"Swamplandia!"

I have never been an avid reader of fiction, which is a fault of complacency and a definitive gap in my knowledge and experience. This list keeps growing. But I was fortunate enough to have a friend drag me to a book signing of Karen Russel’s at an exceptional place in CoralGables, Florida, called Books & Books. In that I’m a novce when it comes to fiction, I don’t want to damn Ms. Russell with my praise. But this extremely pleasant, personable and unpretentious writer is so gifted she had me finishing her debut novel, “Swamplandia!” in one day. Trust me. That’s a feat. And I’m sure one that she cherishes.

That was my great sacrifice —– I ate miniature pickles with my sister. In retrospect, it seems that I might have done a little more for her.

Cubby Wallach was complected like a bowl of oatmeal and yet carried himself as if he were wearing a top hat and spats. He had the bellicose dignity of a kid who refuses to excuse or even acknowledge his own extreme ugliness. I admired this trait.

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