This Week’s Reviews

Villa of Delirium
Adrian Goetz, trans. Natasha Lehrer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931801 | August 2020

“What makes a perfect end-of-summer book? You need something short and bittersweet, set in a good location and usually featuring lots of booze … This year my book was Villa of Delirium by the French writer Adrien Goetz. It is the slow moving, translated historical fiction that offered everything I could ask for: set along the French Riviera during the early 20th century, the narrator finds himself unofficially adopted by the Reinachs, a wealthy Jewish family obsessed with ancient Greece who build the glorious Villa Kérylos near Nice. The family was real and the house still stands.”Inside Hook

Index of Haunted Houses
Adam O. Davis | Sarabande Books | 9781946448668 | September 2020
“New Bad News can’t be pared down into simple bits. It contains humor and pathos and wit and word games and characters you root for and some you root against. It sits at its own table. Sips on its juice and gnaws on its Snickers while the rest of us try to figure out what makes it so damn cool.”—Adroit Journal

Hands and Heart Together
Patricia Hoolihan | Holy Cow! Press | 9781513645643 | November 2020
“In time for national Caregivers Month in November, this 400-page book is timely and important for the growing number of people who are caring for aged parents or the chronically ill.”Pioneer Press

Planet Wax
Aaron Lupton & Jeff Szpirglas | 1984 Publishing | 9781948221146 | October 2020
“Some readers may recall how high Decibel was on Aaron Lupton and Jeff Szpirglas’ jaw-droppingly gorgeous, revelatory metal-heavy tome on soundtracks from the dark side of cinema, Blood on Black Wax. Well, the dynamic duo have now followed up that triumph with the equally brilliantine Planet Wax: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Soundtracks on Vinyl from the insanely amazing 1984 Publishing.”Decibel

“Finding solace in sound and celluloid is significantly important these days, and Planet Wax is a portal that will transport audiences to a better time, place, and feeling, all within its crisp, brightly colored pages. An epic trip down memory lane.”Slash Film

Planet Wax entombs undervalued masterpieces in one gigantic, thrilling read. Essentially, it’s like reading a massive collection of liner notes, which was always part of the fun when purchasing a new soundtrack.”Coming Soon

The Readers’ Room
Antoine Laurain, trans. Emily Boyce, Jane Aitken, and Polly Mackintosh | Gallic Books | 9781910477977 | September 2020
“The Reader’s Room is a genuine masterpiece of literary mystery.”Mystery Scene Magazine

Darkest Hearts
Nelson George | Akashic Books | 9781617758096 | August 2020
“George’s passion for, and encyclopedic knowledge of, hip-hop suffuses every word of this smart, stylish novel. Although the author deftly deals with issues of predatory capitalism, government corruption, and the senseless murder of black men by America’s cops, it’s his handling of the tale’s sex trafficking and #MeToo subplots that deserves special acclaim.”Mystery Scene Magazine

Sansei and Sensibility
Karen Tei Yamashita | Coffee House Press | 9781566895781 | May 2020
“Ironic, wry, playful, with bright, shimmering surfaces and undercurrents strong and political . . . Historical affliction is on every page of Sansei and Sensibility. But her moves are never rigid or simple, and the dance is one you want to join.”The Rumpus  

A Grave is a Given Supper
Mike Soto | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781646050109 | July 2020
“Combines neoclassicism’s equal temperament, the incisive excesses of the metaphysical poets, and Jamie Sabines-like political sensibilities.”Entropy Mag

Wolf
Douglas A. Martin | Nightboat Books | 9781643620220 | June 2020
 
Wolf utterly blew me away. It’s a novel told in poetic, yet conversational vignettes, that focuses on gender, masculinity, boyhood, and home.”—Luna Luna Magazine

We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics
Edit. Andrea Abi-Karam & Kay Gabriel | Nightboat Books | 9781643620336 | October 2020
“This is an incredible and necessary collection of work that celebrates queerness and queer identity.” —Luna Luna Magazine

You Can Keep That to Yourself : A Comprehensive List of What Not to Say to Black People, for Well-Intentioned People of Pallor
Adam Smyer | Akashic Books | 9781617758966 | September 2020
“Using humor, Smyer relays harsh truths about U.S. race relations . . . With a tongue-in-cheek tone, Smyer offers an accessible critique of Whiteness in America . . . Smyer models for us how to use humor and candor to fight back against the microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations suffered by marginalized and racialized communities of color.”Colors of Influence

Jean-Luc Persecuted
C.F. Ramuz, trans. Olivia Baes | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781646050161 | August 2020
“In simple, straightforward prose, Jean-Luc Persecuted tells a story as relevant today as it was over one hundred years ago . . . Ramuz genuinely portrays a heart-wrenching demise that fully envelops the reader.”The Nerd Daily

Rue
Kathryn Nuernberger | BOA Editions Ltd. | 9781942683971 | April 2020
“What Rue shows, beyond its cathartic work, is that even under adverse conditions, Nuernberger’s drive for knowledge of both self and world cannot be extinguished.”Full Stop

Addis Ababa Noir
Edit. Maaza Mengiste | Akashic Books | 9781617758201 | August 2020
“[The book’s] strength is these writer’s unflinching approach to reality . . .  The other major plus is the opportunity to discover many accomplished Ethiopian writers. A book to definitely explore.”Dispatches from Ethiopia

The Bishop’s Bedroom
Piero Chiara, trans. Jill Foulston | New Vessel Press | 9781939931740 | November 2019

The Bishop’s Bedroom by Piero Chiara, published by the very selective and elegant New Vessel Press, in translation from Italian by Jill Foulston, will bring you back to reality with a better attitude about your dysthymia … The Bishop’s Bedroom is a respectful 150-page paperback priced right, and just mentioning it will improve your status at your Zoom book club meeting. It’s a gem of a book . . . Will enthrall and make you proud to be a reader of classic literary crime fiction.”—Durango Telegraph

Changing Tides
Alejandro Frid | New Society Publishers | 9780865719095 | October 2019
“In Changing Tides, Frid does not offer us a way out of the Anthropocene—out of climate change and species extinction. Similarly, he does not offer us any straightforward manner of resolving the conflicts between industry and the land defenders who stand in its way. What he offers is the possibility that with a shift in perspective, we can better manage these challenges.”Minding Nature Journal

Love & Peace: 37 Eternal Reflections
Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave | GILES | 9781911282587 | September 2020
 “Love & Peace will surely inspire hope in many.”Newsmax  

“A heartening, emotive, and enchanting book, a wonderful gift that will bring comfort and hope.”Quest Magazine

Cockfight
Maria Fernanda Ampuero, trans. Frances Riddle | The Feminist Press at CUNY | 9781936932825 | May 2020
“Through sparing prose and exacting detail, with no time for decoration or pomp, Ampuero delivers timeless feminist fiction that packs a punch and sticks with you like tar.”—Sounds and Colours

Being the Change
Peter Kalmus | New Society Publishers | 9780865718531 | July 2017
“Kalmus is thoughtful, passionate, and personal. And, he believes, as I do, that his actions make a difference.”—Treehugger  

Doodle Cat is Bored 
Kat Patrick, illus. Lauren Farrell | Scribble US | 9781950354344 | November 2020 
“The book’s pages burst with colorful creatures, wild lines, and new adventures. Doodle Cat’s audience will be itching to unleash their own inner artists.”—Foreword Reviews  

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