Book Review: Blacktop Wasteland

By Laurie Rockenbeck S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is a fast-paced story that throws us against the seat and makes us grab for the “oh-shit-bar” from start to finish. It would be easy to dismiss this as a summer read, a fun heist story with exciting chase scenes that compels the reader to keep turning those pages with one satisfying twist after another. That would be a mistake. While Blacktop Wasteland is all of that, it is also an indictment against classism and racism written with a subtlety that eschews preachiness. Instead, Cosby gives us poverty-stricken Virginia with its closed strip…

Book Review: Out of the Pantry

by Linda Romano In her memoir, Out of the Pantry[1], Ronni Robinson confronts how a childhood eating pleasure turned into a full out “compulsive eating disorder.”  As a latch-key child, Robinson found solace in biking home hurriedly from school to indulge in whatever variety of cookies her mother had tucked away in the kitchen drawer with a tall glass of cold milk. With an older brother at home, who mostly ignored her, she sat alone at the table, dipping cookie after cookie, “like a robot, losing all sense of what was going on around me … the shimmer of happiness seemed…

Book Review: Parakeet

by Ioannis Argiris The opening of Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino starts off as a wild dream state for Luna, a young bride-to-be. Her dead grandmother manifests as a parakeet in a hallucinogenic vision and urges Luna to reconcile with her brother before her wedding day. We meet Luna at a dilapidated hotel on Long Island, trying on her wedding dress, as her grandmother inquires about family and traditions. But when Luna brushes off her grandmother’s request that she make amends with her brother, her grandmother—the parakeet—defacates on the wedding dress, forcing Luna to plunge into an unusual journey. The novel…

Book Review: Two Menus

Rachel DeWoskin is a five-time novelist and memoirist. Two Menus is her debut poetry collection which, despite being billed as poetry, does not escape a certain delicious fictionness, like here: “The night Des tore her hair out, it was literal. / White sheets beneath her lit the hospital,”

Book Review: Rodham

Today in America 2020, it is four months until the next presidential election and nothing is certain except our ever-growing regret that we did not elect the most qualified person for the job when we had the chance.

Book Review: Notes on a Silencing

Lacy Crawford’s memoir Notes on a Silencing speaks to the ways gender, privilege, and power silenced Crawford twenty-five years ago. When Crawford was fifteen years old, she was lured to a boys’ dormitory one night, pulled from beneath the night shadows, and sexually assaulted.

Book Review: The Girl Beneath the Sea

“Imagine you are swimming in the ocean. Something brushes against your leg while you are treading water. It is most likely a piece of seaweed, but your heart stops because you know it’s a shark and suddenly the shore seems impossibly far away.”

Book Review: Stray

On the one hand, Stephanie Danler lives in the “Writer House” of our dreams: a small cottage hidden away in Laurel Canyon, with a yard for dinner parties and a mythic history that may or may not involve Fleetwood Mac.

Book Review: Don’t Read the Comments

Don’t Read the Comments is Eric Smith’s fifth young adult novel. Smith heavily integrates popular culture into his fiction, and this novel is no exception. The protagonist, Divya Sharma, is an eighteen-year old celebrity gamer known as “D1V” who supports herself and her mother through corporate sponsorships,