Tuesday, November 9, 1999

A Book of Reasons Author John Vernon Reads Nov. 16

Chestertown, MD — Author John Vernon will read from his recently published work, "A Book of Reasons," at 8 p.m., Tues., Nov. 16, in the Sophie Kerr Room at the Miller Library on the campus of Washington College. The reading is free and open to the public.

The book was born of Vernon's experience after he inherited his brother's house, which was full of trash, garbage, and filth. Vernon's brother chose a thoughtful legatee, for the author not only cleaned up the house, he also thought deeply about what he had found, what it said about his brother's life,and how the detritus of that life connected his reclusive brother to others in the larger world.

In the book, Vernon describes walking into his brother's bedroom. He found it "five feet deep in trash bags, milk cartons, boxes of documents, empty cartons of Kools, Pepsi bottles, empty bags of cat food, a Hitachi TV, eviscerated radios, model airplane kits, audiotapes, over-the-counter medication--Dayquil, Alka-Seltzer, Dimetapp, Bayer aspirin." Vernon fled the house and called his wife from a pay phone, but broke down sobbing on the telephone. Vernon writes, "When I started describing the house, I gradually stopped crying and regained some control."

In "The New York Times Book Review," Martha Beck wrote about "A Book of Reasons,""Vernon seems to be continuing the process he started during that phone call: transferring the sad puzzle of his brother's life from gut to brain, reclaiming detachment through the process of description and analysis. The resulting book is sometimes harrowing, often insightful, occasionally amusing and consistently fascinating."

Vernon's reading is sponsored by The Sophie Kerr Committee.

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