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Paperback 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays Book

ISBN: 0976631199

ISBN13: 9780976631194

501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays

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Book Overview

Poe Ballantine's second collection of personal essays follows, and expands on, his acclaimed Things I Like About America. Ballantine's world is a crazy quilt of odd jobs, eccentric characters, boarding houses, buses, and beer, rendered in the author's by turns absurd and poignant voice. "The Irving" briskly details the author's diabolic plan to punch John Irving in the nose after opening for him before an audience of 2,000 people at the prestigious...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

All In a Row

I had read most of these essays over the years in the Sun Magazine but I am glad they are all in one place so that I won't have to go searching my magazine issues in search of one in particular. Poe is one of my favorite authors. His words always touch something inside of me that I didn't realize was there until he brings it to life. His words can make you laugh out loud or feel a sense of deep sadness. Thank you Poe!

Experiences worth reading about

Some writers climb mountains or traverse deserts in order to accumulate experiences worth writing about. Poe Ballantine seems to accumulate experiences worth writing about just by trying to keep body and soul together. The essays in this latest collection reflect his experiences living among the homeless in New Orleans, caretaking a piece of property in Colorado, experimenting with methamphetamines in San Diego, building radio antennas in Kansas, speaking at a literary gathering in Oregon, teaching English in Mexico, and marrying and settling down in Chadron, Nebraska. The book's title is drawn from an essay selected earlier for inclusion in The Best American Essays of 2006. If you've read Ballantine in The Atlantic Monthly Online, The Sun, or anywhere else, then you'll be pleased at the opportunity to savor his latest work in book form. If you haven't read him before, then this beautifully bound volume from Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts is a great way to get to know him.

So sharp essays...Poe's best yet...

501 Minutes to Christ is Poe Ballantine's best work to date, which is saying something, considering how good his other books are. 501 picks up where Things I Like About America leaves off. Poe is once again criss-crossing the country on a bus, down on his luck, short on cash, possibly drunk, looking for work and a place to stay. Poe's relishes his role as an outsider, but with his sharp prose, he's finally carving out a home for himself. You'll root for this man, this writer. Between the endless road and the jaunts to Mexico you would expect evocations of Kerouac, but Poe's prose are too economical--more Hemmingwayian; there isn't a single word in this book that doesn't belong on the page.

Thank God for Poe Ballantine!

Poe Ballantine's latest is just as good as everything else he has written. I have followed his writings in The Sun for years, and his stories now published in books are my antidotes to despair. Poe goes to the dark and unseen sides of America and writes with amazing clarity and honesty. He knows what he is talking about. As a reader this kind of trust in a writer is essential. Reading these stories is like stepping out of your own little world for a while and into any of a million parallel universes we have always suspected were out there, somewhere, but were invisible to us. And none of this is supernatural, no UFOs or channeling of ancients warrior goddesses from long ago. It is just "ordinary" life writ large and in blazing technicolor with every word, every well-crafted sentence. It is a great skill to bring eyesight to the blind, and Poe Ballantine does this with grace. God bless him, wherever he happens to be right now.
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