The Things They Carried: More than War Fiction


If you haven’t read at least the title story of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, something’s not right. This incredible book of stories resurrects cultural emotions I’ve never fully understood. It’s about Vietnam and soldiers, life, and all that. But [...]

Rock Springs: Gritty Realities by Richard Ford


I’d put Richard Ford’s Rock Springs in a need-to-read list for every serious writer of literary fiction.  The stories in this collection are visceral, hard-boiled, and wash over the reader like they happened in a memory. I’d put them in the same field as Carver and Denis Johnson, [...]

Seveneves: Neal Stephenson Goes Big


I’ve never read Neal Stephenson before, at least that I can remember (if he has short stories, then yeah, I probably have). But after reading his newest book, Seveneves (no — it’s not pronounced “seven-eva-venaves”), I think I need to read more of him. I was working [...]

Ready Player One: Cline Pulls It Off


Ernest Cline’s breakthrough novel Ready Player One is an intriguing success. The premise is simple: In a gritty, poverty-stricken future, most of the world retreats into a completely immersive video game where things aren’t so bleak. Upon his death, the creator of the game promises his [...]

Easter Weekend: Southern Gothic Meets Lyricism


I read Easter Weekend by David Bottoms about a month ago–to be exact, a few days before Easter. I’d never heard of the novel or David Bottoms before; all Wikipedia told me was that A) He is primarily a poet, B) He is highly recognized by his poetry, and C) He is quite southern. [...]

Amazon Publishing: Fiction Flounders in the Slipstream?


It’s a bombastic clusterfuck out there when it comes to untraditional publishing. Let’s say indie author Edward Bookman wants to finally publish his first fiction novel, A Novel in Fiction. He can do several things, like… Self-publish it on Amazon Kindle Put it on Kindle Scout [...]

My Sunshine Away: Or, the Little Sinners in All of Us


I encountered My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh by recommendation. Bottom line: I was impressed. Set in Baton Rouge, this book is a reflection on our protagonist’s life and, more importantly, his involvement in the rape of Lindy Simpson, the all-American high school girl and neighbor. The [...]

The Power of the First Sentence


I came across an amazingly entertaining and informative article on Gawker Review of Books today about the best first sentences in fiction. This got me thinking, What makes first sentences so damn useful? The answers–or at least some of them–are obvious… First sentences reel us [...]

Winter Roundup | To Read & Review


I’ve spent a good deal of time reading these past few months. Often, it’s the only thing too do when it’s super snowy (as some of you may understand). Now that I’ve got a good stack of recently read and to-be-read books going, I decided to write up little reviews/blurbs [...]

The Evolution of Ideas


It is a simple thing, visions of what may happen if only I had the will, courage and creativity to form the thing with words. It boils down to time, it seems, and the ability to glue oneself to a chair and dexterously reach for the same keys we press every day. It grows in the most peculiar [...]

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