Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Freebie: Dust to Dust by Benjamin Busch

Congratulations to Rebecca Buchanan, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, the special National Poetry Month package of June Fourth Elegies by Liu Xiaobo and Pity the Beautiful by Dana Goia.

This week's book giveaway is Dust to Dust: A Memoir by Benjamin Busch.  I mentioned my enthusiasm for Busch's new book earlier here at the blog, and now I'm equally excited at the chance to put a copy of Dust to Dust in a reader's hands.  Busch writes of growing up with his father (author Frederick Busch), serving two combat tours in Iraq as a decorated U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer, and working as an actor on the popular TV series The Wire.  It's the Iraq portion which interests me most, of course.  Okay, also the part about Frederick Busch, one of my favorite contemporary authors.  Whatever brings you to the book, you should know this is one of the year's best memoirs and is well worth your time adding to your home library (or checking out from your local public library).  But don't just take my word for it.  Busch has been collecting some great critical praise for Dust to Dust.  Here are a few of the accolades:
“Beautifully told....There is not one bad sentence in this book....I cannot wait to see what [Busch] writes next.” (Library Journal)

“Extraordinary....It is impossible to read any part of this work and not be moved....[Dust to Dust] is one to be savored. Don’t fail to read it.” (New York Journal of Books )

“A remarkable book—part military memoir, part childhood reminiscence....Busch is filled with complicated and fascinating contradictions.” ( )

“A beautiful meditation on war, loss, and the larger questions of life and death.” (Huffington Post )

“Busch carries us on a haunting, humorous, and poignant journey.” (Publishers Weekly )

Dust to Dust is much more than an account of Busch's time in Iraq or filming The Wire on the streets of Baltimore.  Some of the most richly-worded passages describe his time as a child "playing soldier" in the woods around his rural New York home.  Here, for instance, is the second paragraph of the book:
I spent much of my childhood constructing forts in our backyard and gathering local boys for epic battles. Each spring the cornfield nearby was plowed and flat river stones rose in the rows for me to harvest. I spent the cool mornings walking the furrows and hauling pieces of lost sea ledges and mountains back to my fort site. The afternoons I spent laying them in place. I built thick stone walls and dug in, preparing for siege. No contingencies were made for escape or surrender. I played an officer wielding a maple-stick sword and falling early under withering fire. As I had no sidearm or rifle, I could not reasonably hope to survive a gunfight, and I honored those odds. No one ever came within stumbling distance, and I could never reach the enemy's line. Not realistically. Everyone else had something with a trigger. But casualties in war games came without consequence.  here was no death in dying.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Dust to Dust, all you have to do is answer this question:

What was the name of the character Busch played on The Wire?  (Need a hint?  Check out his page at HarperCollins' website)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on April 26--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on April 27.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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