Flings by Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor's Flings, a collection of short stories, started out on a high note for me. Each story is a brief glimpse into one moment in a relationship. Taylor brings you into his characters' thoughts and feelings, making it easy to connect with them. To be honest... That's how I felt during the first few stories. Then I started to feel more and more like I was reading variations on a theme, where the variations all sound just a little too similar. Eventually I found myself fighting to hold interest, working too hard to read instead of skim. Just when I was planning to set the book aside, "Carol, Alone," about an elderly woman adjusting to life after her husband's death,…

0 Comments

Snow and Shadow by Dorothy Tse

The stories in Snow and Shadow are so, so bizarre, but in that delicious way that leaves you excited to discover what the author has come up with next. Grounded in reality yet dreamlike, each is surprisingly accessible. I was never left feeling lost or puzzled, though I did find I needed to take a little breather here and there, rather than read the collection straight through. These stories show off Dorothy Tse's endless creativity and originality. "Woman Fish" is a Kafkaesque story about feeling trapped after a major transformation. In "Leaf and Knife," a couple competes with one another to prove their love in a senseless, ridiculous quest for the exciting, early stage of their relationship. "Traveling Family" is about relocation and finding…

0 Comments

Get Up Tim by Sally Weigel

It's no secret that so far, I've adored every one of the CCLaP titles I've read. The stories in Sally Weigel's Get Up Tim are an interesting mix of edgy and sweet, real and magical. They are fantastic character studies, as the synopsis suggests, but for some reason the collection as a whole wasn't quite as memorable for me. My favorite stories were "Growth Spurts" and "The Land of What If," thanks to how brilliantly Weigel handled the child perspectives. During Bout of Books 10 I mentioned that the magical realism in "Growth Spurts" reminded me of Aimee Bender's The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake... the trees, the wood, the furniture. Without giving anything away, I thought there is an interesting…

0 Comments

Armchair BEA: Novellas & Short Stories Recommendations

Design by Amber of Shelf NotesToday we're giving love to those little stories in our lives. These are my recommendations for short story collections and novellas by genre. I'm a huge fan of shorts, so I got a little carried away when working on this topic. (Also, I promise I don't work for CCLaP or anything! They just publish a lot of short works, and I've enjoyed everything I've read so far). I've divided my recommendations into three categories: coming of age literary fiction, sci-fi and speculative fiction, and quirky reads with elements of surrealism and magical realism.Adé: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker - American & Swahili Muslim fall in loveWomen Float by Maureen Foley - complex female relationshipsfour sparks…

0 Comments

Sympathetic People by Donna Baier Stein

. . .    These may be short stories, but each one is chock full of substance and detail. Donna Baier Stein has an understated, quiet way of capturing the reader's attention; no fuss, no showiness. Each story was engaging and satisfying ("News Feed" was probably my favorite), but I didn't exactly have any kind of "wow" response immediately upon finishing the collection. Instead, the stories stayed with me. I thought about those characters and their situations... and after they'd simmered in my mind for several days, all at once I felt the weight of how great this short story collection is. Sympathetic People is one I'd read again in the future, and I don't feel that way very often. Fantastic read.   Thanks…

0 Comments

Review: Our Love Could Light the World by Anne Leigh Parrish

The short stories in Our Love Could Light the World are so interconnected, the book reads almost like a novel with changing perspectives. This family is full of character and pluck; each member a unique, complex person. Especially the mother, Lavinia. Wow. As soon as I wanted to get all judgy, I'd change my mind. There were times I despised her, loved her, pitied her, and cheered for her. And Angie, the oldest of the five siblings. I so wanted to help her along her way. Some really poor (some downright stupid) choices are made, but I loved how this family plows ahead. Just like real life, these characters have complicated, sometimes messy, relationships, and the decisions they face can rarely…

0 Comments

Review: xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths edited by Kate Bernheimer

Title: xo Orpheus: Fifty New MythsEditor: Kate BernheimerPublisher: Penguin BooksReleased: September 24, 2013Source: publisher (NetGalley)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):Fifty leading writers retell myths from around the world in this dazzling follow-up to the bestselling My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.Icarus flies once more. Aztec jaguar gods again stalk the earth. An American soldier designs a new kind of Trojan horse—his cremains in a bullet. Here, in beguiling guise, are your favorite mythological figures alongside characters from Indian, Punjabi, Inuit, and other traditions. If “xo” signals a goodbye, then xo Orpheus is a goodbye to an old way of mythmaking. Featuring talkative goats, a cat lady, a bird woman, a beer-drinking ogre, a…

0 Comments

Review: Long Live Us by Mark R. Brand

Title: Long Live UsAuthor: Mark R. BrandPublisher: CCLaP PublishingReleased: September 9, 2013Source: CCLaP websiteCCLaP | Amazon | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):A family tensely waits out a meningitis scare in a quarantined home during the Great Recession. Small-town farmers in pre-war America battle a tree the size of a skyscraper. In a day-after-tomorrow dystopia, the new naughty contraband among rebellious teenagers is starchy carbohydrates. And in a barely recognizable far future, enlightened humanoids debate the implications of a mother who has smothered her child. These are just some of the speculative visions collected in the new "Long Live Us" by Chicago writer Mark R. Brand, author of the previous CCLaP hit "Life After Sleep." Known primarily as a science-fiction author, this new collection will certainly…

0 Comments

Review: Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino

Title: Safe as HousesAuthor: Marie-Helene BertinoPublisher: University of Iowa PressReleased: October 2012Source: publisher (NetGalley)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):Safe as Houses, the debut story collection of Marie-Helene Bertino, proves that not all homes are shelters. The titular story revolves around an aging English professor who, mourning the loss of his wife, robs other people's homes of their sentimental knick-knacks. In "Free Ham," a young dropout wins a ham after her house burns down and refuses to accept it. “Has my ham done anything wrong?” she asks when the grocery store manager demands that she claim it. In "Carry Me Home, Sisters of Saint Joseph," a failed commercial writer moves into the basement of a convent and inadvertently…

0 Comments

Lungs Full of Noise by Tessa Mellas

Title: Lungs Full of NoiseAuthor: Tessa MellasPublisher: University of Iowa PressExpected Release: October 1, 2013Source: publisher (NetGalley)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):This prize-winning debut of twelve stories explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls sets out to remedy the misdirection of their lives in bold and reckless ways. Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcee steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. Following the advice of a fashion magazine, teenaged girls binge on grapes to dye their skin purple and attract prom dates.…

0 Comments

End of content

No more pages to load