Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects

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In 2013, Daniel Nester’s estranged father died penniless and alone in a small apartment in Tucson. The news brought back a flood of memories about Mike Nester, an enigmatic truck driver with a genius IQ, who influenced Daniel’s worldview with conspiracy theories, philosophy books, and something called “The Nester Curse.”

Told in short chapters, Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects is a semi-comic coming-of-age story of a music-obsessed Catholic boy who searches for a new identity outside of Maple Shade, N.J., a blue-collar town straight out of a Bruce Springsteen song and where Martin Luther King, Jr. was once thrown out of a bar at gunpoint. The town’s rough-and-tumble inhabitants, called Shaders, don’t suffer record nerds like Daniel gladly, and eventually punk rock and poetry saves his life.

A story of redemption and working through grief, Shader tells the story of what it means to leave a place that never leaves you.

A 2016 Firecracker Award Finalist!

A Small Press Distribution best-seller!

A Flavorwire staff pick!

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Excerpts and Press

Shader affectingly explores youthful pain without retroactive adult resentments of the sort that can curdle into self-pity. Wit is the author’s default instead.–Philadelphia Inquirer

Other than knowing what we are getting absolutely everyone for the holidays now, Shader’s biggest impact upon us is how utterly relatable it is. The experiences with finding oneself amidst an environment that seems stifling and rich with characters all at once is well-worn literary territory that Nester manages to make seem completely new…and familiar to our own experiences.–Philebrity

“Second Thoughts on The Good Bad Boy,” adapted from a chapter from Shader, at NBCC’s Critical Mass

Chronogram Gift Guide

Interview with Matthew Thorburn at the Ploughshares website

Philebrity Recommended Reading

“Made in the S. Jersey Shade” in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Interview with Chris McCreary in Fanzine

Two chapters from Shader at The Brooklyn Rail

Praise for Shader

Nester takes us on the ride of his life, and we uncover pieces of ourselves along the way…an engaging read.—Billy Squier, singer/songwriter

My God! What would we do without Daniel Nester’s irreverence, obsessions and bizarre and wonderful charm. The book you hold in your hands is fantastic.—Darcey Steinke, author of Sister Golden Hair and Easter Everywhere

Shader is that rare book that manages to be hilarious, poetic, insightful, and compulsively readable all at the same time. Daniel Nester has the gifts to turn a time, a town, into both a dream and a place that feels like home, with some of the most potent characters I can think of in recent literature. I couldn’t put it down.—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door and Famous Builder

Excerpt and Self-Interview at The Nervous Breakdown

“Professor’s book looks back with a punk perspective” in The Daily Gazette

If you’re feeling lost…you better find somebody
And if you’re looking for truth…don’t tell lies
—Billy Squier, “The Pursuit of Happiness”

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