Stump’s 2019 Picks

In Waves, AJ Dungo

In Waves

This graphic novel memoir had three things of interest to me: memoir, an amputee, and surfing. Occasionally, a graphic novel rises to literary excellence. Dungo’s part memoir part surfing history is smartly tonal in his artistry, lines and language. Like My Friend Dahmer and El Deafo, In Waves rises above its subjects. Dungo reveals the vulnerability of identity, illness, and loss. Ultimately, it’s a genuine story about surfing, the sea, love and loss. I’m happy to recommend it, and glad that Dungo followed through on his promise and wrote and illustrated such an eloquent and lyrical tribute to Kristen Carreon Tuason. I’ve dreamed of catching a wave for decades. I took some lessons, but alas the ride still eludes me.

The Typewriter Revolution, Richard Polt

The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century

I have joined the revolution!

If you want to know about typewriters Polt’s book is a must. History, parts, what kind to buy, The Typosphere, an online world for typers and so much more is all here to inform and inspire you. After contemplating a typewriter purchase for years and browsing typewriters to purchase online, Polt’s passion has rubbed off. I’ve adopted the manifesto and joined the insurgency!


Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six

If you love the rock and roll interview or oral history or tell-all biographies this is a novel for you! I’m reminded of No One Here Gets Out Alive, and ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, two fantastic biographies I read back in the 1980s about Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, respectively. Though her book is fiction, its super character driven because the rock stars are telling their versions of events. It feels immediate, unreliable, and real. If you are interested in the 1970s rock scene, read this novel. Both main characters are compelling, complicated, and you’ll know someone in your life or in rock and roll that’s just like them. Yes, some of it is clichéd rock and roll, but it’s more about relationships, collaboration, and drama. The book, As Daisy says on Page 213,” is about how it felt, not the facts.”

Furious Hours Murder Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, Casey Cep.
Harper Lee is an enigma. This book, while well-written, doesn’t change that fact. Try as we might to understand her, we will probably never know her complete writerly story. As a writer myself, that’s maddening. Cep kept me reading in the hope that there was more to know. Alas, and disappointingly, there was not much new about Lee.
Also, I really didn’t think the parts made a book. They could have been published separately, or as a longer article. And perhaps they were.

However, as a librarian and historian, I want to know who controls the estate? Are there any plans to hand over her papers, letters etc. as part of a collection to a university? Other than in the acknowledgements, Cep is very quiet about Lee’s estate and what if any writings it contains.

Killers of the Flower Moon, David Gran
I thought there was nothing more heartbreaking than the plight of Native Americans. Then I read David Grann’s book and realized how egregious man’s inhumanity to man can reach new lows. These kinds of stories always lead to the question, why haven’t we heard this story before? Impossible to answer that but, thankfully Grann’s made another generation aware of colossal injustices.

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, Brené Brown

“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us.”

“You belong everyplace and no place, it’s a paradox.”

“Being ourselves sometimes means finding the courage to stand alone.”

Being ourselves sometimes means finding the courage to stand down.

Oliver Jeffers: The Working Mind and Drawing Hand, Oliver Jeffers

Jeffers has illustrated many children’s books, including one of my favorites and possibly yours, The Day the Crayons Quit. This book is a look inside who Jeffers is as a person and artist.

“My dad raised me to believe that the surest sign of intelligence in another human being is curiosity and imagination,” Jeffers writes, and I wholeheartedly agree.

I Heard You Paint Houses, Charles Brandt

I read this before Frank Sheeran’s story became a movie directed by Martin Scorsese called The Irishman (highly recommend  by the way, just not my favorite). The book is really an oral history, an as told to story collected from interviews with Sheeran and Charles Brandt. From his life in Philly, to his harrowing experience in World War II to his role as a hit man for the Mob and the Teamsters, Frank Sheeran tells the reader in conversational language and graphic detail about his “exacting” life.


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Dir. Quentin Tarantino

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An alternative ending to the 1960s. It’s a fantastic movie with characters, and costumes, cars combining for some compelling storytelling. The stars are at their best in this homage to Hollywood film-making of the late sixties. The stunts are real but the ending is well…a Tarantino fairy tale. Violent, of course, yet surprisingly satisfying.  

Thanks for reading. Stay Curious! Happy 2020!


Where you been Stump?

Well, after the career change from the Fairhope Public Library to the Fairhope Museum of History, it’s been a little challenging to carve out writing time. That hasn’t changed much, so it’s a picture heavy post about our letterpress class at Charlotte Mason Printing.

Some steps in the process.

  1. Create your design
  2. Find type
  3. Set type (Caitlyn helped with this, thank goodness)
  4. Block type into press. For our card we used the flat press.
  5. Print

Photos of the our progress.







Caitlyn is Charlotte Mason Printing!




Pulling a Print


Thanks to Charlotte Mason Printing, I’m a printer!

Later, they fired up the Chandler and Price press. It’s similar to the one at the Fairhope museum that was used to print The Fairhope Courier.



Tim with the Chandler and Price press, circa 1938

Head over to my Instagram to see the press in action.


Do You Create Outside?

Sometimes when the world is moving too fast, I like to take a class. The best kind are outside. I headed to Blakeley State Park for a nature journal-keeping class with Nancy Milford.


Nancy gave a wonderful overview on the history, science, and art of field sketching. She also included several handouts with fantastic tips for how to get started, including some simple sketching techniques. As a journal-keeper, the idea of adding drawings to my journals fascinated me. It was also intimidating. That is until Nancy said, “Don’t judge yourself on your drawing.” For some reason, that set me free to experiment.


I found myself in the zone, that place where you’re creating and time slips by quickly. I started with some words, location, date, then I started drawing. When I was sketching, I tried to enter the landscape. The drawing is my interpretation of the experience.

As you can see below, I was joined by some very talented people.


I’ll continue to be a journal keeper because that’s what I do. I bring a journal with me wherever I go. Thanks to Nancy, I’ll be drawing some field sketches too.


Stump Gets Reviewed in Amplitude

So excited to see a review of Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs!

Check out the review at Amplitude, an online and print magazine with the tagline “Powerful, Practical, and Positive Living with Limb Loss.”

Click on the cover below to see Amplitude magazine’s home page, which includes a PDF of the current January/February 2019 issue. The review is on page 7.


I sent out advanced copies of my book to several amputee related publications for reviews. Whatever your subject, find publications on that subject. Submit your book. Also, if you’ve read my book, please post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. A few honest words would be appreciated. Just click on the respective logo on the right. If you have already reviewed it, thank you.

In other book news, I found the children’s picture book Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, by Jessica Kensky Patrick Downes, and illustrated by Scott Magoon, in Amplitude magazine. It just won the Schneider Family Book Award, the American Library Association’s best book for young children with a disability experience. It was included in my Best of 2018 list.


Stump’s Best of 2018

Here’s the best of 2018! By category, only one winner per category, no runner ups, no honorable mentions, no blah blah blah. I’ve culled the list from 427 articles, 119 Youtube videos, 67 books, and 41 movies. Unlike many other best of’s on the internet, I’ve actually read, watched, or listened to the media that tops my list. Enjoy and Merry New Year!


Books by an Amputee

Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs (I’m rather biased, it’s mine!)

Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, by Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon


The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles, Gary Krist


Ready Player One, Ernest Kline (A PBS Great American Read)

Pictorial Works

Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel, Simon Adams

Children’s Picture Book

Her Right Foot, Dave Eggers, Art by Shaun Harris


22 Things to do After Work



Christmas Song

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keene


If you hate Small Talk


Convicted killer confesses to 90 murders

Generation Gap

Which Generation Are You In?


Emma Stone learns British slang from Rachel Weisz

Shark attack Cape Cod

Also a language lesson to everyone not living on Cape Cod. It’s an island, so it’s “on Cape Cod” not as this headline reads “in Cape Cod.” It’s like when when people call the Gulf of Mexico, the ocean. Sorry, rant over.

Long Form Journalism

Map (Interactive)

Medieval London’s Bloody Murders

Mental Health






The Disaster Artist


We’re the Millers


Beat Root Revival, Live At the Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas

Sports Writing

Bill Belichick and Nick Saban Friendship

Social Media

Teens Desert Social Media


Big Little Lies


Travel is No Cure for the Mind

Truck Drivers





Thanks for reading, watching, and listening.

Best Mail

Jump over to my personal page to learn more about the best Christmas present!



Are you Thankful?

This past month I’ve been on an incredible journey. Here’s a few photos from Stump the Librarian‘s book stops. Thanks for supporting a local author and your hometown librarian.




I was in great company at my Page and Palette book signing. Frye Gaillard (A Hard Rain), political cartoonist, JD Crowe (Half-Thunk Thoughts), and The Grinch!



The event at Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort on the 28th was special too. The Brewster family came by and so did a former co-worker and now Spanish Fort Public Library Librarian Zach Basler.


Sue’s always by my side, em well, except when The Grinch is around.


On Thursday, I talked about leg stories and leg history at the “Tea for Two” program at the Fairhope Museum of History. Director Phillip Bolin and Special Projects Assistant Darby Wiik were gracious hosts. The audience had lots of questions, which I love because, questions usually turn into conversations.

Enjoy the holiday season and check my author site to find out where I’ll be signing and telling leg stories next. Thanks for reading Stump the Librarian.

Until then, want to know where you would be cataloged in the Dewey Decimal System?

Take this quiz at Spacefem. It’s fun! You can find Stump the Librarian in Biography, but here’s my nonfiction section. The “What it says part about you” is surprisingly true.

Alan Samry’s Dewey Decimal Section:

997 Atlantic Ocean islands

Alan Samry = 121491385 = 121+491+385 = 997

900 History & Geography

Travel, biographies, ancient history, and histories of continents.

What it says about you:
You’re connected to your past and value the things that have happened to you. You’ve had some conflicted times in your life, but they’ve brought you to where you are today and you don’t ignore it.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at