Last week, I read Erin Fitzgerald‘s excellent new book, valletta78. It is a book filled with humor and sadness. It is also a book that made me think and consider my own life. When I started working as a content producer for an onilne portal in 1997, I didn’t understand the people who hung out in our chatrooms and on our discussion boards. What … Read More valletta78, by Erin Fitzgerald
I wrote this book because we live in a sometimes horrible and often beautiful world. I wrote this book because I did not want you to feel so alone. I wrote this book because four boys in the town where I used to live used their collective rage, boredom, and feelings of worthlessness to turn the lives of another family into the thing of … Read More I Wrote This Book Because…
As I read The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick I couldn’t help but think about how part of the message behind the book relates to how I met a dear friend of mine.We met because I stumbled across a wonderful essay he had written. I loved the essay and chose to write about it on my blog. The writer then found my post … Read More The Good Luck of Right Now, by Matthew Quick
At the heart of Roxane Gay‘s devastating debut collection, Ayiti, is truth. Whether a language is shared or a language divides, what it offers, when spoken with strength and authority, is an opportunity to share the truth. There is a connection to the desire for truth from the title of the book, which is the Haitian Creole for Haiti, to the final words, which … Read More Ayiti, by Roxane Gay
When I turned over the last page of Gabrielle Hunter’s debut memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, I was genuinely devastated. I had thought I had a few pages left. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. This is not to say that the book does not end well or just as … Read More Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
The stories in this new printing of Randall Brown’s debut chapbook, Mad to Live, absolutely sparkle with desire—for life, for love, for something unnamable. They are stories about sons and fathers and husbands and wives and lovers—all burning with want. I found words for this want in one of the “bonus track” stories entitled “Out of Love” in which the narrator says: “The ache … Read More Mad to Live, by Randall Brown
On the surface, you might consider Benjamin Percy’s chillingly brilliant new novel The Wilding to be a classic tale of man vs. nature. Scratch beneath the surface, and you will find that man’s biggest fear is not the beast without, rather it is the beast within. Commonly, we understand frontier times (and consequently the literature of that time) to be about (white) human beings … Read More The Wilding, by Benjamin Percy
This one is for all of the kids who live outside the edge of normal, all of the kids who have secrets behind what their faces show at school each day, all of the kids who have been picked on, and especially for all of the kids who when faced with the worst, offer up their best. This one is for all of you … Read More Sorta Like A Rock Star, by Matthew Quick
I worried through the entirety of my pregnancy. How, I fretted, could I bring a child into this world? How could I protect him? What did he have to look forward to but melting ice caps, tsunamis, wild fires, genocide, floods, hurricanes, drought, war, war, war, serial killers, crazed gunmen in schools, bullies, etc. Now that I am a parent, I realize I can’t … Read More Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.
I first encountered the work of Mary Mill when I was guest editor for SmokeLong Quarterly and my friend Katrina Denza suggested I check out her writing. I did and asked her to submit for the issue. She sent us this: A Blind Dog Named Killer and a Colony of Bees. All this is to say that before I even cracked the spine of … Read More Big World, by Mary Miller
Philadelphia is not only the home of the quintessentially American Liberty Bell, cheese steak, and Rocky, but now Philadelphia offers us another American original: Pat Peoples, the neurologically-damaged, ex-wife pining, mother-loving, uber Eagles fan protagonist of Matthew Quick’s dazzling debut novel The Silver Linings Playbook. You might think that a book about a guy who has lost so much–his wife, his home, his job, … Read More The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick
I’m delighted to direct your attention to my review of A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women over at Quick Fiction. I loved the book and so will you. So please do order yourself a copy. I promise you will be captivated.