Put It Down in a Book is organized in two parts, Theory and
Practice. In the former Tom examines the all-relatedness of certain
recent fiction and poetry to older literature and scriptures,
meanwhile providing an overview of textual transmission, starting
with oral-improvised verse and continuing through the mud tablet,
the scroll, the codex and the web.
Part Two furnishes practical applications of the theories propounded
in Part One. The reader is edified with such works as "Graphic
Presidential Sex," "Between You and the Man-sized Prophylactic With
the Zipper," "Slimy Pope (On the Succumbing of Karol Wojtyla),"
"Holiday in Hiroshima," "Learning From the Smart Dead Beatle’s Bad
Example," "Foul Fiend Flibbertigibbet," "How to Buy LSD in Japan"--
and, of course, who could forget the ever-poignant "Support the
Troops by Giving them Posthumous Boners"?
Put It Down in a Book climaxes with a couple of critical appendices
from the estimable Israeli journalist Barry Katz. In an interview he
and Tom discuss, among several dozen other things, the commingled
themes of mustard and pederasty in his recent Bizarro cult novel,
Lemur. And, in "King Kong vs. Godzilla: Tom Bradley Happy-Fucks
Osaka," Barry Katz provides reportage of a reading Tom gave in that
purgatorial burg. There were motorcycle punks, Yakuza gangsters and
extreme rightist fanatics all over the place!
The title comes from
"Writing is impossible
because all things are
related. I can hardly open
my mouth to speak without
feeling as though the sea
burst its dams and
overflowed. How then shall
I express what my soul has
received, and how can I put
it down in a book?"
Rather than interpreting
that as a cry of despair,
or an expression of
mystical awe (which is how
the good rabbi consciously
intended it), Tom Bradley
has accepted Yitzy-baby's
utterance as a challenge.
Allowing the "sea to burst
its dams and overflow,"
acknowledging that "all
things are related," he has
refused to find writing
impossible, and has put it
down in this book about
Fission Among the Fanatics is about
growing up downwind of hydrogen bomb
test sites (the sky turned black as
midnight during lunchtime at Tom's
kindergarten), and receiving a writerly
vocation among Mormon fundamentalists.
He ends up pursuing that vocation in
exile, among religious nuts of a
different stripe, in the most famous
nuclear test sites of all: Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. It’s a full-circle deal,
with an extended stopover of several
years in Red China. (Tom was kicked
out for political reasons, detailed in
"This is a book-length tour-de-force
essay... and the first appearance
of a genre so strange we are turning
away from naming it."
-- Andrei Codrescu
"The fetid swamp of patriotism. The
vapid legacy of TV culture. The
intolerable stench of America's meat-
based habits. Tom Bradley has seen it
all coming and given it an inimitable
voice. His prose delights as it slices
and carves. His ideas entertain even as
they challenge and provoke. We finally
have a term for what falls between
fiction and non-fiction: Bradley."
-- Mickey Z., novelist, poet, essayist,
and the only person on the planet to
appear in a radical book with Noam
Chomsky and a karate flick with Billy
Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2007
My Hands Were Clean constitutes
exactly half of a beast with two
backs. The opposite side of this
flip book is Dr. Gonzo, in which
America's sick approach to mental
health is autopsied by the
formidably hilarious Deb Hoag,
psychiatric missionary among the
"My Hands Were Clean goes down
like Hunter S. Thompson, Salvador
Dali, or the intricate work of
that lady who tatted stories into
lace during her tenure at a
Victorian insane asylum. There
are uncomfortable moments when
you wonder if the author is
pranking you and exhilarating
moments when you feel like you're
partying with Iggy Pop.
"I salute any reader brave enough
to take it on. Quoting from the
opening pages: "The eating of
some medium-strength acid might
be in order."
--Joni Rodgers, author of Bald in
the Land of Big Hair
The title comes from the doughty
"My responsibility to the gods was
to write as I was inspired; my
responsibility to mankind was to
publish what I wrote. But it ended
there. As long as what I wrote was
technically accessible to the
public...my hands were clean."
--which is fitting, because this
book is itself something of a
saintly memoir. Read about Tom's
teenage gig performing grotesquely
on the harp at a geothermal spa,
deep in the savage Utah desert.
The place is run by a coven of
tantric orgiasts who sell fake
Crowleyana to rock star Jimmy Page.
Along the way, a journey is made
in teen Tom's acid-addled mind to
Germany's Stauffenberg Castle,
where the Father of LSD conducts
the World's First Planned
Psychedelic Trip with Ernst
Junger. A side-jaunt is taken to
Enlightenment Vienna, where we
cringe along with poor Mozart as
he tries to teach a noble patron's
daughter to play a substandard
concerto--which just happens to be
the highlight of Tom's repertoire.
Tom has allowed the honeyed tongues of
Dog Horn Publishing to sweet-talk him
into compiling a nonfiction anthology.
New Cross-Fucked Musings on a Manic
Nonfiction of the Enigmatic
This volume is ripe with prime produce
sprung from minds that span five
decades, but comprise a single
And who are the Enigmatic
Polygeneration? Tom christened them in
Chapter Four of Put It Down in a Book,
"Digital connectivity has rendered
physical locality irrelevant and made
polyversality the new thing.... Once
space has been erased by the miracle
of email, so has time, in terms of its
effects on the human frame.... In a
creation where particles can spookily
act upon each other at a distance of
quadrillions of light years, the Seven
Ages of Man are as days in the week,
and a generation can span an
open-ended number of decades... I'll
invent a name that's doubly apt, as
these writers produce electricity as
well as useful heat..."
and a man who has spent a lifetime getting laid only because he looks like certain
famous people. You'll be taken deep into the heads of such gentry as Charles Manson,
Jack the Ripper (who, we learn, was actually Bram Stoker), and Kerry Thornley, author
of a book about Lee Harvey Oswald published before the Kennedy assassination.
Andrew Gallix will give you a crash course in transgression, and underground press
legend Hugh Fox will bring you to understand what it means to have been the small
Jewish boy who grew up to become Charles Bukowski's biographer.
Meanwhile, mighty Dave Migman teaches us how to live and die. Fabulous Adam Lowe
reveals his misadventures as judge of the Mr. Gay UK pageant. And lovely Deb
Hoag...well, as usual, she's got a surprise!