Reviews

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"Be Brief and Tell Them Everything": A Rumination and Kind of Review

June 21st, 2022

Photo credit: Dove Shore, courtesy of author's website As I began to ruminate on Be Brief and Tell Them Everything, the new novel—it is a novel isn’t it? We’ll come back to that—by author and literary podcaster Brad Listi, I got stuck on an image of boxes within boxes, then I thought, no, that’s not the imagery I want, it’s more like Russian nesting dolls, that’s it.

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Rebooting Sci-Fi's Transgressive Roots: Amphetamine Sulfate's "Human Rights" Collection

June 20th, 2022

Many will misconstrue that transgressive literature gives an author an excuse to use the mere rhetoric of taboo. As if they’re just passing off dirty notes in school, some settle for this desperate scavenger hunt of naughty language and hollow subject rather than exploring entirely alternate environments outside their classroom. Others might consider transgressive to be the antithesis of genre, yet if you follow its subterranean roots back to the sixties, one place its spirit materialized was in the Science Fiction New Wave movement; JG Ballard, Samuel R.

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Review: "Saint 1001" by Daphne Gottlieb

October 15th, 2021

Something happened to S in an alleyway, and it wasn’t anything good. S has a lot to say, about almost anything except what happened, as the voluminous correspondence with her former lover J that makes up the thrilling anti-novel Saint 1001 demonstrates. And speaking of demonstrations, Daphne Gottlieb, in her author biography, says that she “stitches together the ivory tower and the gutter,” which she absolutely does. The letters S writes about the many casual encounters she has are stitched together from endless, dizzying quotes.

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Reading Notes: "When Things Get Dark": Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson edited by Ellen Datlow

October 6th, 2021

The stories in this anthology drew inspiration from American writer, Shirley Jackson. These tales capture different facets of her literary style and the overarching themes commonly found threaded through her collective body of work.

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"Blind Man’s Bluff" by James Tate Hill: A Review (of sorts)

October 5th, 2021

I want this discussion about Blind Man's Bluff, the new memoir by James Tate Hill, to not be about me. 

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"Runaways: A Writer’s Dilemma" by Michael J. Seidlinger

September 29th, 2021

Attacked. Absolutely attacked is the only way I can summarize my feelings after reading the first few pages of Runaways. The first section ends with:  “Just 1000 words today, that’s all. A thousand words. Instead, they drafted a post. The rest, you could say, was procrastination.” 

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"Nine Nasty Words" by John McWhorter

July 1st, 2021

I’ve always had an appreciation for creative profanity, which is best exemplified by my ability to quote Malcolm Tucker chapter and verse. But swearing in English isn’t all about humor, shock value, and insults. What anglophones consider profane has evolved over the years such that foul mouths from 2021 and 1621, while technically both speaking English, wouldn’t understand one another’s insults and jokes. 

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"Burroughs And Scotland — Dethroning the Ancients: The Commitment of Exile" by Chris Kelso

June 9th, 2021

It’s not as niche as it sounds. Chris Kelso’s Burroughs and Scotland (Beatdom Books) is an exploration of Burroughs’s rarely mentioned but highly-formative era in Scotland, jam packed with broadly hinging historical significance — just when you thought every stone of Uncle Bill had been overturned since his death in 1997.

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"Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke" by Eric LaRocca

June 1st, 2021

I decided to write this review in the style of one of my personal favorite tools of the trade, NoveList Plus powered by EBSCO. NoveList Plus is a huge database of book recommendations serving as a resource and guide for library workers. Patrons of most local public libraries can access this database through each public library's website using a personal library card.

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"Twisted: Tainted Tales" by Janine Pipe

May 4th, 2021

Being tasked with what seems to be one of the most banal assignments, Jill finds herself rooting through an old property at the behest of her boss at the Jeffery, Yardly and Marshall legal firm. Though at first she took on the job with dismay, now her interest is peaked. After rifling through a locked desk drawer she discovers what appears to be tattered papers and an old mixtape. The papers are scrawled with the fictional drabbles of the previous resident, the same person who went missing without a trace.

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