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7 books of Russell Bittner

A Christmas story -- for SMART kids.

YES, there's some symbolism. And YES, this story may require an equally smart parent to explain it. But I'd like to think the combination of a smart parent and a smart kid will get it.

Think of this story as an opportunity. Whatever your religion (or lack of one), this is a story that will challenge your child. And, in the process, will challenge you.

How so? Quite simply, to uncover some of your own misgivings, equivocations and tergiversations -- and to explain to your child what "life everlasting" is all about.

This is not a Christian story. This is not a Muslim or a Jewish story. This is a simple NYC story -- about a small pine tree that accompanies a BIG pine tree to the BIG city. And which finds life and its meaning in that same big city.

We should ALL be so lucky. We should ALL find the meaning of life in a once-­in-­a-­lifetime opportunity. Unfortunately, we're not pine trees -- either BIG or small.

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A personal memoir of desperation, despair...­and hope.

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What follows (part dialogue, part monologue, mostly rumination) is a series of letters I wrote to my two children on their respective birthdays over the course of 21 years.

The first is one I wrote to my son on his day of birth: November 25, 1991; the last is one I wrote to my daughter leading up to her 18th birthday on June 8, 2012. Some letters are missing from this publication: they’re either lost to other computers, other hard drives, other floppy discs, or are still in storage in the Bronx. I may or may not be able to recover them ever again.

What, then, is—and was, from its genesis—the rationale for these letters?

Quite simply, a desire to recall, as accurately as possible, the physical, moral and cognitive development of my two children year by year and blow by blow, as they grew from infancy to toddlerhood, and from childhood to adolescence. But why? So that if they ever needed to, they could one day look back and understand a large part of what made (and makes) them . . .

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I'll let the original publisher -- Faraway Literary -- speak for me.

"Stories in the Key of C. Minor. is a major work...­" (Daniel Sawyer, Publisher).

"...­'Something Special' is a novella-­length story by author Russell Bittner that is featured in the new collection, 'Stories in the Key of C. Minor.­' It is about Bruce, a middle-­aged agent for models who plans to spend a romantic weekend in the wilds of Yosemite with his gorgeous protege Angie -- until, that is, things go horribly awry. Written with an impressive eye for detail and an awesome command of language, 'Something Special' is an intriguing and absorbing tale by an emerging author who's sure to leave his mark. Along with the other stories that appear in this collection, Bittner establishes himself as a literary talent to be reckoned with.­"

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"The Dead Don't Bitch" is a perhaps an odd title for a collection of shorts (plus one novella) ranging from a simple children's Christmas story to an apocolyptic vision of NYC on the decline. It occurred to me one afternoon while I was strolling through Green-­wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York. The title made perfectly good sense to me at the time. It still does, as only the dead don't bitch.

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A story of love, lust and loss.

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Books of Russell Bittner