- Paperback: 154 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse (May 31, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 2913495044
- ISBN-13: 978-2913495043
- ASIN: 0595227880
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,179,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer
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From the Author
The Acorn Gathering is the long-awaited spin-off from The Acorn Stories, a story cycle set in the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, published in 1998. Some of the tales in The Acorn Gathering continue plots from The Acorn Stories. The others use a variety of new settings and characters. This collection stands on its own, giving readers any background details they might need about the characters, so readers need not start with The Acorn Stories. Five writers joined me in contributing stories to this project. I invited the authors to share their talents and their vision. The resulting anthology provides a variety of voices more diverse than I ever created with my fictional narrators, yet more cohesive than I ever imagined. My original idea of setting all the stories in my fictional West Texas town of Acorn proved too limiting. Still, the writers paralleled each others stories with similar themes, issues, conflicts, and chance encounters. That cohesive echoing seemed especially surprising to me, since most of the authors wrote their stories before reading the other stories.
About the Author
Duane Simolke, Ph.D., wrote the iUniverse books The Acorn Stories, Degranon, Holding Me Together, and New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio. He edited and co-wrote The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. His home page (duanesimolke.com) includes some of his writing, as well as a variety of links.
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Top customer reviews
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That said, I'm exceedingly happy that the six contributors provide "anything but" boring, amateurish, and/or lacking in literary merit. Not all of the stories, by the way, have cancer as a thematic. If Duane Simolke's short story, "Finding Acorns In Winter" does tell the poignant tale of a woman surviving breast cancer, juxtaposed against an earlier American Indian woman facing death by starvation, the same author's hilarious "Fat Diary" is about a "big-boned" woman trying to find love and lose weight. Bill Wetzel's wonderful "Nachos Are Green And Ducks Appear To Be Blue At Town Pump In Cut Back, Montana" is about just that. Jan Chandler's "The Gun" drips irony as a tale examining the pros and cons of gun control.
Back to Simolke -- his "The Last Few And The First Few" poignantly post-9/11, via one man's personal reflections on his past -- no potential reader should pay too much attention to this book being promoted as the "sequel" to that author's short-story collection, THE ACORN STORIES, published in 1998. At least as far as assuming anyone need have read the former to enjoy the latter. No need to fear getting lost in this book's story lines, not privy to essential background, because each short story stands entirely on its own.
Which isn't to say you should pass up any opportunity to read Simolke's THE ACORN STORIES. (The "Acorn" of both books, by the way, referring to the same small town of Acorn, west Texas). Simolke's right-on descriptions of life in rural America, no matter where you're lucky enough to find them, will have you never driving through any bit of U.S. countryside ever again without looking at it as far less idyllically bucolic than you might once have imagined.
Each story in The Acorn Gathering deals with situations in life that most of us can easily relate to and have experienced. They deal with breast cancer, life on an Indian reservation, struggles of gay life in a small town, losing weight, divorce, coming to terms with feelings of an abandonment, and wonderful story about a hero who goes to New York City to help after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, just to name a few. If you think none of those stories sound like you, wait until you read them and experience the way each writer brought those issues into a world we all understand. I found myself caught up in several of the stories, feeling at times, that they were about my own life. This collaborative work, even though it is made up of different short stories, has a common thread that runs throughout the book that gives it an unbroken flow. One story seems to lead right into the next even when they are dealing with new people and new topics. Duane Simolke had put this book in perfect reading order.
The Acorn Gathering has something for everyone. The stories will provoke happiness, laughter, sadness and sometimes anger. Each is an extremely poignant view into the life of people that are all around us. The subject matter is extremely diversified that not only will you enjoy this book but it will open your eyes to the broader picture of how life exists for others around you.
As a person who's life has been greatly impacted by cancer, I applaud the writers of The Acorn Gathering for sharing their talents with us through these stories and the proceeds to help find a cure for those with cancer. The American Cancer Society is a responsible choice to receive these funds. Your contribution by purchasing this book will be well spent. No better gift can be given to someone who is suffering from cancer, than hope. You support of this book will do just that.
Review by Len
A true "Story Cycle", this anthology comes together in a unique and most interesting manner. The cohesive nature of "The Acorn Gathering" is amazing considering the different authors and that they had not necessarily read "The Acorn Stories" first. Editor and co-author Duane Simolke is justifiable pleased with the diverse yet universal feel and messages shared throughout the book.
Although all proceeds do benefit cancer research, the book itself is not limited in subject. Stories of conflict, life, bravery, and community awareness all come together in an every day manner. You feel as though you now these characters. That you have been to places like these and the stories and tales are familiar, haunting and sometimes even painful. Do not mistake this as a piece about brave cancer patients and their experiences.
Although a worthy subject, the authors have offered a more common tapestry. One of experiences with which most will strongly associate and or identify. Messages about things we meet in every day life. And as well the people, some good some not so good.
The writing styles are complimentary to each other and as well the work overall. There is flow and continuity as well as strong growing interest. The themes and sometimes even characters relate and overlap. The tales and landscapes are believable and moving. An easy read, which draws its conclusion all too quickly, "The Acorn Gathering" has strong effect and bright colorful style. A unique piece of art, dedicated to a great cause, and brought together by pure talent.