ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Ordinary Sins by Jim Heynen

ordinary sins284Ordinary Sins by Jim Heynen

From a bar hosting its nightly Sad Hour to the moonlit sandbox of a retired army general, Jim Heynen’s new collection of short-short fiction, Ordinary Sins, presents us with character sketches of strange yet fascinating men and women who resonate far beyond their brief moments in the spotlight. Modeled after the work of Theophrastus’ Characters—brief, verbal snapshots of people created by a Greek philosopher in antiquity, discovered by the author in his impressionable youth—Heynen captures not just the quirks and eccentricities of his characters, but also their humanity.

Guilty of only ordinary and forgivable sins, we meet a man who consistently jingles his keys despite the organized and fruitful life he leads, a girl so enamored with cherries that they begin to blossom out of her ears, and a man who takes up writing to discover what it means to be anonymous. In all these brief interactions we see not just the rich characters Heynen has created, but ourselves. Augmented by the deeply evocative illustrations of renowned artist Tom Pohrt, Ordinary Sins will appeal to story lovers and collectors of beautifully made books alike.



Ordinary Sins gives you people-watching in book form. Each eccentric in this pantheon is a magnet for your gaze, their excesses fascinating, exasperating, bizarre—then suddenly familiar. This is a book to revel in.” —Kim Stafford, author of The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft

“Heynen’s details are intriguing, and his voice is entertaining as always, but what most stands out in these rogues’ gallery portraits of our own wayward selves is a gentle humor which makes us forgive, and even approve, our dark side.” —David Pichaske, author of Song of the North Country: A Midwest Framework to the Songs of Bob Dylan

“I have been an avid reader of Jim Heynen’s writing for more than three decades, eagerly awaiting the arrival of each and every one of his new books. Ordinary Sins is both genius and generous, a beautifully crafted collection of short-short fiction filled with keen wit and stunning acuity. Heynen is a master storyteller, and in Ordinary Sins he is at the height of his powers. Somewhere the ghost of Theophrastus is nodding his head in enthusiastic approval.” —Robert Hedin, author of The Old Liberators: New and Selected Poems and Translations


Publisher Information

Binding: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-57131-090-3
Pages: 104
Publish Date: November 2014
Genre: Fiction



jimJim Heynen is perhaps best known for his collections of short prose featuring young farm boys: The One-Room Schoolhouse: Stories about the Boys, Boys House: New & Selected Stories, Fishing for Chickens: Short Stories about Rural Youth, and The Man Who Kept Cigars in his Hat. He is also the author of poetry and young adult fiction. Jim lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife, Sarah T. Williams, formerly the Books Editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Expect Delays by Bill Berkson

Expect Delays650


Expect Delays by Bill Berkson

Wide-ranging and experimental, Expect Delays confronts past and present with rare equilibrium, eyeballing mortality while appreciating the richness and surprise, as well as the inevitable griefs, inherent in the time allowed.

“Dress Trope”

Critics should wear
white jackets like
lab technicians;
curators, zoo
keepers’ caps;
and art historians,
lead aprons
to protect them from
radiant fact.



“Expect Delays” is the latest of many books by poet and S.F. Art Institute professor emeritus Bill Berkson, a critic, journalist, literature lover and longtime forger of links between artists who work with words and artists who work with images.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Insightful and inventive. . . No aspect of life is off limits from the wit and skill of Berkson’s poetry and the world is better off for it.”—

“Like his good friend Frank O’Hara, Bill Berkson writes about friends and family (wife, son, mother on her 100th birthday) and isn’t afraid to drop a few glam names from life in the cities where he lives, in his case San Francisco and New York. In this he resembles Stéphane Mallarmé, who wrote verses on fans (the kind you wave) and notes on fashion, as well as difficult dreamlike poetry. Berkson includes two celesta-toned Mallarmé translations, one of them ‘Brise Marine’: (‘The flesh is sad, alas! And I’ve read all the books’) alongside journalistic patter: ‘Lovers for a time, Lee Wiley and Berigan began appearing / together on Wiley’s fifteen-minute CBS radio spot, / Saturday Night Swing Club, in 1936.’ Expect Delays is an all-too-familiar warning to urban Americans. In this case, the delays are as rewarding as the invigorating voyage.”—John Ashbery


Publisher Information

Paperback: 140 pages

Publisher: Coffee House Press (November 11, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-1566893732



BerksonBill Berkson is a poet, critic and professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute whose previous collection Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems won the Balcones Prize for Best Poetry Book of 2010 and  who was honored by the San Francisco Bay Guardian with the 2008 GOLDIE Award in Literature. He has collaborated with many artists and writers, including Alex Katz, Philip Guston, and Frank O’Hara and his criticism has appeared in ArtNews, Art in America, and elsewhere. Formerly a professor of liberal arts at the San Francisco Art Institute, he was born in New York in 1939, and now divides his time between San Francisco and Manhattan.

ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | It Will End with Us by Sam Savage



It Will End with Us by Sam Savage

Savage’s latest novel dismantles the mythic greats of the past–an American South that never was and a mother’s artistic pretensions that never should have been. In the story of Eve, Savage finds a voice that captures both the frustrations of our degraded world and the tender sympathy it evokes for all our sad efforts to leave something beautiful behind.



“A Southern childhood in duskier, Tennessee Williams times, offering an aphoristic scattering of memories—one- and two-sentence stand-alones that spill isolated down the page like little gems. . . showing us how memory works and how we make sense of our lives, drip by drip and sensation by sensation.”Library Journal

“Savage’s lean, meditative novels, so meticulously pitched and poised, eschew the bloated excess and garish dazzle that can mar those from writers half his age. . . In Savage’s novel, or Eve’s “inventory of tiny things,” it is the small, fleeting and quiet details that speak volumes.”Star Tribune

“Sam Savage, once more, elicits our admiration and aesthetic appreciation for reminding us not to be complacent, and to interrogate what Eve terms the ‘inner reaches’—our inner selves—and what we believe, in a compact with others, to be the real world.”Numero Cinq


Publisher Information

Paperback: 150 pages

Publisher: Coffee House Press (November 11, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-1566893725



Savage authorSam Savage is the best-selling author of Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife, The Cry of the Sloth, Glass, and The Way of the Dog. A native of South Carolina, Savage holds a PhD in philosophy from Yale University. He was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the PEN L.L. Winship Award, and the Society of Midland Authors Award. Savage resides in Madison, Wisconsin.