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Curled Up with a Good Book review – “The Geiger Counter”

Curled Up With a Good Book

Being a comedian or a humor writer is a difficult job. We all have different concepts of what is funny. Isn’t responding to a comic writer or actor based on at least a similar sense of humor, and perhaps on a similar view of the absurdities of life?

My two favorite comedy writers are/were David Sedaris and (sigh) Robin Williams. Both have a somewhat slanted point of view; while Sedaris may write about dysfunctional families and oddities of behavior, Williams could be downright raunchy, as he was in his hilarious, fast-paced, off-color performance DVDs. Suggestive, witty, incredibly fast-paced. Often ad lib, seldom about his life.

This comedy writer, Matt Geiger, the author of Raised by Wolves, is not like Sedaris or Williams. Not in the least. (By the way, no one was raised by wild canines here, to my disappointment! But a large dog lives with the author and family, so that almost qualifies as an accepted topic for canine-lovers.) Geiger favors a kind of sweet comedy; not that what he writes isn’t funny–it’s not rude. It’s not off-center. It’s not making fun of people except possibly himself. His stories won’t make you blush or guffaw for five minutes. They’ll make you chuckle or think, “Where has this guy been? Did this truly happen?” He lives at a slower pace in Wisconsin. Think American cheese and white bread. Mind you, I love cheese, and Matt Geiger is not white bread; he just likes a quieter life than might take place in larger, more cosmopolitan places. He wants his wife, daughter and animals to lead a more rural, less stressful life.

Read more…

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The Case Of The Two-Headed Calf

The Billboard had promised gasoline, sandwiches, and the opportunity to see a two-headed calf named “Heady”.

Standing in The Pit Stop in Mineral Point, I gazed up and scanned for signs it was a hoax. Maybe the deformity was the result of a clever taxidermist’s touch rather than the handiwork of a hilarious, but also cruel and uncaring god?

I regularly scold myself for being disengaged from the majestic world around me. For slipping away, mentally, and not taking note of the beauty when a dollop of fresh rain collides with an old, soft, green-hued plank on a porch. For not being stunned by the mythic, atavistic form of a vast cloud of steam rising from the sagging jowls of a big dog on a sunny, midwinter afternoon… Hear the entire story on WPR.

Matt Geiger is a journalist and the author of Raised by Wolves and Other Stories.

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An Existential Christmas

Wisconsin Life
Matt Geiger

I judge each child I meet based on her or his merits. I don’t always end up liking them, but at least those who receive my love have done something to deserve it. I’m not the only one who does.

On my daughter’s third Christmas, we marched her down to the Mt. Horeb public library to see Santa, a man famous for judging kids. Child after child plopped down on his lap to ask for an assortment of plastic things. Little did they know Santa wasn’t the only one judging them on that particular morning.

“Ho, ho, ho,” he said, really chewing on the limited dialogue. “What do you want for Christmas this year?”

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Everything you never wanted to know about author MATT GEIGER, and more!

I’ve done it!  I’ve lured my first interesting individual into the trap of answering my Q&A that I developed through extensive scientific research with the intent of bringing out very interesting tidbits from very interesting individuals.  (I used google… have you guys heard of this???) I also scraped the deepest wells of my own creativity to come up with these hard hitting questions that the PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.  So you’re welcome.  And thank you.  Read more…

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Wisconsin author selected as finalist for 2017 Best Book Awards

Geiger’s debut “The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves & Other Stories” was selected as a finalist in the Humor category.

Wisconsin Gazette |

American Book Fest, an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community, announced on Nov. 9 the winners and finalists of the 2017 Best Book Awards, presented for titles published in 2015-2017.

Wisconsin author Matt Geiger’s debut The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves & Other Stories was selected as a finalist in the Humor category.

Jeffrey Keen, president and CEO of American Book Fest, said this year’s contest yielded over 2,000 entries.

“The 2017 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States,” said Keen. “With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the Best Book Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

A complete list of the winners and finalists of the 2017 Best Book Awards is available online at americanbookfest.com.

Earlier this year, The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves & Other Stories was also named as a finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

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Boring Death: A Theory Of Midwestern Cemeteries

Hear “The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves & Other Stories” author Matt Geiger read “Boring Death: A Theory Of Midwestern Cemeteries” on Wisconsin Public Radio.

August 16, 2017
 Download audio

Graveyards in the American Midwest feel like missed opportunities. The neatly mowed rows of economical, hardy, unpretentious headstones.

To walk through a graveyard in Wisconsin is to see 300 dead people trying desperately not to outdo one another. The markers are neat, tidy, and all nearly identical. You can just see the dearly departed, while still alive, clutching a loved one’s hand as the light inside starts to flicker, wheezing: “Please, when you select my headstone, make sure it’s… unremarkable.”

These are the types of people who, when asked to “pick a number,” will invariably go with “6,” because that’s surely enough. Anything more, to a practical Midwesterner, seems greedy, presumptuous, or just plain wasteful.

I’ve been to other parts of the country. I’ve even lived in some of them, including, somewhat regrettably, Florida, where the swampy ground makes traditional burials a mucky, challenging endeavor. When you try to give people there a decent burial, the earth tends to spit them back out, essentially saying: “No thanks.”

But at least in the swampy southern hinterlands, graveyards are beautiful, mossy, and pleasantly ostentatious. Like little jungle gardens where stone mausoleums and statues of angels and saints grow crookedly out of soggy soil and slowly disintegrating human lives.

In Wisconsin, humility is just in people’s DNA. Asking them to suddenly be grand once they die is like asking them to come back as zombies and open up a profitable unicorn farm.

There is a place called the Dickyville Grotto. It looks like any old Catholic shrine, dedicated to God and country, with the notable exception that every square inch is festooned with things like petrified sea urchins and fool’s gold. It’s wonderful, in large part because visitors leave knowing exactly what it would look like if Saint Francis and the sea god Poseidon were involved in a violent head-on collision. It’s not actually a graveyard, though.

Personally, I’ve always wanted to be shot out of a cannon, or tied to the mast of a ship that’s then set on fire with burning arrows, when I die. “That way people will remember me!” I think, briefly forgetting that I will surely feel little, or no, vindication when that day actually comes.

I worry my life will not be worthy of note, so I’m just skipping ahead and planning a death that I think people can get excited about. So, maybe these practical Midwesterners have boring graveyards because they’re generally happy with their body of work while alive. Maybe they aren’t worried they will be forgotten, because, along with frugality, an inability to get a haircut not from the 1930s, and the almost pathological compulsion to fry cheese, they know they’ve made a mark, in the people they were kind to, or the ones they nourished and nurtured.

Maybe I won’t need to be shot out of a cannon when I die. Maybe my life will be enough.

Or, and I’m fairly certain this is correct, the best option is to live the way Midwesterners do. To be kind, and measured.  When life does end, the time to start acting like an ancient, egomaniacal Babylonian king will finally be at hand.

In death I can have an enormous, colorful monument built to celebrate my plainspoken, practical approach to life, and my incredible, towering modesty. Then I can have that monument slathered in luminescent pink, covered in seashells, and shot out of a cannon, high into the heavens. It will be a bold, italicized, underlined exclamation point on the end of a solid, sensible story.

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Memories of St. Augustine Highlighted in New Book

St. Augustine
Posted May 30, 2017
Maryann Pohle

I devoured Humorist/Philosopher Matt Geiger’s new book like a fresh batch of hot, buttered popcorn. The 232 page book, “Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves &Other Stories,” is a clever mixture of childhood remembrances, St. Augustine college stories and vignettes of sweet fatherhood. Stories as diverse as “In the Graveyard,” “Fixing Things” and “A Christmas Story” seamlessly mix his past St. Augustine experiences with more current happenings in an enjoyable stream of consciousness prose, while— surprisingly— the hilarious “Stop and Smell the Manure” is set in Wisconsin, his current home.

The sporadic love letters to his toddler daughter are a nice respite from the cartoonish violence of his accounts of growing up on a farm, and show his growth as a person. Died-in-the-wool re-enactors may quibble with a few of his historical liberties but most of them are in a humorous vein.

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Wisconsin Book Watch Review: The Geiger Counter

Wisconsin Bookwatch: March 2017
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575
 The Fiction Shelf

His little sister joins the circus. His parents buy a nerdy horse. He’s surrounded by hundreds of men dressed up as Ernest Hemingway. He tries to order a monkey through the mail. And now his baby is eating dog food. “The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves and Other Stories” is an anthology of short stories showcasing an author with an impressive flair for originality and deftly crafted storytelling. Matt Geiger reveal the sublime in the mundane and the comical in the banal. There is existential dread. There is festivity amid detritus. There are moments of genuine introspection on what it means to be human. And it’s all laugh-out-loud funny when told by a humorist who is determined to live an examined life, even if he’s not always entirely sure what he’s looking at. While very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves and Other Stories” is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

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Columns for posterity

“The Geiger Counter” is a collection of accessible essays

The Isthmus
by

January 26, 2017

Matt Geiger is terrified most of the time. And he’s fine with that.

That’s just life, says the weekly newspaper editor and columnist, and all you can do is sit back and be amused.

Geiger’s wry observations form the bulk of the essays in The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves & Other Stories (Henschelhaus Publishing), a collection of 44 columns.

– See more at: http://isthmus.com/arts/books/matt-geiger-counter-personal-essays/#sthash.PzP3RBo4.dpuf

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Shout-out from Michael Perry for The Geiger Counter

New York Times best-selling author, fellow-Wisconsinite and all-around nice guy Michael Perry posted this shout-out on The Geiger Counter:

The Mailbox Is Always Full…

…of books and manuscripts from folks requesting I read their work. I am humbled by this, because that’s exactly what I want, too. Unfortunately there are so many weekly arrivals I’d have to read full time just to acknowledge a fraction of them and meanwhile my own work (as a writer, yes, but also as a Dad and a 9-below plow-truck starter) wouldn’t get done. I’m saying this because there is a fellow named Matt Geiger currently residing in Wisconsin who has just released a collection of writing called The Geiger Counter: Raised by Wolves and Other Stories, and I’m glad he has, because we need as many thoughtful, reflective, matter-of-fact voices as we can get. Matt and I are not buddies or related or anything but I can tell you when I peeked in his book I saw the word “chickens” and the phrase “fail the Scott Fitzgerald IQ exam,” so we share that. Also, he got a blurb from Doug Moe, and Doug Moe is a solid citizen. Here’s the book right here.

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Local writer has humorous style

Each column allows readers to dive into the funny, heartfelt world of Matt Geiger.

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Local writer has humorous style

Local writer has humorous style

Each column allows readers to dive into the funny, heartfelt world of Matt Geiger.

Doug Moe, Madison Magazine
Dec 12 2016

What I want to know is: How has there been this delightful writer living in my area code for more than a decade and I’ve just heard about him?

It’s true that his first book was released just last week, and that he writes columns for small newspapers that I don’t often see. But still. The world needs to know about Matt Geiger.

Consider this lead from an essay titled “Philosophy.”

“Calling home from college to tell your parents you are switching your major to philosophy and theology is a rather sobering experience for everyone involved.
“For them, it is much like a call from jail, only worse because instead of a one-time bail payment, you are essentially informing them you will require financial subsidies for the rest of your life. For you, it is perhaps even more difficult, because there is a slight chance this is the final straw and they will decline to pay for your food for the next fifty years. In my case, I had already made the call from jail a few years earlier, which surely did not help my chances.”

Read the rest of the article here…

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Author plumbs truth, memories and Ipswich

By Dan Mac Alpine
ipswich@wickedlocal.com

Geiger Counter - Raised by WolvesMatt Geiger remembers the shortest route to downtown Ipswich from his childhood home on Appleton Farms was the railroad tracks.

“And it was still a long walk,” Geiger, IHS Class of 1998, said.

That isolation provides the baseline for his first book, “Raised by Wolves and Other Stories,” a collection of columns and stories he’s written in his career as a journalist. Geiger calls the book “truish” and said it collectively tells a “single, coherent, narrative” about growing up, seeing the world from different places and memories from different spaces — what Geiger calls a “ personal, historic, memoir novel.”

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“The Geiger Counter” book launch party

Geiger CounterCelebrate with author Matt Geiger on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at  Wisconsin Brewing Company  in Verona from 6-8 p.m.  The official book launch  party will include a signing, copies for sale and a  chance to chat with the author.

Purchase the book here.

Geiger’s debut book finds humor, inspiration in the unknown

Middleton Times-Tribune
11/27/16

“We all have so much in common. You wouldn’t think it from the endless cavalcade of animosity and discord on the Internet, but we do,” observes author Matt Geiger as he prepares for the release of his debut book. “We all live, we all die, and we are all far more confused by the world around us than we like to admit.”

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Geiger’s debut book finds humor, inspiration in the unknown

Middleton Times-Tribune
Erin Vander Weele
11/27/2016

We all have so much in common. You wouldn’t think it from the endless cavalcade of animosity and discord on the Internet, but we do,” observes author Matt Geiger as he prepares for the release of his debut book. “We all live, we all die, and we are all far more confused by the world around us than we like to admit.”

Read more…

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Hard Boiled

Matt Geiger
Middleton Times Tribune
Tue, 06/16/2015

Longtime Middleton resident Nick Chiarkas’ debut novel, “Weepers,” is a gritty tale of crime, revenge and redemption on the streets of New York City where the author spent his formative years.

The air was thick with pesticides and the shouts of children. Adult voices hurdled down from apartment windows. Gang members, merchants, cops, priests and mothers lived side by side, playing out their individual dramas on concrete stages of streets and stoops.

“If I close my eyes and imagine it, there is always a hint of DDT in the air,” recalls Nick Chiarkas, smiling tenderly as he envisions the housing project where he grew up on New York City’s lower east side. “As kids, we would chase the trucks that drove through the city spraying it. Elsewhere people were shouting from windows. Men would urinate in the street, between parked cars, and that was considered okay.”

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