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Old Friends

Old Friends: A Collection
by Leon Hale
ISBN 0-9752727
Cloth, $24.00

From the beloved Houston columnist comes a new collection of his warm, funny, entertaining and occasionally poignant narratives that appear regularly in the Houston Chronicle

Old Friends, the first column collection since regional bestseller Home Spun, abundantly reaffirms Leon Hale's reputation as a master of the short personal essay. As his regular readers expect, these are stories of common experience transformed into little treasures of human observation by a writer long valued for precisely that ability. And all are recounted in the graceful conversational prose that has become his hallmark.

Whether he's chronicling his adventures with compost, recounting the tale of an airborne fish, colliding with the occasionally annoying novelties of our world, or joyously responding to one of life's daily marvels, Hale's eye for the memorable detail provokes in us the gentle glow of self-recognition.

Among the many pleasures to be enjoyed here are observations on marital miscommunication; how to really enjoy a telephone solicitation; what a young man about to be married needs to know; discovering kindness in wartime; and, also, of course, there are remembrances of old friends that brim with vivid recollections of what made them so special.

As a special treat, readers will also find several old favorites from books that are no longer in print--including "The Chamber of Commerce Bull," probably the most requested of all Hale columns.

The stories gathered here offer the delight and amusement we have come to expect from this celebrated author, but most of all they remind us of the enduring value that derives from understanding with the heart the small beauties of life--a characteristic that Leon Hale has refined and transformed into art.