Laurie Gray's Reviews > Workingman's Ink

Workingman's Ink by Dave Shiflett
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May 07, 2012

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“Workingman’s Ink: A Collection of Previously Sold Writing” by Dave Shiflett is exactly that: 42 articles written by Dave Shiflett from 1987-2011 loosely categorized under 11 headings, most with only two articles (Family; Heroes; Sex, Marriage, ZZZ; For Our Graduates; Jackpot Envy, and the Great Outdoors), but one with a dozen articles (Music and Musicians). The material ranges from book reviews and political commentary to the author’s own humorous insights and observations of human nature. Most of the material originally appeared in well-established publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. Topics of interest include the decline of Country Music and a look at organized gambling.

There is a general lack of context for the collection that renders it more challenging to read than necessary. A clear statement of when each article was written and, for the book reviews, the actual title, author, publisher and date of publication for each book would be helpful. It would be even better if the author could provide some sense of order or an overriding theme throughout to encourage readers to continue reading article after article or at least locate the articles that interest them most. Shiflett’s unique voice offers insight and opportunity for reflection, with each reader likely to find his or her own gems within. The one that will forever remain with me: “Happy the man who nails shingles to the roof while his wife folds his boxers.” A traditionally simple truth enmeshed with modern irony which left me pondering the inverse: “Happy the woman who folds boxers while her husband nails shingles to the roof?”

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