Unsolicited Endorsements: IV

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

It isn’t often you come across a story in one of the three best NYC-centric publications — The New York TimesThe New YorkerNew York Magazine — that doesn’t mock life outside of the five boroughs (alas, East Coast provincialism, ignorance and brainlessness is a topic for another day), so this touching, thought-provoking and incredibly real portrait of life in tiny Nucla, Colo., was especially and pleasantly unexpected. Hessler profiles Don Colcord, the town “druggist,” and a man who almost literally gives everything he has to assist the striving people of this remote and underserved area of Southwestern Colorado. Colcord is part doctor, part pharmacist and part miscellaneous life consultant, and the way Hessler subtly frames his backstory and family life without falling into heavy-handedness and tedium is wonderful.
Another plus: It’s a relatively quick read, by The New Yorker‘s standards. Check it out here.  — Asher Fusco
Urbandictionary listed the origin of this great word as belonging to Strong Bad, an online cartoon character. But when I think of “awesomesauce,” I think of Andy from Parks and Recreation. During the last season, April proclaimed her love for Andy, who responded by saying, “Dude, no way. That is awesomesauce!”
I love that word. You use it, of course, as an exclamation or adjective.
For a while, at least since senior year of high school, I have consciously tried to add obscure slang words to my everyday vernacular (yes, I’m so cool aren’t I?). “Dopey” and “skrilla” have been my favorite words for exclamatory situations, whereas I’ve tried to bring back “whack” for describing something negative. If something is really negative, I like to say, “that’s some whack shit.” To say the least, American culture has not exactly embraced these wonderful phrases into its lexicon. So this is the new word I’m getting behind, an awesomesauce word. — Mark Dent
I suppose this can’t quite measure up to “awesomesauce”. (What can?) But I spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. We watched football. And drank. And looked up stuff on Wikipedia after getting into arguments about Aaron Rodgers’ childhood, and the origin of the term “land-grant university.”
But I needed a reason to escape the conversations — if only for 30 or 45 minutes — so I hauled along an old book of short stories by Dave Eggers. It’s titled “How We Are Hungry”, and it came out in 2004, and it’s filled with angsty (edgy?) little  tales about Americans abroad, and ultra-short stories about something (or maybe nothing).
To be honest, the stories have always felt a little empty. Maybe that says something about the unfamiliar act of reading short stories these days. Or maybe the stories themselves are just underwhelming. (I’m not sure I would advocate buying the book for more than $2.95.)
But… there is one story that’s always stood above the rest. You can read it here. It’s 377 words. And takes about three minutes to read. Matter of fact, I remember the first time I did, and the feeling that followed. And then I read it again yesterday. And it felt the same… but different, like I missed something the first five or six times I read it.  And I think I liked it even more. — Rustin Dodd
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2 thoughts on “Unsolicited Endorsements: IV

  1. Cassie says:

    I’ve been hearing this from so many bloggers about How We Are Hungry. I’m halfway through the book and I’m loving some of the language – but you’re right something is missing, especially in the shorter stories. He works wonders with the longer ones, but the shorter ones are just like…intermissions to the larger theme he’s trying to create. At first, I thought every single story was going to have a horse, and now I’m realizing it is just American’s abroad as the general connection.

    I have written down a lot of quotes from the stories. Hopefully, I can put my finger on what is not working…

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