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DUE OUT SEPTEMBER 2007, POE BALLANTINE'S second collection of personal essays follows in the tradition of Things I Like About America. Stories range from "The Irving," which details Mr. Ballantine's diabolical plan to punch John Irving in the nose after opening for him before an audience of 2,000 people that launched the literary festival, Wordstock; to "Wide-Eyed in the Gaudy Shop," which tells how, in Mexico, the narrator met and later married his wife, Cristina; to "Blessed Meadows for Minor Poets," the devastating tale of how after years of sacrifice and persistence, Mr. Ballantine finally secured a contract with a major publisher for a short story collection that never came to fruition. Ever present in this collection of essays are the odd jobs, eccentric characters, boarding houses, buses, and beer that populate Mr. Ballantine's landscape and make his stories uniquely his own. The title story, "501 Minutes to Christ," was included in the Houghton Mifflin anthology, Best American Essays 2006.