Bob’s Books

Animal Home by Bob Cairns - book cover

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Animal Home

“Look up the definition of “Romp” and you’ll have a good idea of what Animal Home is all about. I can already see the film version of this. Someone get me Will Ferrell’s and Seth Rogan’s cell numbers!”
–Norman Steinberg, Emmy-winning film and TV writer known for Blazing Saddles, My Favorite Year, Johnny Dangerously and numerous other award-winning productions.

“I speak about Charles Dickens but of course can’t speak for him–although since he has been dead 140 years, why not?: ‘I, Charles Dickens, don’t find Animal Home quite up to Great Expectations, but I do love those Galumph twins (God bless them, every Two), by name and action, as they serve as catalysts for this fun and funny character driven novel,'”
–Dr. Elliot Engel, writer, American scholar and a member of England’s prestigious Royal Society of Arts, who speaks nationally and internationally on Dickens.

“You CAN judge a book by its cover — when the cover artist is Jack Pittman! As a longtime fan of his multi-award winning humorous illustrations, Jack once again delights us with his own brand of visual zaniness to match the author’s fun-filled pages that follow. Enjoy!
–Nick Meglin, Editor Emeritus, MAD Magazine

“What fading male, even for just one mind flicker, hasn’t paused while passing a college frat house to ponder what it would be like to walk through that door and time warp with a case of bad beer under arm? Better option: Hitch that literary and laugh-rippin’ ride with 70-year-old frat boy Josh O’Hare and his 1960’s college mates in Bob Cairns’ wild and whacked new novel.”
–Gary Smith, known for his preeminent personality profiles inSports Illustrated. He won the National Magazine Award for non-fiction, the magazine equivalent of the PulitzerPrize, a record four times.

What happens when a pair of evil twins, co-presidents flying the banner of a small private college, bilk alums by sucking them in to retire on the campus in an infirmary that they’ve converted into a retirement home?

“Cower College — A Haven Where Education Lasts A Lifetime!” No! Patient abuse, kidnapping, larceny, theft and murder!

As the Galumph twins — a nasty brother and sister act — attempt to grow their scam, there’s a spot of bother. They need a parcel of land adjacent to the campus to build a larger retirement home. More alums, more money! Josh O’Hare, a 70-year-old fraternity “boy” who works as a janitor in Cower’s Infirmary/Home, never left campus. Beloved by many, perceived ne’er-do-well and poster boy for the ‘60s by others,

Josh owns a farm, the only land available for the Galumphs’ expansion of their retirement swindle. O’Hare’s old frat believes he’s willing the 68-acres to the men of Kappa. And the Galumphs? Well, they’re plotting to ensure that the land goes to them for their nefarious plan for a new money machine, a mega retirement center to grind more Cower alums. O’Hare, with plans for his land to fund educations for orphans, will under no circumstances give up the land to the frat or the Galumphs. No legal circumstance!

When the old man makes his intent public, he suddenly disappears. His will is abruptly changed with Cower the beneficiary, and that’s when Doc (pre-med) and Liz (J-school student), a most unlikely couple, come up with and carry out Operation Animal Home!

They hop in Josh’s classic Woody wagon and are off to find and recruit the Six Pack, Josh’s old college mates, and then bring them back to Cower where they’ll slip the elders into the “Home” for a Galumph promoted comp retirement trial.

Here Josh’s old friends join Doc and Liz in a life-and-death operation to find and save their old friend. And just when this unlikely team is sure they’ve located their kidnapped friend the story takes a dramatic and devastating turn.

As Congressman Murray Weinstein, one of the Six Pack harking back to Operation Animal Home, put it so eloquently as he addressed a Cower graduation class the following spring, “Gilbert and Sullivan said it best in H.M.S. Pinafore, ‘Things aren’t always what they seem!’”


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Stories I Couldn’t Tell Until My Mother Died

If America enjoyed the bestseller about SH*T someone’s dad said, then they’ll love Bob Cairns’ Stories I Couldn’t Tell Until My Mother Died. The stories here run from laugh-out-loud funny to poignant memories that will bring readers to tears. A number of Cairns’ remembrances from this incredible gathering come with the blessings of his editors at Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, Field & Stream and other national magazines. But more than 100 are first-time, never-before-told originals, with a number wrapped in the name recognition of high-profile celebrities—Steve Allen—(”Silly Today Thanks To Steve and Tonight”); Martin and Lewis (”Brush With Greatness”); Tom Arnold (”Tom, Terry and Tim”); John Denver (”How I Pissed off John Denver”); Bill Cowher (”Planes, Trains and Mopeds”); Richard Simmons; (”No Pants No Gain”); Bob Costas (”Crossword Costas”); Jim Valvano (”V&Me”) and Rudy (”The Making of Rudy”). Cairns says that his mother claimed that the gathering herein began July 6, 1943. “I was born breech and there was rarely a day that went by that my mother didn’t claim that was the reason that I tended to get so many of my tales backwards!” Julia (who lived to the ripe old age of 96) had a wonderful sense of humor. And the fact that she’s pictured here on the book’s cover holding a crock? Well, her son’s guess is that her reaction would be, “Hooray for irony!”

Praise for Stories I Couldn’t Tell Until My Mother Died:

“I am so remorseful that my mother is no longer alive. She would have loved this book.”
– Ed Asner, seven-time Emmy Award winning actor

“There are two ways to experience this book: as one vast hors d’oeuvres tray of laughter…or as one wild, zig zag ski race across the mountain of mankind—us in all our preposterous glory. Then again, why not gulp, guffaw and slalom all at once.”
– Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated, four-time winner of Magazine Writer of the Year, the magazine equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize

“To the list of Immortal Authors, Dickens, Shakespeare, Twain, add the name of Bob Cairns — no, no, not because he’s nearly as talented nor because he’s immortal (obviously, neither was his mother), but because this man can zestily relate the funniest stories this side of Chaucer’s pilgrims. This is a cornucopia of anecdotes as antidotes for whatever ails ya. Take four of these before bedtime, and you’ll never have to call the doctor again.”
– Dr. Elliot Engel, American scholar and a member of England’s prestigious Royal Society of Arts, who speaks nationally and internationally on Dickens, Shakespeare, Twain and other literary immortals

“This isn’t science and it isn’t fiction. What it is is just one damned funny book.”
– Mike Resnick, winner of five Hugo awards for his science fiction, nominated for the Hugo more than any other writer


 V & Me: Everybody’s Favorite Jim Valvano Story

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The often hilarious, often touching, always significant life of one of sport’s great personalities. V&Me: Everybody’s Favorite Jim Valvano Story takes readers inside V’s inner circle for all the laughs, lights, cameras and action. The stories are all here–from the inside-the-huddle magic to the genius, hype and hysterics of his inspirational half-time speeches. The more than 250 lively stories drop you into the action of a life that ran at warp speed, one ABC Sports’ Terry Gannon called, “like being at a heavyweight fight!.” Filled with great big game moments, but at times in V&Me the basketball merely bounces in the background. V meets the President, dines with Bill Cosby, suits up with the LA Dodgers, trades barbs with Bob Hope and crawls in the ring with Muhammad Ali. This book chronicles Valvano’s in-credible life from his goal-oriented New York childhood to the Cinderella run for the NCAA basketball championship and then, finally, his highly publicized, heroic fight against cancer.

Praise for V&Me:

V&Me is a whole lotta smiles, laughs and just plain wonderment.”
Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated

“Simply the best V book ever written, one that will make readers think, cry and laugh out loud.”
Terry Gannon, ABC Sports

“Warm, funny and poignant stories about the late Jim Valvano, who guided North Carolina State to one of the most shocking upsets in college basketball history — a last-second victory against Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game. Family memories relive Valvano’s New York childhood, players recall the locker room and sideline talks and strategies, and there are great memories from high profile coaches–Wooden, Smith, Krzyzewski, Massamino–with big names from the media weighing in–Vitale, Saunders, Feinstein, Lupica, Kornheiser and Firestone.”
The Tampa Tribune

“Everybody has a favorite Jim Valvano story. This collection takes readers inside V’s inner circle for the laughs, lights, cameras and action. They are likely to lead you to laugh, cry and to think.”
BASKETBALL TIMES

“Those who Valvano touched most recall the legendary basketball coach, visionary, motivator and comedian in Bob Cairns’ V & Me: Everybody’s Favorite Jim Valvano Story.The stories are spontaneous, often funny and always enlightening. An exceptional book that transcends N.C. State and college basketball. You didn’t have to be a sports fan to become captivated by Valvano, and you don’t have to be one to fall victim to the emotion found in V&Me.”
The Rocky Mount Telegram


The Comeback Kids

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In 1954, Elmer “The Giant” Thumma promised his baseball team, the New Becton Hot Dogs, a shot at the Williamsport Little League Champs. Because of racial prejudice the game was never played. More than thirty years later, the now grown-up players are still haunted by what might have been….

Elmer, not only the team’s old coach but a former New York Giants pitcher as well, finds himself caught in a corporate takeover of Elmer’s Little Giants, Inc. his multi-million dollar hot dog company. In order to save his fortune, he proposes that the two teams play the cancelled ’54 series, wherein the Hot Dogs must beat the Poughkeepsie Pintails in a five game exhibitions in American’s great old ballparks.

With the Giant’s financial backing, the middle-aged New Becton Hot Dogs set out in a custom-made hot dog-shaped luxury van, and the adventure begins! To Hooter Horton, “The Little World Series That Shoulda Been But Never Was” sounded like the answer to any self-respecting ex-Little League catcher’s dream. Heck, he was a writer, and the experience might just make one hell of a book. But, what Horton never predicted was the turn of events the miniseries would take.  Or, that the saga’s characters— people like Larry Barnes, a woman reporter whose poison pen who would drive the story from the Dog’s West Palm training camp to Yankee Stadium—would help make the story  bigger than life.

And, there’s one other thing that Horner didn’t realize. Even Little Leaguers have to grow up.

Praise for The Comeback Kids:

“… funny and profane.”
Sports Illustrated 

“A really funny baseball book. The Comeback Kids reminded me of America’s great old ball parks and the kind of fun I had during my days with the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s. It’s a story that any fan will enjoy.”
– Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Hall of Fame Pitcher, New York Yankees and Oakland A’s

“The best humorists have always known that comedy is about tragedy.  Bob Cairns’ The Comeback Kids is both funny and sad, and by no means of interest only to those of us who are hooked on the great American game of baseball. You’ll probably eventually see it as a film but why wait? You can always impress your more intellectual friends at the premier by saying, ‘Well, I liked it, but it really isn’t as funny as the book.'”
– Steve Allen, American television personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer

“Cairns proves that dreams can come true and ‘might have been’ can still become a reality. A delightful, well-crafted story.”
– Ernie Harwell, Hall of Fame Announcer

“I read this book with genuine pleasure. I was vastly entertained throughout and found it to be as illuminating about men as it was about baseball.”
– Lee Smith, bestselling author of Oral History, Family Linen, Fair and Tender Ladies


Pen Men: Baseball’s Greatest Bullpen Stories by the Men Who Brought the Game Relief

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More than 40 relief pitchers — the famous, not-so-famous, and the infamous — offer first-hand accounts of some of the greatest anecdotes and memorable events, which they recall as men of the bullpen.

Pen Men features stories from Goose Gossage, Tug McGraw, Dennis Eckersley, Jim Bouton, Tim McCarver and others.

Praise for Pen Men:

“Great reading in the late innings of some lazy game in August.”
– The New York Times Book Review

Pen Men “is a vivid reminder that baseball is a great storyteller’s game and that most ballplayers love to tell great stories.”
– The Washington Post

“Beautifully done.”
– Jerome Holtzman, The Chicago Tribune

“The recollections of these Pen Men are passionate, detailed, funny an occasionally, remorseful. Intricate practical jokes and great stories of pressure pitching dominate their monologues. A must for all sports collections, this will probably be the best baseball book of the season.”
– Booklist

“Bob Cairns’ history of relief is much more than just a recital of the accomplishments of Sparky, Goose, Tug, Turk, Moe and the Mad Hungarian—it is a portrait of a special breed of ballplayer. You’ll wish the book were twice as long.”
– The Dallas Morning News

Pen Men gives the bullpen a chance to tell its great stories.”
– USA TODAY

“Funny, revealing, insightful. A lot of research involved.”
– The Sportsbook File

Pen Men is a book to treasure. Excellent.”
– Jim Brosnan, Vineline, The Chicago Cubs Magazine