Earl returns in Tom Lambert’s second book


BG Independent News

Despite the big tell at the end of his first book, “Living with Earl,” Tom Lambert is not done with his quirky character.

The first book, a series of vignettes that started as Facebook posts, told the story of a character very much like Lambert and his relationship with a convivial stranger who dresses and acts like Mark Twain.

Tom refuses to call him Mark or Sam, for Sam Clemens, Twain’s given name, instead calls him “Earl,” since the character described himself as “the Earl of prose.” The book is a breezy read, with veins of humor and wisdom, and it takes a heart-felt turn in the end.

Lambert said after the first book he heard from people who wanted to know what happened to Earl. Lambert posted a couple letters from Earl that whetted readers’ appetites.

He now has the sequel “Dying with Earl” in hand, and ready for purchase. On Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. he’ll celebrate the new book with a reading and reception at the Wood County District Public Library.

Lambert hit on the title before he really got down to work on the second book. Not only was it a play on the title of the first book, Lambert said, but “I thought the premise would be fun to ride.”

As “Dying with Earl” begins, Earl has found his way down in Florida where he meets colorful characters as is his wont and gets entangled in their affairs.

Tom’s misreading of one of his letters leads him to head down to Florida. The change in locale doesn’t alter the relationship nurtured in Bowling Green. Tom and his friend end up lighting out on a road trip.

As with the previous book, Lambert is working with donors to get it placed in Veterans Administration Hospitals around the country.

Lambert, 71, said he’s surprised he ever wrote a first book, never mind a second. He was a poor student in high school, he said, though he later audited classes in writing at Bowling Green State University and received encouragement.

“Everybody has a book in them,” he said. “Everybody has a story to tell.  Don’t wait. If you’re waiting to get it perfect, you’ll never get it done. Get it down and then go back and polish it.”

As for himself, Lambert still is writing every day. His work may take a new direction, he said, or as the end of “Dying with Earl” indicates, there may be some life yet left in Earl.