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How To Write A Dirty Book and Other Stories — by Bruce Kimmel

How To Write A Dirty Book and Other Stories is Bruce Kimmel’s first collection of short fiction. In these wonderful and evocative tales you’ll find the warmth, humor, and emotion of his acclaimed Benjamin Kritzer trilogy (Benjamin Kritzer, Kritzerland, and Kritzer Time), the biting, acerbic wit of his two mysteries (Writer’s Block and Rewind), and a new element-the world of fantasy. All but one of the stories takes place in Mr. Kimmel’s favorite world-Los Angeles, both then and now. In I’ll See You In My Dreams, a depressed, miserable man longs to escape to the world of a recurring dream, where the perfect woman is waiting for him. In How To Write A Dirty Book, a down-on-his-luck screenwriter in 1959 Hollywood takes on the challenge of writing a naughty novel as a way to supplement his meager income-with surprising results! In Opening Out of Town, a bickering vacationing couple lose their way and stumble onto an all-singing, all-dancing small town. In Your Worst Nightmare, a seventy-two-year-old man seeks revenge against an Internet tormentor. With these and other stories, Mr. Kimmel takes you on a wild ride, a ride filled with nostalgia, longing, laugh-out-loud humor, fear, retribution, and love.

Reader reviews from Amazon.com : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

"single author or a bevy of authors, you are going to like more stories than others. In this first collection of short stories by Bruce Kimmel this is the case. The good news is that I enjoyed reading all the stories and some stood out more than others.

My favorite story was Opening Out Of Town. This is the most comical of the seven stories in this collection. I was also able to visualize the events as they unfolded.

The title story, How To Write a Dirty Book, The Book Scout and Adventures With My Father also have a similar theme with Opening Out of Town; show business. The first two were fun and satisfying reads.

The third story: Adventures With My Father was more surprising to me. Although it is quite somber, “Adventures” is Kimmel’s best written story in this collection. It is also his most personal story. Even more so than his other Benjamin Kritzer novels. Benjamin Kritzer may have been a “Lollypops and Cotton Candy” look back, this story is more serious. The story held my interest and of all the stories in this collection this one holds the possibility of being expanded into a novel.

The stories that bothered me were not the writing quality which were very good, but their subject matter. I See You In My Dreams and Maddie both deal with suicidal people and often hit too close to home for me as I knew people like that. I See You In My Dreams had a Twilight Zone feel to it but its ultimate conclusion was already pre-ordained for me.

Maddie, which seemed like part four of the Benjamin Kritzer novels if they had continued was a nostalgic look back at a more innocent time. This is a real story of coming of age and an “older woman”. The highs and lows of the story follow the highs and lows of the title character. A wonderful story.

Finally there is Your Worst Nightmare. At first I did not like it for a couple of reasons. The language and subject bothered me. Anything to do with racial hatred and prejudice is very difficult for me to read or watch as a film or play. Ultimately I felt that this story was too fantastic to be true and the language and subject matter was there for shock value. BUT I did speak with the author Bruce Kimmel about my feelings about the story. He sent me to the website to see the postings and situations that the story was based on. I was shocked to see how much more hateful this person really was.

Once I knew this about the story’s true background. It became one of my favorites in the collection.

My overall opinion?: A very enjoyable read. I recommend it."
                                                            — Michael Shayne, Boca Raton, FL

Reader reviews from Amazon.com : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

"I am a fan of short stories. I never seem to have large windows of time to delve into lengthy tomes, but I love to have a nice short story to settle down with before I go to sleep. These stories fit the bill perfectly, and are thought-provoking enough to influence your dreams, once you get to dreamland.

The stories have already been individually reviewed nicely, so I will add that these stories are on par with other short story writers I like: HH Munro, EM Forster and O Henry. (What's with all these initials? Short names to go with the short stories?) They are unpredictable and once you start a story you don't want to put the book down until you finish the story.

Anyone who has participated in an internet discussion group will find "Your Worst Nightmare" particularly resonant, since even the most genteel community can attract abusive trolls who ruin it for the rest of the group. This story brings that scenario to a very satisfying conclusion!

"Opening Out Of Town" is another wonderful piece of speculative fiction, and would make a great short film. Of course, since Mr. Kimmel is also a renown singer/songwriter in the Johnny Mercer/Broadway tradition, it's no wonder that you can almost hear these songs when you read the lyrics. If this ever becomes a book on tape, maybe the songs could be produced for that. If so, I would buy it again!

The rest of the stories are funny, sad, poignant and ... sexy. With a title like "How to Write A Dirty Book", they'd have to be, right? But the title story is funny-sexy, reminiscent of Nicholson Baker's "The Fermata". The dialogue is witty, and some of the lines made me laugh out loud.

This is the first book I've read by Mr. Kimmel, but I enjoyed it enough to order the whole Kritzer trilogy. My medical advice to cure your reading malaise: take one story and go to bed!"
                                                   — Edisaurus, Atlanta, GA

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