The Trouble With Gumballs BookThe Trouble With Gumballs: the Story of an Expensive Venture into the World of Private Enterprise


"The ranks of good, young humorists are almost perpetually thin. A former New York magazine editor named James Nelson might qualify."

--San Francisco Chronicle

"Very funny account of a young man's going west . . . Likable all the way"


This portrait of a gumball entrepreneur's life in 1950s America is a slice or retail business history and a funny freelance memoir all rolled into one. When James Nelson decides to move his family out West to California in 1952, he takes the leap into entrepreneurship by buying a slew of gumball machines. The ad guaranteed quick profits and easy money, but comic frustrations were what he got. Savvy modern readers will laugh at Nelson's charming naiveté while millennial freelancers will identify with his determination to keep on after endless setbacks. The gumball machine is an iconic symbol of 1950s Americana, and while the story chronicles Nelson's foibles with gumball entrepreneurship, it's the funny characters he meets along the way that are the true stars of this funny memoir. His larger-than-life descriptions of the characters of San Francisco and Sonoma county paint historic California as a fun scene--even for a man who makes his living one grubby penny at a time.

A fun read for fans of humorous travel writing, Sonoma County or San Francisco narratives, or anyone wanting to get an insider view of start-up from the days before Silicon Valley.

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On the Volcano BookOn The Volcano

No one stays innocent forever...

The year is 1875. Katie MacDonald lives with her father on the rim of a volcano so remote she has only met three people in her life. She longs to take the week-long supply trip to Badwater (pop., 250) so she can see, maybe even meet, other people. Eventually, she makes the trip, and the story kicks off, both for good and for bad.

Before it ends, four people are dead. None accidentally.

Read praise for the frontier YA novel, On the Volcano.

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Killing Dave Henderson BookKilling Dave Henderson, Etc.

Dave Henderson will be remembered for many things, most of them on the fringes of legality, morality, and good taste. How else can you describe Dave's and Marge's decision, after Marge's father kicked the bucket, to add 34 feet to the 163-foot yacht being built for them in Kobe, Japan?

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Great Cheap Wines BookGreat Cheap Wines

The world was awash in guides to expensive wines, but no one was evaluating the wines people actually drank. Great Cheap Wines rated 650 wines, imported and domestic, that didn't break the bank. It also introduced the Nelson 14-point Judging System, good for evaluating wines of all kinds.

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Great Wines Under 5 US Dollars BookGreat Wines Under Five Dollars

Time marches on, new wines appear, and a follow-up to Great Cheap Wines is needed. This book brings the reader up to date on the rapidly changing nature of the wine world, along with current evaluations of 730 inexpensive wines from all over the world.

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