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

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

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

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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