American English, Italian Chocolate


American English, Italian Chocolate

Small Subjects of Great Importance

Rick Bailey

222 pages


July 2017


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

July 2017


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

July 2017


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

American English, Italian Chocolate is a memoir in essays beginning in the American Midwest and ending in north central Italy. In sharply rendered vignettes, Rick Bailey reflects on donuts and ducks, horses and car crashes, outhouses and EKGs. He travels all night from Michigan to New Jersey to attend the funeral of a college friend. After a vertiginous climb, he staggers in clogs across the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In a trattoria in the hills above the Adriatic, he ruminates on the history and glories of beans, from Pythagoras to Thoreau, from the Saginaw valley to the Province of Urbino. 

Bailey is a bumbling extra in a college production of Richard III. He is a college professor losing touch with a female student whose life is threatened by her husband. He is a father tasting samples of his daughter’s wedding cake. He is a son witnessing his aging parents’ decline. He is the husband of an Italian immigrant who takes him places he never imagined visiting, let alone making his own. At times humorous, at times bittersweet, Bailey’s ultimate subject is growing and knowing, finding the surprise and the sublime in the ordinary detail of daily life.


Author Bio

Rick Bailey is a professor emeritus of English at Henry Ford College in Michigan. He is the author or editor of several books on writing, including The Creative Writer’s Craft


"Delights and will make readers stop and notice the individual pieces of their everyday lives."—Publishers Weekly, starred review


“Rick Bailey’s writing sparkles with wit and self-deprecating humor, provoking laughter that hurts with the recognition of our own foibles and faults. His keen observations transcend the ‘small’ subjects of these short, powerful essays.”—Jim Daniels, author of Rowing Inland and Eight Mile High

“In Rick Bailey’s memoir, readers will find short essays filled with poetic language and the feel of a satisfying short story. In writing that is filled with quick humor and poignant tenderness, Bailey’s experiences reflect our own humanity back to us.”—M. L. Liebler, poet, editor, and author of I Want To Be Once

“Rick Bailey is insatiably honest, addictively affable, meticulously observant, and beautifully precise.”—Lisa Catherine Harper, author of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage

“A brain box of ruminations, the essayist has a penchant for connecting dots most gazers never see or sense or hear. A bracing, buoyant read!”—Thomas Lynch, coeditor of Artifacts and Illuminations: Critical Essays on Loren Eiseley

Table of Contents

1. Big White Birds
2. Boy Scouts, Ringworm, and Paris
3. Sound Off
4. Kissing Age
5. There Will Be Horses
6. Sick Wild
7. The Man from Glad, Car Crash, Amnesia
8. Clinical
9. Psyched
10. Love and Breakup in the Time of Watergate
11. Love at First Shite
12. Feet First
13. For Donna, Ibsen, Pepys, Leviation
14. The Soft Imperative
15. Third-Wave Coffee
16. Wisdom Teeth and Encyclopaedia Britannica
17. What's Up with Dramatic-Value Vomit?
18. Old Houses, New Residents
19. Bee Spree
20. Hello, Mr. President
21. Chemical Neutral
22. Pure Corn
23. Fly
24. The Honey Room
25. Bridge Failure, Heart Attack, Fava Beans
26. Monkey, Nailing Biting, Jesus
27. Cardio, Lightbulbs, and a Funeral
28. The Rule of One
29. Water Me
30. Feathers
31. The Quality of Your Sleep
32. My Father, Going Deaf
33. No Secrets, Victoria
34. Flip-Flops and the Leaning Tower of Pisa
35. Ravioli, Richard III, and a Dead Bird
36. Apri la Porta
37. Buongiorno
38. What's New
39. Small Beans
40. American English, Italian Chocolate


2018 Eric Hoffer Award Grand Prize Short List

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