Sunday, May 21, 2017

Review: Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories by Mariana EnrĂ­quez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book of short stories feels very real, about poverty and children navigating the dangerous urban environments of Argentina, and then suddenly there are things that are unexplained. Sometimes they seem to be due to violence of humans, and other times they appear supernatural. The true horror is that you are never completely certain, and people disappear, or lives are lost. Either way there is no method of control in the environment.

Some of my favorites:

"The Dirty Kid"
A woman notices a homeless boy and then thinks he is killed, and then it gets weird.

"The Inn"
I liked this, the details, the friendship, the chorizo, the relationship alluded to but not detailed (the father and the innkeeper) and the larger "horror" setting.

"Adela's House"
So terrifying to not have an answer, to wonder at what is being implied, is it fantastical or violence related? Phew.

I feel very grateful to have my "Newest Literary Fiction" group to urge me on to reading books like this, and this was a buddy read for May 2017.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Library Books Mid-May 2017

The Performance of Becoming Human by Daniel Borzutzky

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: Vertigo

Vertigo Vertigo by Joanna Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not unsettled or unnerved by these stories, so it is tempting to rate them lower because they did not fulfill what was promised in the blurb and title. But what I really liked is how adeptly Walsh captures the ways people really are when they interact.

A few examples:

"He is not keen to relax. He is keen to get on. He is already late for his next stage of relaxation, for the beach, where we have an appointment to meet with some friends of his at a strict hour. He is worrying that we will be late, that they will be anxious, that they, that he, will not be able to relax. He takes out his phone to check the time. We must be on time for the deckchair, the towel."
-from Vagues, or as I refer to it, the Oyster Restaurant story

"Some women take power in a country by souveniring." - from Vertigo

"At the end of the jetty, on my side of the estuary, a band is playing. Only children are dancing. The adults stare at the band as though music is something they had forgotten. It must be dispiriting to perform like this, afternoon after afternoon. One man nods the tune to his partner. She fails to pick it up. There are stalls selling snacks, and other things, but no urgency in the queue for anything. Everyone has enough money, more than enough money for food, and no one is hungry."
-from Drowning

So basically I felt the stories showed great insight but there is something that makes them fade quickly from my mind.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Reading Envy 086: The Queen of Bailing

How often do you set a book aside before finishing? Shawn DNF Mooney knows a little something about bailing on books, and so we tackle that issue before chatting about recent reads and more.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 086: The Queen of Bailing.
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The first Reading Envy Readalong is coming in May next started this week!

Books featured:

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker
Island Home: A Landscape Memoir by Tim Winton*
The Bookshop that Floated Away by Sarah Henshaw
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Other mentions:

Moonglow by Michael Chabon
Version Control by Dexter Palmer
Book Lust by Nancy Pearl
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
By the Book Column in NYRB - Ali Smith
Breath by Tim Winton
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Sharon Butala
The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich
Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale on HULU (not a paid advertisement)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke
Hard Light by Elizabeth Hand
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Related episodes:

Episode 077 - No One Messes With a Wolf with Shawn Mooney
Episode 085 - An Acquired Taste with Thomas Otto 
Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Shawn at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Shawn on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy  
Shawn is @shawnmooney on Litsy

And for something super-meta, here is Shawn's Goodreads shelf labeled Reading Envy Podcast Recommends

*Jenny discovered this book comes out a week AFTER the posting date for this episode. My apologies; I really thought I had it right!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Books 84-130 of 2017

Books pictured are this month's 5-star reads! Links below.

Books read: 46 (many of these are short poetry collections)

Audiobooks: 2
eBooks: 25
Print: 19

Review copies: 17

84. Though flowers fall I have never forgotten you by Jeong Ho-seung *** (eARC through Edelweiss; my review)
85. The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum **** (interlibrary loan; my review)
86. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
87. A Hotel Library at the End of the World: Poems by Adam Clay **** (library eBook; my review)
88. Moonglow by Michael Chabon *** (library book; my review)
89. A Place Called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom ***** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
90. Erotikon: Poems by Susan Mitchell * (personal copy. my review)
91. The Idiot by Elif Batuman **** (audiobook review copy; my review)
92. 25 Love Poems for the NSA by Iain S. Thomas *** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
93. Cold Pastoral: Poems by Rebecca Dunham **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
94. Sorry for Your Troubles by Padraig O' Tuoma ***** (personal copy; my review)
95. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner **** (personal copy; my review)
96. Brand  New Ancients by Kate Tempest **** (interlibrary loan; my review)
97. Even This Page is White by Vivek Shraya ***** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
98. Unreconciled: Poems 1991-2013 by Michel Houellebecq ** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
99. Whereas: Poems by Layli Long Soldier **** (personal copy; my review)
100. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer **** (library book; my review)
101. Square Inch Hours: Poems by Sherod Santos **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
102. Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems **** (personal copy; my review)
103. Terra Incognita by Adebe De Rango-Adem ***** (personal copy; my review)
104. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel **** (audiobook review copy; my review)
105. Everything Reminds You of Something Else by Elana Wolff ** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
106. No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa **** (personal copy; my review)
107. Untamed: An Atlas of Wild Places by Chris Fitch **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
108. Send by Domenico Capilongo *** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
109. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond ***** (personal copy; my review)
110. A Private Mythology: Poems by May Sarton **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
111. Late in the Day: Poems 2010-2014 by Ursula K. Le Guin **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
112. Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti *** (library book; my review)
113. Readings from the Book of Exile by Padraig O' Tuoma ***** (personal copy; my review)
114. Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg *** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
115. Rowing Inland by Jim Daniels ***** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
113. We Shall Not All Sleep by Estep Nagy *** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
114. The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich ***** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
115. Midwinter by Fiona Melrose **** (interlibrary loan; my review)
116. Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest **** (interlibrary loan; my review)
117. Satan Says by Sharon Olds ***** (library book; my review)
118. One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment by Mei Fong **** (library book; my review)
119. First Love by Gwendoline Riley *** (personal copy; my review)
120. The Waking Comes Late by Steven Heighton **** (personal copy; my review)
121. The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain ***** (interlibrary loan; my review)
122. Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh *** (personal eBook; my review)
123. The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness and Joy edited by John Brehm **** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
124. Tender Buttons: Objects by Gertrude Stein ** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
125. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay ***** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
126. The Leavers by Lisa Ko ***** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
127. Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins **** (personal copy; my review)
128. Gondwana by Nathaniel Tarn *** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
129. Live or Die: Poems by Anne Sexton **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
130. In Praise of Defeat: Poems by Abdellatif Laabi ***** (personal copy; my review)