Bowling For Christmas

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Bowling for Christmas & Other Tales from the Road contains twenty-one essays and three poems from the notebook of traveling folksinger Mark Dvorak. The collection recounts a journey not always taken on the highway, and is engaging, revealing and intelligently written. The author emerges from between the pages as a caring, observant and gentle man. Dvorak's gift for descriptive prose and poetry takes you "there."

"I promise you, the ability to play a banjo and guitar, even marginally well, will result in many adventures, and more than a few curious circumstances..." - from "Bowling for Christmas"

The literary collage resonates with Dvorak's singular voice. He writes about searching for the grave of the the Louisiana born folk and blues singer Lead Belly, and takes readers back stage at the Philadelphia folk festival for a jam session with the late John Hartford.

He reminisces about a youthful cross-country motorcycle trip, and reflects on the death of tenor Luciano Pavarotti. He reports on his tour of Finland and locates the tunnel in West Virginia where the legend of John Henry was born. The book culminates with the touching short story, "Bowling for Christmas."

Mark Dvorak is a musician, teacher and songwriter. When not on the road, he lives along the Des Plaines River in Riverside, Illinois, and teaches at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music.

He has given concerts in almost all of the United States and has made visits to Finland, Canada and Ireland. To date, Dvorak has released sixteen albums of traditional and original music, including Waterbug's acclaimed Time Ain't Got Nothin' On Me.

Dvorak has won awards for children's music, journalism and was honored in 2008 with the Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, he received the FARM Lantern Bearer Award from Folk Alliance International.

The Chicago Tribune has called him, "masterful," and the Fox Valley Folk Festival describes him as "a living archive of song and style." In 2012, WFMT Midnight Special host Rich Warren named Dvorak, "Chicago's official troubadour."

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“WOW! Writer to writer - impressive! You have the gift of thoroughly expressing YOURSELF, your voice, in writing. It was just like having YOU in the room! Very few writers can make their memoirs sound like themselves, but you have totally GOT IT!” Cheryl Chapman, Michigan City IN

“This is a wonderful book…”  - Margaret Kingsbury, Lansing MI

"The Preacher," one of Mark Dvorak's nicknames from his intriguing past, pitches a perfect game of stories and rhyme, in his recent book, "Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road." 

In a collection of twenty-five vignettes, mostly less than six pages, Mark shares intimate impressions of experiences in a way that puts you inside the head of a minor league baseball player, folksinger, and visitor to Lead Belly's gravesite, with much of the accompanying emotional and sensory feelings. You will even see what it might be like to play a concert at a nursing home on Christmas Eve, or try to catch a sinking line drive to your left. And when it is all finished you will wish there were more.

Jerry Woolpy, Bats in the Boathouse Press, Minocqua WI

Paul Schingle Reviews

Storyteller Dvorak brings it with 'Bowling for Christmas" 

Have you ever met someone who can tell a story, and it drifts into another one and (maybe) still another one? After all is said and done, you're back to hearing about the first thing? And, when you meet this guy or gal, do you find yourself hanging on every word? Don't you hate people like that? And don't you love 'em?  read the entire review here.

"...I enjoyed Mark's story 'Bowling for Christmas' when I sat in the quiet at home and read it. He is special." - Roberta Gordon, Sparta IL

"You show a good literary flair..." - Frank Hamilton, Decatur GA

"Finished your book yesterday and loved it. Will be recommending you to others..."  - Nan Anderson, Evanston IL

"A great read! You have a wonderful style reminiscing about meaningful events in your life... I got misty reading about John Hartford and chuckled at your Slaughterhous Five piece.... Thank you for sharing your stories!" - Margie Mohrhusen, Lisle IL

"I am so enjoying, 'Bowling for Christmas,' and have rationed the chapters to only one a day so it will last longer. You are really an amazing writer..." - Marge Weber, Elk Grove Village IL

"We really enjoyed reading your book tonight. Your words make everything so crystal clear. It's beautiful..." - Stacy Holzwarth, Portage MI

"Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories and wisdom..." - Maria McCullough, Chicago IL

"After I built a fire in the wood stove this evening, I picked your book... I read the last page of the Bowling Story, and the words 'We have so much to be thankful for...' Then I looked at the Index, and saw the story about John Hartford. I remember when he died, it was announced on the Bluegrass radio program out of Rhinelander Wisconsin as I was driving up there one weekend with Agnes and Katherine for our annual  fishing trip. We were sad. So I read your story about him that day at the Folk Festival, watching him walk across the field, then playing with him, the touch of his bow on a knee, then finally a wink, and the touching of hearts through music that day... and I cried again, the second time this week. You have written an incredible book Mark..." - Paul Bolton, Riverwoods IL

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