Scorpion Soup

I feel a little irked by the lack of real delineation: each story has its own title, flush right in big letters, but that’s not really the beginning of a story. The real beginning is the beginning of the first story in the book. It’s a bit misleading, but there is something in it that delights me, too. It may be stringing me along in spite of myself, but if I have a goofy grin on my face the whole time, why should I complain? I’m being whisked off to places I’ve never seen before. It feels ungrateful to complain about not knowing where the magic carpet is going when I should focus on the fact that I’m flying on a magic carpet.

December Book Giveaway

December 2013 Book Giveaway: Stay Close, Little Ghost by Oliver Serang. Enter to win. The winner will be notified by the end of the month.

My Seductive Cuba

A few pages into the book, there’s a photo of a dangerously handsome man. His name is Giordano and he’s one of Lizra’s dance teachers. In Cuba, she tells us, there are no boundaries between people. She illustrates this social construct through a story about how she and Giordano tease each other in class. I picture them in a dance studio. It’s a room with high ceilings…

Dark Chatter

I enjoy the character of Quicklime Petterson so much because I don’t understand him at all as a person. In fact, I’m feeling confident enough to say that I probably understand him less than any fictional character I’ve read about in the last few years.

The Tale of Telsharu

I flip to the back cover of the book to read the author descriptions, and I discover that both Mechling and Stubbs have been studying martial arts for years. They would have experienced what it means to be changed by that kind of discipline, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. The Tale of Telsharu is a book that could not be written by anyone else, and I think that’s a mark of a good writer (or writer team, in this case). They’ve found their unique voice.

Stay Close, Little Ghost

In the last few breaths of his book, Serang’s voice arrests me. Until now, I’ve been aware of his adeptness at playing with the artifice of fantasy and fairy tale. He employs the imagery that these storytelling forms invite him to use but it’s when he allows this structure to fall away that his voice transforms…

Dr Franklin’s Staticy Cat and Other Unbelievable Tales

So it turns out that ‘Dr Franklin’ is a reference after all—but to a different doctor than the one I had in mind. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so let’s just say that the title story is a brief but delightful re-imagining of a tale that most children on Rolli’s side of the Atlantic will likely be familiar with; a re-imagining that combines lessons in both science and history with the author’s ever-inventive, almost absurd, take on life.

November Book Giveaway

November 2013 Book Giveaway: Momo by Michael Ende. Enter to win. The winner will be notified by the end of the month.

October Book Giveaway

October 2013 Book Giveaway: Mythology of Touch by Mary Stone Dockery. Enter to win. The winners will be notified by the end of the month.

Goodbye, Jimmy Choo

“…it’s difficult for me to legitimize the choice I made to put my own career aspirations on hold so that my husband could attain his. I have the nagging insecurity that comes with never having been completely independent, never having lived entirely by my own wits. I was raised to associate financial independence with adulthood. By taking on a domestic role, I fear I have doomed myself to perpetual adolescence.”

Mythology of Touch

Maybe I’m just saying that I like Dockery’s poetry because it’s not entirely a mystery to me. I legitimately feel that by expressing herself, she has taught me a little more about my own self. Her prose poems, especially, remind me of Robert Frost in their conversational tone, a strange mingling of speech and stream of consciousness, with just a pinch of song.

Monkey Mind

There’s a lot of depressing material he sort of glosses over, and the more I think about it, the more impressed I am by his ability to recover from the more disconcerting details of his clearly troubled life and present them to us so brazenly. The opening, in which he first describes losing his virginity…

September Book Giveaway

September 2013 Book Giveaway: Tribesman by Paul Freeman. Enter to win. The winners will be notified by the end of the month.


One area in which King shines is in his ability to write compelling characters. In the opening scenes of the novel, King introduces a carney who works at Joyland, and within about four paragraphs, I have a well-rounded impression of who this character is and why I already find him charming. One descriptive…