Thanks to Powell’s Books Blog for publishing my new essay, “Better Living Through Gambling.”

Most of us can hear the most jarring notes of luck — narrowly avoiding a catastrophe, say, or bumping into a friend long lost — how can we not? To willingly ignore these signs seems folly — yet few can detect the rich texture of melody underneath. The history of gambling, however, is punctuated by the breathless accounts of those who could harness this sensitivity, often deploying it to prodigious financial advantage.

Read the rest here

Library Journal (Starred Review): It’s rare to encounter high seriousness and humor under one cover, but the author’s layered grasp of gambling and its contingencies, its potential to dominate players emotionally, charges the narrative with thrills and danger. Perhaps the real triumph, though, is an unflinching (yet humane) glimpse into the lives of several characters in desperate relationships with chance, addiction, and lethal levels of debt. (William Grabowski)
Read the rest here

30 years on after high school, I finally made it into the Armonk Daily Voice! Here’s an excerpt of my interview with Sam Barron:

Growing up in Armonk, Shum said he was inspired by his English teacher Bud Pollack. Pollack helped Shum discover the talent he had for writing and helped him learn how to pace a story.

“It took me a long time to make it happen,” Shum, who now lives in Queens said. “Everything I did in between was necessary to make this happen.”

Read the rest here