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Blogging on culture, politics, and the environment since 2008.

Friday, August 22, 2014

'A Great Fullness' now available for pre-sale!

A Great Fullness is now available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other on-line distributors both here in the U.S. and internationally. Scheduled for release on October 30, 2014, A Great Fullness will arrive in plenty of time for the holidays! 



Set in Kansas during the period from the internet bubble of the mid-1990s through the early years of the Iraq War,
A Great Fullness is the coming-of-age story of a girl who lives with a secret even she doesn't know she possesses—-the truth about her mother's death.

Advance praise for A Great Fullness:

“As in a Greek tragedy, a horrific death occurs off-stage in Bob Sommer’s second novel, A Great Fullness, and colors every visible moment of this suspenseful story about a surviving child. Loss weaves through the fabric of every life in this wise parable.”
—Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate, 2007-2009,
and author of Ghost Stories of the New West

“With cinematic clarity and pace,
A Great Fullness takes us inside a family caught in turmoil, as the drama of their lives reflects our troubled society and its broken capacity for joy.... An entertaining and relevant five-star tale." 
—David Ray, award-winning poet, author of Sam’s Book 
and more than a dozen other collections

“Bob Sommer writes eloquently about ordinary Midwestern Americans confronted with the extraordinarily disruptive pressures of the twenty-first century. Again and again...one is struck with the complexity of seemingly nondescript characters and the menace behind the bland appearance of bedroom communities and sleek suburban malls....The Kansas of A Great Fullness is too deeply understood and too particularly and painfully rendered to be just any place. Readers will come away from this book with a deepened understanding of the violence and longing that shape contemporary American life.” 
—William Merrill Decker, author of Kodak Elegy: A Cold War Childhood

To learn more about A Great Fullness, please visit Aqueous Books. To schedule readings and author interviews, please contact Aqueous Books or use the contact form on this blog page.

To pre-order your copies, visit Amazon and Barnes&Noble, or best of all, go to your locally-owned bookstore and tell the owner you want to be the first in your neighborhood to read A Great Fullness!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thank you, Inquiring Minds Bookstore!

My sister, Cathy Brawner, has arranged for the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in Saugerties, New York, to sell copies of Where the Wind Blew to raise funds for homeless veterans. If you don't happen to be passing through Saugerties, you can also order a copy at the link. Proceeds benefit The Francis D. Sommer Memorial Fund for Homeless Veterans.

The storefront at Inquiring Minds Bookstore, Saugerties, NY
Well done, Cathy! And thank you, Inquiring Minds Bookstore!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

‘Leavenworth,’ a new essay, published in Rathalla Review

The current issue of Rathalla Review includes an essay entitled “Leavenworth” from my current work-in-progress, Losing Francis: One Family’s Journey through a Decade of American War.

Read the full essay here (beginning on page 31): “Leavenworth” 

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Eco-band Soular takes back the tradition of musical activism in its debut album, ‘Take It Back’

Take It Back: A (mildly desultory) Review-Essay
By Bob Sommer

“… if we’re looking around for someone else to get on the job we might just look over our shoulders and find we’re looking into a mirror at our own sorry selves.”


So it’s a bunch of tree-huggers all squeezed into my then thirteen-year-old Jeep. It’s a year ago and we’re headed west on I-70 for a Sierra Club meeting in Topeka on a cool Saturday morning. Outside Kansas rolls by with the sun behind us, still low on the horizon, throwing splintery shadows across fields of corn stubble. In back one tree-hugger reads the newspaper. Up front sit me and Craig Wolfe, who wanted to sit up front because he’s a big guy and the seats in back are tight and our friend didn’t care who sat up front or in back, so Craig’s up front.

http://www.soular.co/index.html
Click the image to visit Soular online
We’re talking. I’m asking about his music. Back in THE DAY—which for both of us is the sixties and seventies, THE DAY, that is, before the music died for a decade while machine-generated pop insanity called disco throbbed and shook most of our brains into all manner of weirdness, like believing “greed is good,” solar panels on the White House are bad, and big hair is beautiful, so forth, so THE DAY was the metonymic day before all that—and, to complete the sentence, back then Wolfe was a rock ’n roller. He played in a band called Amdahl Wolfe, doing gigs four-five nights a week all over Kansas City and beyond. It was THE DAY.

But THE DAY passed and then came life, and Wolfe got into the construction business, building passive solar houses and doing other tree-hugger stuff, including plunging into the Sierra Club in Kansas in a big way. I’ve known him for seven-eight years now. I do tree-hugger stuff too. We’re all about averting mankind from his/her/our collective manic suicidal race into annihilation as we gobble up every square foot of land, spew the black goo that used be dinosaurs and 250-million-year-old trees into the air and water, and basically torture ourselves with rage for more and more and more STUFF.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Kansas Supreme Court denies Holcomb II coal-fired plant

Topeka, Kan. - In a decision that will protect public health and ratepayers, the Kansas Supreme Court today invalidated the air pollution permit granted to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in 2010. The permit must be reconsidered by KDHE and all current air pollution regulations must be applied. With new standards in effect since the project was first proposed, the outlook of the expansion plant legally meeting those standards or finding financial backing for unneeded coal-fired generation is dim.

“The proposed Holcomb coal plant is now a fading mirage on the plains,” said Holly Bender, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign. “As states embrace renewable energy and utilities are locking in contracts for clean energy at record low prices, there just isn't a need for the dirty, expensive energy that Sunflower Electric is looking to sell.”

The proposed coal plant, also known as Holcomb II, was the most intensely contested coal plant in Kansas history, as well as one of the most controversial permits ever considered by KDHE. If built, the new plant would release thousands of pounds of toxic pollution in Kansas while the power it generates would belong to Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a Colorado-based utility.