Keys To The Truculent Me

My latest collection of essays continues my cataloging of slights against me in my roles as husband and father, both real and imagined (mostly imagined); I wrestle with the convoluted rules of grammar; I take a few digs at The World According to Trump, and occasionally just say something amusing for the hell of it. Fans of wordplay and puns are sure to enjoy; fans of the Kardashians (are there any left?) surely will not.

A few reviewers have had some nice things to say about the book:

  • “A mishmash of musings, mantra, and mystification, Keys To the Truculent Me is alternately funny, frugal, and insightful. ‘Our dentist recommended that we start using a rechargeable toothbrush; fair enough, but the brand the practice encouraged us to purchase comes with Bluetooth connectivity, sharing the data with an app to keep track of how often and how long we brush each day. Honest to God, if someone needs to utilize that level of technology to avoid cavities, then dentures are a foregone conclusion.’ Keys To the Truculent Me is [a] compelling browse, whether a few pages here and there in moments of spare time or cover to cover all at once. Highly recommended!”
    • Review in the Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch (Oct. 2017)
  • “If anyone could so hilariously mangle the English language with groan-inducing puns and absurd “gift of gag” wordsmith observations, it would be Maine humorist John Branning.This is a collection of 50 short essays he uses to skewer tasteless celebrities, clueless politicians, make fun of himself and puzzle over toilet paper, popular quotes, Thanksgiving recipes, New Year’s resolutions and why verb tenses make him tense.Get ready to laugh at the gags, witticisms, profound goofiness and Branning’s unique look at life, marriage, his waistline and toilet training his cats. There are a lot of toilet-related observations here, especially his astute questioning of why there are so many types of toilet paper when we only go No. 1 and No. 2. He worries folks might think he does most of his thinking and writing while on the can.He also likes lists, such as “Thirteen Last-Minute Gifts for Your Holiday” (the Mike Pence stopwatch is a keeper), and the “Eleven Reasons Why I Hate to Go Grocery Shopping” (why do we add salt to a recipe that calls for unsalted butter?).

    Best, however, are his essays on fractured grammar like “Double Indumbnity” where the term “film buff” means watching old movies in the nude, and “film noir” which is French for “not in color.” He also thinks Apostrophe is the Greek goddess of love, wonders about the term “Scott-free” (Who is Scott and who set him free?) and asks if you are nonplussed now, can you be plussed later?

    Others include “My Bathroom Innovation Will Make You Flush with Excitement;” why he calls wine connoisseurs “winers” (get it?); why the term “rode hard, put away wet” has nothing to do with horses; and why you’d better watch out if your 9-year-old son asks you if he’s in your will.”

    • Review by Bill Bushnell in the Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel (12/15/2017)

Read the book’s intro here!

You can purchase a copy of Keys To The Truculent Me from your favorite bookseller, or through Amazon as a paperback or Kindle download.


Start a Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: