TCR Daily

Book Review: Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning by Liz Prato

Reviewed by L.A. Hunt In Liz Prato’s latest collection of essays, Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning, she examines Gen-Xers through first-hand boots-on-the-ground accounts. The thing is, as any Gen-Xer will argue, there’s no real club membership card or forgotten generation subscription, and they prefer it that way. They proudly defy categorization, which makes it difficult to sort an entire generation into generic categories. Despite this, Prato’s narrative fearlessly mines early eighties pop culture for the roots of present-day misogyny and bigotry, and the collection strives for tangible cohesion and concise analysis. Prato, a Gen-Xer herself, tersely describes the…

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TCR Talks with Pete Hsu, Author of If I Were the Ocean, I’d Carry You Home

Interviewed by Luree Scott In Pete Hsu’s short story collection If I Were the Ocean, I’d Carry You Home, the struggles and sorrows of childhood are brought to light with a fully compassionate view. Family, friends, and strangers change the trajectory of one another’s lives in small ways that are rarely noticed, but Hsu has a way of enlarging moments of intense emotional conflict to show how sometimes it really is the little things that develop so largely in our hearts. While the first six stories are more focused on the perspective of children and how their emotions develop as…

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Book Review: Hysterical by Elissa Bassist

by Melinda Gordon Blum Elissa Bassist’s memoir opens like a medical mystery and segues into a searing indictment of the personal costs—to the soul, body, mind, and spirit—of the malady that is living as a woman within a patriarchy. It turns out there is no real mystery and Bassist is no patient zero; this is an ancient story, an inside-the-house case in which the clues have surrounded us all along. By starting from the vantage point of her own strangled voice and moving outwards, Bassist powerfully locates, contextualizes, and makes personal the impact of misogyny on the female body. The…

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The Sweetest Things

by Dinamarie Isola   She left a box of half-eaten chocolates sitting on his dresser. Waxy and whitened along the edges, they looked inedible, if not fake. He didn’t bother to confirm what he knew to be true: the expiration date had long come and gone. Pitching them into the trash, the mounds of chocolate dinged against the metal rim, scattering over the floor. Even when she wasn’t around, somehow she made work for him. I don’t need you to take care of me. Lorelei liked to say that, but getting to her doctor appointments required crossing a six-lane highway.…

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TCR Talks with Shifting Earth’s Cecil Castellucci

Interviewed by Michael Medina Cecil Castellucci does it all. In addition to writing for DC Comics (Batgirl; Shade, the Changing Girl; Female Furies), she pens music, opera librettos, novels, and everything in between. With her new graphic novel, Shifting Earth (illustrated by Flavia Biondi and colored by Fabiana Mascolo), the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author brings a “hope punk” take on climate change. In the book, a dangerous particle storm (based on true global events) brings Maeve, a botanist, and Zuzi, an astronomer, on parallel journeys to save their respective universes from impending climate doom. Through Castellucci’s careful…

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Three Poems by Bob Meszaros

Scattering the Ashes Late, late at night, he searches for her birth certificate, for their marriage license, for snapshots of the two of them, together. Morning begins with daylight splayed across the surface of the frozen pond behind their house. It is late February 2022 and still this winter threatens. Oak leaves, brown and sere, hang from limbs like cast-off face masks; spiny pathogens, disguised as burrs, lie in wait to catch and cling. Outside, he knows her garden is mid-winter hard: he hears the pond ice crack and buckle in the cold. But in early April, when the pond…

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TCR Interviews Erika Krouse

By Kaia Gallagher   An award-winning novelist and short story writer, Erika Krouse published her first book of nonfiction, Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation, in March of 2022. Described by The Washington Post as masterful and mesmerizing, Tell Me Everything recounts Krouse’s role as a private investigator who gathered evidence during a five-year investigation into a culture of sexual assault within a university football program. Krouse’s efforts to interview witnesses who were victims of sexual violence and gang rape were complicated by her own history of childhood sexual abuse. As a result of the compelling testimony…

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The Writer

By Peter Aronson I am a writer. Yes, I am. By day, I write for the municipality. I write forms for every conceivable aspect of life. My favorite last month: Municipal Sidewalk Chewing Gum Eradication Program, Citizen’s Report: Number of pieces removed per square foot: __________ Type of gum removed, if known: mint _____; fruit _____; bubble_____; other _____ By night, however, my writing is mostly form-free and my life, my writing life, is much different. I shed any semblance of a logical, coherent thought process and become a real writer. I sit at my well-lit desk, in my tidy…

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TCR Talks with Patrick O’Neil

By Rob Bowman Patrick O’Neil spent the golden age of American punk rock touring as a roadie and road manager with now-legendary bands Dead Kennedys, Flipper, T.S.O.L., Subhumans, and others. That time—the misadventures on the road, the grime and needs of addiction, and the violence of the punk stage—fills the pages of O’Neil’s new memoir, Anarchy at the Circle K: On the Road with Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Flipper, Subhumans and . . . Heroin. This book not only is a jarring and rousing work but also a companion to his previous memoir, Gun, Needle, Spoon, which details the depths of…

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The Mirror

By Joanna Laufer Ten days after my mother’s surgery, she asked me to look at her body without a breast. As the doctor removed the gauze dressing and Steri-Strips, the nurse held up a hand mirror by the stem. I was twenty-three. I stood beside her, leaning against blue crinkled paper on the exam table, squinting at the mirror like it was harsh light. The stitches were red, raised, and ran diagonally across her wound. The remaining breast, partly covered by the open cotton gown, was so large next to what was missing. What my mother said she remembered—and said for…

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Voice to Books: Celebrity Authors

Celebrities often take an omnipotent position in modern society, acting as paragons, villains, and jesters of our time. Their opinions are met with adoration or disdain, satire, and protest. They influence style, commerce, and politics, and we, the readers, guide their rises and their falls. They walk the fine lines of artists, athletes, influencers, and journalists who must balance both media and fan judgment and constant watchful eyes. It is easy to see these people as something more than the rest of us, forget that they are human. This month’s Voice to Books showcases these celebrities that embody disproportionally underrepresented…

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Book Review: Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust, by Jerry Stahl

by Melinda Gordon Blum The memoir Nein, Nein, Nein! has us at its subtitle. The “one man” is none other than Jerry Stahl, whose acerbic humor and kinetic prose transported his book Permanent Midnight into a fever dream classic, a standout in the crowded “junky memoir” genre. Who better to pen a modern-day reckoning with the legacy of the Holocaust than an American Jew who’s no stranger to confronting demons—a man who himself has cheated death countless times?   Nein, Nein, Nein! opens in 2016 with a decades-sober, late-midlife Stahl as he prepares to depart on a two-week European trip…

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