Book Review: No Gods, No Monsters

   By L.A. Hunt Monsters hide in plain sight in Cadwell Turnbull’s second novel, No Gods, No Monsters. At the midpoint, when crowds take to the streets to advocate for the rights of the newly discovered monsters, Turnbull writes, “Even in a cause that is stacked against them, no one is alone.” Turnbull deftly examines what it means to live life hiding secrets and the implications in deciding to reveal them. Turnbull allows one of the characters to explain the title of the novel as being “an evolution of an anarchist slogan: ‘No gods, no masters,’ the original version meaning…

Voice to Books: Indigenous Experiences are Individual and Numerous

In this month’s Voice to Books, we’re highlighting Native American authors and their stories. The colonized view of native people often mashes together diverse communities and nations into a misrepresented and false narrative of who they are. By giving space to their individual experiences, better representation and understanding can take place. The works listed below are as varied as the cultures they represent. A crime novel, a collection of nonfiction short stories, a memoir, and a YA novel show a small selection of the wide range of stories by Indigenous authors. Fire Song  by Adam Garnet Jones Reviewed by Michael…

Voice to Books: Horror Screams Our Truth

When most people think of horror, they may think of Stephen King or the bloody slasher movies from the ’80s. While these movies and books have made a lasting impression on the genre, they are often dominated by a straight white male view—demonizing and objectifying not only marginalized communities but cis het white women as well. But horror has many authors and storylines to share with readers beyond the straight white male. From those stories, horror is used to reflect on and discuss sensitive social and cultural issues. These reviews highlight women—POC and white—and their personal horrors that are intensified…

Voice to Books: See It, Read It, Love It

Graphic novels intertwine words and illustrations to allow their authors to say what they need to without descriptions. Their audiences don’t need to imagine their worlds; they can see them. Art and words are used strategically to tell stories. Simplicity and silence, lavish details, and verbose prose, or vice versa, tell these histories. The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker Reviewed by Pallavi Yetur Graphic novels contain multitudes. Comic book writer Alan Moore, who penned the groundbreaking Watchmen series-turned-graphic novel from 1986 to 1987, has lamented the term “graphic novel” as a marketing ploy devised…

Book Review: We Two Alone by Jack Wang

by Yennie Cheung If the saying holds true that readers discover books at the right time in their lives, perhaps now is the right time to discover Jack Wang’s We Two Alone. Each short story in the collection focuses on Chinese migrants and their children, living around the globe—the United States, South Africa, and Canada (Wang’s home country). Spanning about a century, the seven stories chronicle just a fragment of global anti-Chinese racism and serve as a reminder that the anti-Chinese animosity currently plaguing the Western world is far from new. Through them, Wang shows us that members of the…

Book Review: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, the debut novel from Dawnie Walton

by Adam Zemel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, the debut novel from Dawnie Walton, sizzles with energy and attitude as it unspools a recognizably American story of self-invention and systemic injustice, unmet expectations and dramatic turns of fortune, the legacy of public trauma and the pressure of society, and the role of complicity in the persecution of the other. In the book, Sunny, a music journalist and the novel’s protagonist, sets out to report a definitive oral history of the moment that claimed her father’s life before she was born––which also happens to be one of the most famous…

Voice to Books: Sharing Personal Experience Through Poetry

Poetry speaks to our souls. From songs to spoken word, sonnets to free verse, there’s poetry for any mood or moment. Poetry is a form that can take on many shapes, tackle any subject, and help people express themselves. All of the collections in this column revolve around poets sharing deeply personal experiences. The poems found in these collections move within cities and dreams, time and space, language and culture to release a truth, an emotion, a thought in the hope that others will connect with them. Finna by Nate Marshall Reviewed by Pamela Pete Full of ethnic slang slung…

Book Review: In That Endlessness, Our End by Gemma Files

  By Brian Asman With her latest collection of horror fiction, In That Endlessness, Our End, Canadian writer Gemma Files delivers a panphobic meditation on what it means to be alone and, even worse, aware in an inscrutable universe. Less paranoid than honest, these fifteen tales faithfully depict an all-too-recognizable world in which literally nothing can be trusted. Threats come swiftly, silently, from the strangest of places—a house on a neighboring street, a viral video, a therapy session, even a transcript of an interview with a retired dentist, of all things. Files has a knack for finding something to fear…

Voice to Books: Memoirs on Overcoming Struggles and Trauma

In this episode of Voice to Books, our readers review memoirs written by people from a variety of backgrounds. Everyone has a story to tell, and firsthand accounts of struggles are powerful instruments of change and understanding. Reading underrepresented voices, especially in memoir, helps to cultivate compassion and awareness for cultures and experiences that are not our own. Consent: A Memoir by Vanessa Springora (translated from the French by Natasha Lehrer) Reviewed by A.E. Santana Writing can be transformative and healing. It can thread together themes in the lives of authors or make sense of a situation they’ve lived. For…

Book Review: ­­World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

By Jessica Bremmer When considering World of Wonders, poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s collection of essays about the wonders, great and small, of the natural world, perhaps it is best to begin at the end. The book’s final essay, “Firefly (Redux),” contemplates the Photinus pyralis: “Its luminescence could very well be the spark that reminds us to make a most necessary turn—a shift and a swing and a switch—toward cherishing this magnificent and wondrous planet. Boom. Boom. You might think of a heartbeat—your own. A child’s. Someone else’s. Or some thing’s heart. And in that slowdown, you might think it’s a kind…