you like. But color outside the lines freely. I suppose some titles are also most impactful at a certain time o' life. Feel free to not o'erlook that either. You ...
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Books Tips for the Great White North
August 17, 2012 - Much North American heritage relates to Canada and its backwoods history. The voyageurs hugely influenced the development of the Continent. Well, their influence has spread onward all the way to today, in rather a direct fashion. There are a nice passle of books out there that outline this connection and help give us a more solid ...
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September 18, 2011 - Fashion plates. Caravan lovers. Automotive enthusiasts. Hearty cudgelists. Strolling tea-drinkers. Messers about in boats.
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RIP: Len Fulton -- small press savior
July 27, 2011 - This just in: Len Fulton, the force behind Dustbooks and Small Press Review and a key player in the small-press world since the Sixties, died of lung cancer. Len was 77. He published the first directory of little mags and small presses. It was something like a Google for the 60's-90's -- the pre-Internet era. That is, you ...
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Fine Poem: "The House by the Side of the Road"
January 31, 2011 - by Sam Walter Foss (of the late 1800's) [Gary recited this poem a couple times while we were skiing the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail. Martha made two paintings with its theme as their title. So I had to look it up. Very good! --JP] THERE are hermit souls that live withdrawn In the place of their self-...
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Wallet Poem? Pocket Poetry?
March 02, 2010 - So, do you carry any poetry in your wallet? ...Or any important -- to you -- writing in your pocket or purse (or in your car or on your bike). I do! It's easy. It's inspirational. You can fold it down to a handy size. In your wallet it wouldn't be any bigger than a bill. It might be printed out small. It's something th...
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Robert Frost reading "Birches"
February 23, 2010 - Here's a great poem for the winter or icy time of year. And here's a link to the master himself reading his poem. There are several versions out there, some by other readers, one where Frost might be older and sloppier, but this one is the best: Read Article | Go to Website

Flann O'Brien: Great, Hilarious Irish Writer
January 28, 2010 - Here's a guy who wrote some comic novels that you gotta read. "The Third Policeman" and "At Swim Two Birds" are musts. "The Poor Mouth" is close behind. "The Third Policeman" features the essence of bicycles and even has them come to life in the way that bikes would: sneakily. And anyone who's ridden a good bike would agree th...
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"The Affected Provincial's Companion" by Lord Whimsy
January 26, 2010 - Whew! This has to be quite a book. It has a glorious look, doesn't it? Like hidden treasure. I suspect it to be a tongue in cheek product of the recent UK but I bet it's still fun. Urban folk pose without trying. Country folk have to work at it. Maybe this can be some inspiration. Here's what seems like maybe a subhead...
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Two Great Xmas Tales you get to hear
December 10, 2009 - [BUMP from 12/24/05.../07] Everyone should hear Dylan Thomas read his own "A Child's Christmas in Wales," but it's almost as good just reading it yourself. What words! What imagery! It all comes to life, I tell ya, right to life. Better than any movie. What words! Just the best. Shows you what writing can do. Thomas takes you ri...
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A Workaday Santa: Raymond Brigg's "Father Christmas"
December 09, 2009 - [BUMP from 12/20/05.../07] Raymond Briggs' is famous for the amazing Snowman book and animated short with its lovely song. He also wrote a charming Santa book. "Father Christmas" is a look at the British Santa on his big day. He prefers a quiet life but he's got a job to do and does it well despite the bother. It's set up in...
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"The Student Insurgent": radical bike culture & more
September 22, 2009 - The University of Oregon / Eugene has a radical student group that has published a magazine called "The Student Insurgent" for quite a few years now. Since I'm a bike culture person of zinester ancestry I'm on their mailing list. I'm probably on other lists, too, thanks to their magazine title! It's interesting to me how oft...
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Want a Huge American Lit Experience?
February 22, 2009 - Read these 3 thin interconnected books: *Cannery Row (Steinbeck) *Tortilla Flats (Steinbeck) *Chicanery Row: a Panacea Fantasia; or, Mullet Roe (McElderry) They are so high-octane with the beauty and importance of convivial, marginal America that you might be rocked hard. They fit together yet they're each quite diffe...
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"Worldly Matters": essays on life, nature & outdoor skilz
February 03, 2009 - Here's a slim 75-page paperback of insightful, real-world reflections on the intersections of life and hiking, friends and tenting, work and the outdoors. The tales are set in getaway places in Vermont, places that are close to where the writer lives and works yet they're special in that visiting them is like dropping off the ma...
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"An Uncrowded Place": a young outdoorsman in Michigan
February 02, 2009 - In this slim hardcover memoir, Bob Butz tells what it's like to live in northwoods Michigan as a guy trying to make a living selling stories to NYC how-to magazines. The freelance nut is always the toughest to crack. Butz is a 30-something guy who likes to hunt and fish. It's neat that his usual hunting tool is a homemade se...
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What Are We Reading?
September 24, 2008 - Here's my latest stack. What's yours? I sometimes post here about a sweet book I'm reading or came across. But I don't do enough of that. I get behind. So here's a quick catch-up. A list of books I've read or dug into lately. I really should also put up quick reviews, too, and links for ordering them on Amazon, but a little...
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Why do songwriters love the folk, but the literary writers don't?
September 20, 2008 - Folk stories are, of course, popular and historic. Folk music, folks art --- it's all rockin'. But folk writing has been called an oxymoron, nonexistent. To the cultural people "folk" is synonymous with illiterate. But that's a silly notion and needs to be discarded. There've been folk writers, too, for forever --- their ...
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Attack on Michilimackinac: action packed!
August 20, 2008 - I've really enjoyed exploring Indian heritage the past few years. I could hop right to the punchline for this book, but really there's a lot of background here, so first things first... I've had a strong connection to the Straits area of Michigan for decades, mostly via the backways. A couple years ago I finally went in thr...

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A Fun Evening for Literature: McGuane, Harrison, Ford at MSU
July 11, 2008 - Three famous writer alums revisited Michigan State last night and had a talk together in an auditorium. They're all friends, having gone to State in the 60's, but hadn't been together on stage before. The organizers didn't know how many folks might show up on a summer night. They got 500+ with the aisles full and many turned ...
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Michigan's 3 Big Writers on Stage Together for 1st Time!
July 08, 2008 - This Thursday. July 10. 7:30. Pasant Theatre, Wharton Center at Michigan State University. Free. Limited seating, first come. For the first time ever, live on stage, Jim Harrison, Tom McGuane and Richard Ford rock the house. They're doing a moderated discussion followed by a book signing. Cool! I'll be there. As an as...
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The Underground is Alive!
October 15, 2007 - Here's a new book about what life is like in the cultural underground. How indy artists/musicians/writers/filmmakers get by, make a living, do what they do---in a culture that wants lousy stuff and wants to be left alone, everyone in their own niche. It's edited by Jack Saunders (America's greatest living unpublished or underp...
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Walt: As Timely as Ever
September 26, 2006 - A thought for the season from the great Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself": Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking, To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning, Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going, Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payme...
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A Poem for the Frustrated Artisan
March 13, 2006 - I only read it up to "battered books." And I skim the furrin language. But I won't just hint. Here's the start. *** Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (Part I) by Ezra Pound   For three years, out of key with his time, He strove to resuscitate the dead art Of poetry; to maintain "the sublime" In the old sense. Wrong from the star...
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Hear Great Poets Read their Work, from way back when to today
December 24, 2005 - [The kids have set their traps for Santa (and left out cookies) and the wife's off to bed early, so I have time to jot a few things down...] I bumped into this big collection of tapes a few years ago while prepping for a big road trip and have enjoyed them ever since. There's nothing like hearing the world's best (semi)modern...
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West Side Bookshop
September 08, 2005 - West Side Bookshop is a rare oldstyle great bookstore, in Ann Arbor. They have new and old books, but only GOOD ones. Some fancy, others thrifty, as reason dictates, but only GOOD ones. There's no space to waste on bad ones. Jay & Doug have been sponsors of OYB since I started it back in 1991. They've each had their ...
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ULA is Coming to Philly this Weekend
July 11, 2005 - This weekend, the Underground Literary Alliance invades Philadelphia for 3 days of high-energy readings & fun literary events! It's all free and open to the public! (Help us spread the word.) Click this link for all the details: Read Article

Backlist of OYB Articles on Reading
May 19, 2005 - [Sorry about the odd organization: it's a cut'n'paste from the old site.] *Great independent magazines are... ...few and far between. Here are a few of my longtime, reliable favorites. RCN (for recumbent bikes and bike culture), ...
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If something is worth reading...
March 31, 2005 -'s worth reading 3 times. And each of the 3 times is worth doing in 3 different ways. 1st: read it like a newspaper 2nd: read it as if aloud to a friend 3rd: read it for yourself, or as if it was a prayer (I got the idea from a Gurdjieff book.) Probably a little time between readings doesn't hurt. Quality wri...
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An All-time Great Kid's Book!
March 20, 2005 - OK, maybe it's most ideal for a 4-year-old boy, but "The Sailor Dog" is a masterpiece of art and writing that will appeal to anyone, kid or grownup. The paintings are just over the top perfect and colorful. "Oh, I'm Scuppers the Sailor Dog!" Painter: Garth Williams Writer: Margaret Wise Brown To me, there needs to be a t-shi...
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ULA in the NYT again!
November 06, 2004 - The ULA, the world's only literary activist group, which I'm part of, made the NYT in their redesigned Sunday Book Review (10/16/04). We're breaking the MFA deathgrip on literature and bringing relevance to writing. Yeah! (graphic: ...
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Never Mind NYC... Here's the ULA!
November 06, 2004 - The ULA! is a literary activist group I'm part of. The ULA website documents our wild effort to revive literary culture. We're winning. Did I tell ya we made the cover of the NYTimes? Bula bula!
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A Corner on the Giants of the Gulf Coast!
February 05, 2004 - That's what I have, and what I'm offering to you, too. Here's your first-ever chance to get a front-row seat for the best in American culture. Never heard of it? You're in luck. Coz it looks like great culture isn't really blooming so strongly in NYC anymore. You have to look to the truly last forgotten place. The last place tha...
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