This Week’s Reviews

Red Ants
Pergentino José, trans. Thomas Bunstead | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781646050192 | November 2020

“These stories are teeming with life and crawling with movement. They are, like magical realism itself, the articulation of a lived experience that is inexplicable without the fantastic. . . . Reading Red Ants is a visceral experience, at once exhausting and exhilarating, captivating and confounding.”—Asymptote Journal

Fauna
Christiane Vadnais, trans. Pablo Strauss | Coach House Books | 9781552454169 | September 2020
“Vadnais injects a mythical, even scriptural quality to the stark realities of global warming. . . . It pleases me no end that there is space in this sub-genre for books as lyrical and strange as Fauna.”—Locus Magazine

Black & White & Weird All Over
 Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz | 1984 Publishing | 9781948221160 | November 2020
“Lovingly printed, often full-page scenes that are woozily kinetic, arrestingly intimate and cinematic in their framing. The book is, indeed, black and white all over, from the crisp, glossy images to the sharp, museum-gift-shop design. The not-so-surprising twist in the gorgeous coffee-table book is that there was more artistry there than we were lead to believe. The truth is, [Al’s] self-effacing persona conceals one of the late 20th and early 21st century’s greatest bodies of cultural critique – even if it’s in comedy-song form.”—The Denver Post

“An insider’s look at ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic history. While the book chronicles the behind-the-scenes moments of events like the video shoots for ‘Ricky,’ ‘I Love Rocky Road’ and ‘Eat It,’ as well as studio time during the making of the 1984 smash hit In 3-D, it also largely shows Yankovic in his natural element, from a different perspective.”—Vanyaland

Howl
Kat Patrick, illus. Evie Barrow | Scribe/Scribble | 9781950354450 | October 2020
“An impressively original and deftly written picture book . . . about a young girl’s way of expressing and resolving big feelings. A thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ picture book entertainment.”—Midwest Book Review

The Marble Bed
Grace Schulman | Turtle Point Press | 9781885983831 | October 2020
“Read this collection if you have grieved. . . . Read it if you want to be restored to the world around you. . . . Read it, then look up, breathe in, raise your hands, and let Grace Schulman assure you: I’ll be there, / gazing impiously—unless / that is what sacred is, the work, the looking up, / the wonder.”—East Hampton Star

The Worldwide Forager
Roger Phillips | Unbound | 9781783528820 | August 2020
“[A] wealth of information. . . .The Worldwide Forager is a beautiful compendium of information and photography that can educate readers on edible plants and their identification in the wild.”—Tiny Activist

Dark Days, Bright Nights: Surviving the Las Vegas Storm Drains
Matthew O’Brien | Central Recovery Press | 9781949481426 | November 2020
“Have you ever read a book that changed your opinion totally? I just finished such a new book, Dark Days, Bright Nights: Surviving the Las Vegas Storm Drains by Matthew O’Brien.”

No Option but North
Kelsey Freeman | Ig Publishing | 9781632460974 | April 2020

No Option but North contextualizes the Mexican and Latina/o migration process and the problems that occur in attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. This volume is sure to encourage major contributions for future research and scholarship on this critical subject matter. Every library should obtain a copy for their collections on Mexican and Latina/o migration studies.”—Choice

How Not to Be Old
Jill Orr | Prospect Park Books | 9781945551932 November 2020
“The book brims with wisdom, heart and self-deprecating humor. Friend to every generation, Orr writes with an easy, knowing style — you can practically sense her smile radiating through the page… With this sort of sensitivity — and sense of humor — Jill Orr won’t ever grow ‘OLD.’ Not really. As we laugh along with her, it’s up to the rest of us to follow in her footsteps.”—Columbia Daily Tribune

Ramifications
Daniel Saldaña París, trans. Christina MacSweeney | Coffee House Press | 9781566895965 | October 2020
“[A] novel of time and memory and how a person copes with fear. It’s a sensitive and thoughtful look at how grief and loss send ripple effects far into the future.”—Book Riot

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This Week’s News

A poem from Emporium (Nightboat Books) by Aditi Machado rain in The Brooklyn Rail’s November issue.

The Circle and the Line: The Jewellery of Betty Cooke (Giles) was featured in The Magazine Antiques on November 2.

Writer’s Almanac featured a poem by Richard Terrill from his new collection What Falls Away Is Always(Holy Cow! Press)on November 13.

Alan Hirsch, author of Impeaching the President (City Lights Publishers), wrote an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News Alan Hirsch discusses why it’s time to do away with the Electoral College onKDKA, Pittsburgh.

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This Week’s News

The Rumpus recommended Every Day We Get More Illegal by Juan Felipe Herrera (City Lights Publishers) and The Park by John Freeman (Copper Canyon Press) on October 30.

Paper Brigade, the print magazine from the Jewish Book Council, featured Jacques and Jacqueline Groag, Architect and Designer by Ursula Prokop, trans. Jonee Tiedemann and Laura McGuire.

Francis M. Naumann’s Mentors (DoppelHouse Press) was written about in an article for Rare on November 2.

Lambda Literary’s most anticipated books of November included Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi (Arsenal Pulp Press), We Will Not Cancel Us: And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice by adrienne maree brown (AK Press), Particulate Matter by Felicia Luna Lemus (Akashic Books), The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly by Sybil Lamb, (Arsenal Pulp Press), Entering Sappho by Sarah Dowling (Coach House Books), Inheritance by Taylor Johnson (Alice James Books), Platinum Blonde by Phoebe Stuckes (Bloodaxe Books), and We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics by Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel (Nightboat Books). We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics was also included in Ms. Magazine on November 11.

Spirituality & Health Magazine featured an article by Sarah Bowen, author of Spiritual Rebel (Monkfish Book Publishing) on November 11.

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This Week’s Reviews

Cockfight
Maria Fernanda Ampuero, trans. Frances Riddle | The Feminist Press at CUNY | 9781936932825 | May 2020
“Deftly written with spare, exacting prose, Cockfight is a masterful collection.”—Latino Book Review

Sex Death Enlightenment
Mark Matousek | Monkfish Book Publishing | 9781948626255 | September 2020
“This page-turning account of Matousek’s hard and often terrifying childhood…. and the path of his spiritual journey make for an engaging and enlightening reading experience. In the pages of this candid and courageous account of one man’s expansive search for spiritual meaning are profound messages of inspiration and hope. Something we could all use today.”—Chronogram

A Kabbalah of Food: Stories, Teachings and Recipes
Rabbi Hanoch Hecht | Monkfish Book Publishing | 9781948626316 | November 2020
“Truly a book about nourishing the soul.”—Chronogram

Pass with Care
Cooper Bombardier | Dottir Press | 9781948340212 | June 2020
“A necessary and important glimpse into a living trans history as Bombardier explores how much the world has changed and made room for trans people, while also introducing us to how Bombardier came to be the man he is today. For those who would like a peek into a more complicated and nuanced narrative of being queer and trans, read with the same care that Bombardier has lovingly written into every sentence.”

The Piano Student
Lea Singer, trans. Elisabeth Lauffer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931863 | October 2020
“The illicit love affair of world-famous piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz and the less successful pianist Nico Kaufmann is recreated vividly in Lea Singer’s The Piano Student … Singer has written a compelling story, interweaving history, music, and psychological intrigues that accompany purposely hidden romantic involvements.”—The Gay and Lesbian Review
“Beauty and the loftiest ideals collide with the hypocrisy, shame, self-hatred, cruelty, betrayal, fear, reckless lust, and, perhaps worst of all, the thwarted love inherent in an affair walled in by the mortal dangers of social and familial ostracism. . . . Throughout its telling, Singer maintains an elegance and depth that will leave the reader pondering the nature of personal courage and how—or whether—life and maturity can ever bring into harmony art, ambition, and love.”—Historical Novels Review
“The nov­el draws out many themes that res­onate in today’s world on the nature of sex­u­al iden­ti­ty and art, espe­cial­ly the rela­tion­ship between pas­sion and art and suf­fer­ing and cre­ativ­i­ty. . . . Presents its themes with sen­si­tiv­i­ty and restraint … The Piano Stu­dent illu­mi­nates the sac­ri­fices artists make for their art.”—The Jewish Book Council

Yi Sang: Selected Works
edit. Don Mee Choi, trans Jack Jung, Sawako Nakayasu, Don Mee Choi and Joyelle McSweeney | Wave Books | 9781950268085 | September 2020
“Herein lies the greatest virtue of Selected Works. It demonstrates how the legacy of a poet is always in the process of becoming, as their works are woven into new historical and socio-linguistic sites.”—Asymptote Journal

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This Week’s News

Growing Up Travelling by Jamie Johnson (Kehrer Verlag) was included in the IPA’s Annual Best of Show Exhibition.

Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello and Limber by Angela Pelster (Sarabande Books) are Inside Hook’s best nature books of the 2000s.

Spirituality & Health Magazine featured an article by Sarah Bowen, author of Spiritual Rebel (Monkfish Book Publishing).

Crown Heights featured Rabbi Hanoch Hecht, author of A Kabbalah of Food: Stories, Teachings and Recipes (Monkfish Book Publishing).

How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change by Harriet Shugarman (New Society Publishers) was interviewed on the America Trends podcast.

Arielle Twist, author of the poetry collection Disintegrate/Dissociate (Arsenal Pulp Press), has won the $10,000 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers from the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Jericho Brown’s The Tradition(Copper Canyon Press) has been selected as one of the 2020 PEN Oakland Recipients for the Josephine Miles Award. 

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