Readings With Authors Terry Tierney and Stewart Florsheim


September 26, 2023 - 7:00pm

Photo of author and cover and time/date of event

Please join us on Tuesday, September 26 at 7:00 PM Pacific Time as we welcome authors Terry Tierney and Stewart Florsheim for readings from their recent books. 

This event will be in person at the store at 6120 La Salle Ave., Oakland, CA 94611.

Order your copy of THE BRIDGE ON BEER RIVER by Terry Tierney at Order your copy of AMUSING THE ANGELS by Stewart Florsheim at


A rust belt city in decline retains the solace of romance, which often proves to be an empty promise or even a curse. With a wry perspective and unflappable determination, Curt embodies all the town's ills, including his own problems with drinking, work, and relationships, as he tries to save himself and rescue his friends in his own unconventional and unlawful ways. In The Bridge on Beer River, a novel-in-stories set in Reagan-era Binghamton, New York, characters scramble for subsistence while hoping for love and a better life.

Early Praise for The Bridge on Beer River

The characters in The Bridge on Beer River drink too much, fight for survival, and fight one another while clinging to friendship and humor. Terry Tierney plies the blue-collar desperation and heroism of William Kennedy with fast-moving prose reminiscent of Raymond Chandler!

—Lee Kravetz, author of The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.

As Curt, an ex-Marine living in Reagan-era Binghamton, NY, struggles to find his way, he crosses paths with colorful down-and-outers, sharp women, and hardened characters. With his heart in the past but his eye on the future, he tries to improve himself by learning computer technology at the dairy which eventually lays him off. Down on his luck again, and short on cash, he makes do by working for a local bookie in between beers at his favorite bar. Others offer money, advice, and the use of a battered set of wheels, but only Curt can help himself. Then, a chance to flee the industrial decay of upstate New York comes his way, but will he take it? Written in tight, unsentimental prose, with wry, crackling dialog, The Bridge on Beer River reminds us of the value of friendship, believing in yourself, and the lure of that one big gamble that could really pay off.

—Anne Leigh Parrish, author of An Open Door

Reading Terry Tierney’s novel-in-stories, The Bridge on Beer River, is to remember what I love about fiction. Tierney does, in fact, tell tales, but he tells them with a writerly voice that can only result in that most precious outcome: honest deception. He builds a bridge between perspectives, between moments and crises, between characters, between writer and reader, and continuously—relentlessly—reminds me that a bridge is very rarely crossed just once. And there is, especially in the upstate New York of this novel, always a toll to be paid. Tierney creates a nearly perfect antihero in Curt, the lager-swilling, B-list Romeo who channels the best bits of Bukowski and James Dean. Likewise, the author creates a reality so convincing and inescapable that as the novel progresses, I stupidly hope the world is not ending. I begin to root for more breakups, more hangovers, more derelict dreams. And, as Tierney so masterfully uses as a visual metaphor, more African violets. Tierney has written a human novel, free of self-importance and pretense. This is a gripping book by one of the finer fiction writers I know.

—Andy Smart, author of The More You Hate Me

Description of AMUSING THE ANGELS:

Winner, 2022 Blue Light Book Award
In this richly diverse mélange of human lives, many actual and many imagined, Stewart Florsheim embraces the light and the dark much as his beloved Rembrandt employed chiaroscuro to reveal the complexity of a single individual, and thus, all individuals. Florsheim's vision is encompassing, with room enough for the emotional convolutions of family, Holocaust survivors, spiritual seekers, intimate partners, world travelers, artists, and even total strangers. Taking his cue from Aristotle, and perhaps from the painters he admires, he approaches life from the particular. Pulsing through the array of details is the tempered passion of someone who considers desire as "the trembling to be whole."
- Thomas Centolella, author of Almost Human
Here, as in his previous collections, Stewart Florsheim combines closely observed detail with moments of transcendence-sometimes metaphorical, other times supernatural-that conjure the lost world of European Jewry, the intimate sphere of his family life, and the lines of blood and spirit that connect the two. He steps into famous paintings as if through a looking glass and renders public events with evocative brushwork. Having read his poetry for more than thirty years, I am impressed by how consistent his body of work is and grateful for the rich worldview it provides.
- Scott Norton, author of Developmental Editing: A Guide for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers, Second Edition (forthcoming 2023)
In his third full-length poetry collection from Blue Light Press, Stewart Florsheim wrestles with the possibilities and contradictions of what it means today to be a man. The child of a Holocaust survivor, he lends his poetic voice to the lost and dispossessed, "amusing the angels," perhaps, by evoking his forebears, with insight and tenderness, in all their flawed humanity. Many of these poems can be read as prayers, as when he recalls his adolescent terror at facing the high jump in gym class, "hoping my wings won't get mangled/as I ascend above the trees/into the incandescent light." Without ignoring any of the familiar impulses or vanities of a husband, father, and successful man of the world, he nonetheless embraces the vulnerability of his anima. Making pesto with his daughter, he confides how much he loves the smell of basil, evoking Italian landscapes he hopes to share with her someday. His ekphrastic poems could be a volume all of their own, filled with the color, light, and stories of the paintings that come under his knowledgeable and imaginative gaze. Everything in daily life, from taking out the trash to sexual desire -"the trembling to be whole" - comes under the poet's lens as he strives to "discover the pleasures of being vigilant."- Barbara Quick, author of The Light on Sifnos and What Disappears


6120 LaSalle Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611
United States