Book Review: Big Bad Wolf

By Sara Marchant In Suleikha Snyder’s Big Bad Wolf, the world is full of strangers and strangeness, but it is recognizably our world. “Different,” she tells us, “unequal, but same.” The novel is set in the Divided States of America after the Darkest Day of 2016, where Sanctuary Cities are more than lip service and operate to protect the rights of the LGBTQ, women, and Black and Brown brethren as well as supernatural citizens, and the only unbelievable aspect of the story is a hero who prefers giving head to receiving it. Joe, an anti-heroic (literal) alpha male, is awaiting…

Book Review: Atomizer

by Sara Grimes Elizabeth A. I. Powell doesn’t pull any punches when satirizing her lovers in Atomizer. The collection is a sassy, whip-smart treatise on the deceitful nature of love, using the extended metaphor of scent as a cover-up. Powell brings each love under the microscope of her fierce poetry to see if it is in fact a gem or a lump of coal. Oftentimes it is the latter. She extends the same analysis to all love relationships—romantic, imagined, or familial. In “The Book of Sires”: “My homage: He was an atelier of garbage. How his microaggressions of Paco Rabanne…

Book Review: Like Love

When my children were young, we went around the dinner table and shared serendipities—something surprising and joyful that had happened to each of us during the day. My children are grown now, and I live alone, and we are in the midst of the worst phase of a global pandemic.

Book Review: Kissing a Tree Surgeon

Eleanor Levine’s collection of short stories Kissing a Tree Surgeon takes readers on a hilariously offbeat journey amidst an equally offbeat cast of characters.

Book Review: Suppose a Sentence

It’s an experience that will be familiar to avid readers everywhere: you’re making smooth progress through a book, until suddenly a passage or sentence stops you in your tracks.

Book Review: Grand

by Collin Mitchell In her memoir Grand, writer and comedian Sara Schaefer reflects on her childhood and career by way of a river trip through the Grand Canyon that she took in celebration of her fortieth birthday. “The Canyon will take you apart and put you back together again,” she writes, reflecting on the promise a “bucket-listy” adventure like white water rafting makes to its often anxious enlistees. Schaefer readily admits she is one of them. “Maybe down there I could find answers. I wasn’t even sure of the questions, but in that moment I wanted to believe.” In Grand,…

Book Review: Too Much and Never Enough

by Rachel Zarrow According to psychologist and author Mary L. Trump, child abuse is “the experience of ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’.” In her recent memoir of a similar name, Too Much and Never Enough, Mary Trump, the president’s niece, describes the multi-generational cycle of emotional abuse in the Trump family that contributed to the development of Donald Trump’s persona. In the prologue, she writes, “I have no problem calling Donald a narcissist—he meets all of the nine criteria as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)—but the label only gets us so far.” She speculates…

Book Review: The Blue Ticket

by Ioannis Argiris Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh is set in an alternate reality where teenage girls are sent to a lottery building to receive a white or a blue ticket. If the ticket is white, the girl is destined to marry and have babies. If the ticket is blue, the girl has an IUD installed, and she is not allowed to have babies. Instead, blue ticket women are free to live their lives, becoming independent. We lined up, waiting to pull our tickets from the machine, the way you would take your number at the butcher’s counter. The music…

Book Review: Daughters of Smoke and Fire

by L.A. Hunt Author and activist Ava Homa sets out in her powerful debut novel Daughters of Smoke and Fire to describe for the reader what statelessness feels like. She does so with visceral prose and a narrative that never flinches from the harsh reality of living in a country that does not recognize one’s ethnicity, and in fact punishes an ethnic minority for their native regional roots. Homa writes in her Afterword, Kurds are often the majority among political prisoners and suffer the most vicious torture. Kurdish regions have been intentionally kept underdeveloped, resulting in entrenched poverty and all…