The Acorn Stories

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 04 Apr 1998 | Archive Date 04 Aug 2018

Talking about this book? Use #TheAcornStories #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Visit Acorn, Texas, for the German festival, a high school football game, homemade apple pie from the Turner Street Café, and the cool shade of a hundred-year-old oak tree. Meet dedicated teachers, shrewd business owners, closeted gays, and concerned neighbors. See how lives become intertwined in moments of humor or tragedy. Just be careful, because in Acorn, the sky is always falling.

From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, these tales explore the humor, drama, secrets, and scandals of a small town.

“A lush tangle of small-town life branches out in this engrossing collection of short stories.” –Kirkus Reviews

>>>The Individual Stories:

“Acorn”: When we arrive at the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, the narrative keeps shifting between Regina and Dirk, who both seek control over their relationship.

“Flip, Turn”: A different scene from the narrator's amusing but unproductive life comes to him every time he turns to swim in the opposite direction.

“Keeping A Secret”: A little boy wants to shield his mother and his little brother from a dangerous situation.

“Survival”: A young high school teacher (both deaf and gay) clashes with a popular football coach.

“Paying The Rent”: In this politically incorrect tale, an inarticulate young man hopes to marry a rich woman so he can pay the rent, but he finds her repulsive.

“Morgana Le Fay”: A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat's strange behavior.

“Your Daughter”: Gretchen's approach to raising a daughter and maintaining a marriage requires ignoring problems and carefully orchestrating conversations.

“Knock”: A father sees his daughter abandon her Mexican heritage, and he now fears other types of abandonment.

“Come With Me”: The conflicting influence of her overbearing sister and her supportive husband forces Becky to re-evaluate her ambitions.

“Dead Enough”: Farcical look at English departments, tabloid TV, the publishing industry, and America's superstar culture.

“Mae”: Standing by her husband's grave, an elderly woman looks back at the joys and challenges of marriage and motherhood.

“Timothy Fast”: In this satirical retelling of the Faustian myth, a Jewish businessman finds himself pulled into small-town politics.

“Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter”: The owner of an art gallery becomes the target of a “family values” witch-hunt, spear-headed by Acorn's closeted (and supposedly “ex-gay”) mayor.

“Echoes”: A time of unexpected changes for Becky and her husband.

“Oak”: Julie Briggs can only talk to her mother by leaving messages on her answering machine, but she refuses to give up her voice.

“Acorn Pie”: An unusual weekend in the life of an unusual town.


Like Simolke’s books Degranon and Holding Me TogetherThe Acorn Stories received a StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Award.

>>>Welcome to Acorn, Texas!

Acorn is a smaller, fictional version of Lubbock, Texas, a city in the Texas Panhandle. Simolke moved there while writing this collection and used it as an inspiration for the setting, also including the actual Lubbock in one of the stories.

The Acorn Stories first appeared as an eBook in 1998. It now appears in paperback and hardcover as well.

Simolke returned to Acorn by editing and contributing to the spinoff The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.

Visit Acorn, Texas, for the German festival, a high school football game, homemade apple pie from the Turner Street Café, and the cool shade of a hundred-year-old oak tree. Meet dedicated teachers...

Advance Praise

Available Editions

ISBN 9780595288649
PRICE $2.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

Send To Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 7 members

Featured Reviews

Welcome to Acorn, Texas, a small town probably like ANY town, but instead of driving past it, Duane Simolke is going to let us in on what goes on behind closed doors. It may take a village to raise a child, but that same village could also drive the poor kid crazy! THE ACORN STORIES are short, yet fascinating glimpses into the lives of some of the people who make up Acorn. Get ready for a Peeping Tom’s Eye View of the likable, the not-so-likable and just plain unique citizens of Acorn. People who were never on your radar come alive with Duane Simolke’s relaxed tone and you feel as if you are part of their world. Now, whether that’s good or bad depends on each story, because these people are as flawed as we are, and just as quirky as your neighbor may see you! You will find heroes, like the deaf and gay teacher who cares about his students and their potential. Then there is the political vendetta the mayor champions against and art store. Let’s not forget the gossips, the kindhearted and the innocents who are the perfect targets to be used. You will rage, laugh, and shake your heads at some of what goes on in Acorn, then before you know it, you feel you belong, that you know these people, warts and all. Duane Simolke has a folksy way of storytelling, making readers want to pull up a chair and sit a spell, lost in his words and the voices of his characters! When all is said and done, one realizes that people like those in Acorn could be a neighbor, could be part of your town and everyone has a story to tell because that’s life and sometimes it shakes your foundations and sometimes it makes you laugh! It’s the differences in people that make the world go round. I received a complimentary copy from BooksGoSocial! Publication Date: December 13, 2007 Original Publication, April, 1998 Publisher: BooksGoSocial Genre: Adult LGBT | Humor/Satire Print Length: 172 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News:

Was this review helpful?

Another book of short stories to enjoy over time! I haven't read them all, but will revisit this review when I do! I am enjoying reading them as I travel between by bus between work and home. Perfect little gems to occupy me during my ride. Duane Simolke is a very engaging writer-well written, thoughtful stories, easy and quick to read and leaves the reader wanting more! I do hope he has more like this one in the works!

Was this review helpful?

Taking place in the Texas town of Acorn, this collection of short stories focuses in on various citizens from different walks of life and their experiences and interactions within the town. Its definitely a good read for anyone who likes "slice of life" type stories. The writing is engaging and you can get through most of the stories fairly quickly. My only complaint is that many of the stories didn't really have a plot - they were more like snapshots of a particular character's life rather than a self contained story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: