This Week’s Reviews

The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Memoir
Bett Williams | Dottir Press | 9781948340311 | September 2020
“You don’t need to be interested in doing psychedelic drugs to find yourself in deep with Williams’ chronicle of finding meaning and healing through mycelium. You might start by merely appreciating the book’s colorfully shroomy cover and compact, ride-along size before you dip a toe into the pleasant warmth of the free-flowing narrative. But soon you’re swimming with abandon. You can’t see the shoreline anymore, and you don’t care. You’re out there in the wild kindness a reader receives from any great writer of psychedelia.”—Sante Fe Reporter

A hot lesbian living in the American Southwest decides to grow her own psychoactive mushrooms. ‘You’ll never guess what happens next!’ I was in the mood for a real YARN when I came across this memoir and it satisfied all of my yarn needs. The author, Bett Williams, has a life of sparkling singularity—one minute she’s recreationally analyzing the works of Willa Cather, the next she’s puking in a juniper tree, or getting accused of felony burglary, or tripping on a straw mattress in rural Mexico, or or or . . . if you’re curious about DIY magic mushrooms, or the psychedelic experience in general, this is a balm. It is the polar opposite of that Michael Pollan book.”—Gossamer

Dispatches from the Race War
Tim Wise | City Lights Publishers | 9780872868090 | December 2020
“A trenchant assessment of our nation’s ills.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Every Day We Get More Illegal
Juan Felipe Herrera | City Lights Publishers | 9780872868281 | September 2020
“Herrera’s formal versatility lends subtlety and nuance to essential political considerations.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Snoozie, Sunny, and So-So
Dafna Ben-Zvi, illus. Ofra Amit, trans. Annette Appel | Enchanted Lion Books | 9781592702824 | October 2020
“Whimsically surreal . . . unfolds with a delicate sweetness that never tips into the saccharine.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

We Want It All
edit. Andrea Abi-Karam, Kay Gabriel | Nightboat Books | 9781643620336 | November 2020
“[A] stunner of an anthology. . . . With creativity and insight, the poems in this collection are truly a rich tapestry that belongs on the shelf next to editor Christopher Soto’s Nepantla: Queer Poets of Color (which was also released by Nightboat, thank you Nightboat!)”—Literary Hub

Inheritance
Taylor Johnson | Alice James Books Press | 9781948579131 | November 2020
“There’s a unique kind of rhythm to this debut collection’s poems, a kind of pulsing thrum that makes them feel alive and fiery. Johnson seems to have tapped into a vital force that jolts the reader, gently and not gently, into a new corporeal space.”—Literary Hub

How to Carry Water
Lucille Clifton, edit. Aracelis Girmay | BOA Editions | 9781950774142 | September 2020
“Keenly edited and with a foreword by Girmay, the collection is a love letter to Black womanhood and motherhood, a historical record of violence and injustice against Black lives, and a reckoning with illness and abuse.”—Publishers Weekly

Underworld
Srikanth Reddy | Wave Books | 9781940696935 | August 2020
“Sardonic (until it’s tender), funny (until it’s sad), and surreal (yet strikingly real) prose poetry collection/fantasy tale/auto-eulogy.”—Chicago Review

Hotel Almighty
Sarah J. Sloat | Sarabande Books | 9781946448644 | September 2020
“Sarah J. Sloat’s debut poetry collection, Hotel Almighty, is a visual feast. This assemblage of erasure poems and full-color collages is a fantastical, Rubik’s Cube of a delight.”—New York Journal of Books

A Little More Red Sun on the Human
Gillian Conoley | Nightboat Books | 9781643620114 | October 2019
“There are many innovative poets writing now, as Conoley does, freed in varying degrees from continuous discourse, description, argument, etc., but very few of them deliver her sensual impact, cogency, her vivid language, her downright human importance: among today’s innovators she flies virtually soul-o. Poem after poem, there’s intuitive rightness to her words that yields something of the wonder of flocks of birds, schools of fish, veering in their mysterious unisons. Across her career, too, her subjects range widely, from the ambience of her small-town Texas youth, through astronomy, Einsteinian physics, Gandhi, the politics of peace, love poems, and more, all seen in their various lights, sumptuously imagined.”—Poetry Flash

Sports is Hell
Ben Passmore | Koyama Press | 9781927668757 | February 2020
“Set in the aftermath of a Super Bowl victory, Ben Passmore’s Sports Is Hell spotlights human folly, displaying the US at its worst and most ridiculous.”—Hyperallergic

SLINGSHOT
Cyrée Jarelle Johnson | Nightboat Books | 9781643620091 | September 2019
“The book is an incredibly tight, powerful work. The first time I read it, I had to take a walk around the block in the rain. When I say this book does something new, I do not mean that Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is one of those new voices or poets to watch. What I mean is that even if you’ve read thousands of books of poetry, you will be compelled to reread this one. It is unlike whatever you’re reading. This is a debut collection, but this is not an immature work.”—Public Books

Emporium
Aditi Machado | Nightboat Books | 9781643620299 | November 2020
“[Machado’s] is an expansive lyric, one that exists as a sequence of sections broken into postcard collage, lyric fragment, prose exploration, billboard phrases and doctor’s notes. . . . Emporium is a story told through the collage, the accumulation-collage of fragments, lyrics and prose-structures, one with not even a narrative centre or even the character of the merchant woman, but a seeking, searching, lyric heart.”—rob mclennan’s blog

Outside the Lines
Ameera Patel | Catalyst Press | 9781946395351 | June 2020
“A deftly crafted novel that blends family drama with crime and black comedy, Outside the Lines is a unique and extraordinary novel by an author with an impressive flair for the kind of narrative storytelling that grips the reader’s full attention and invests them in the characters and events portrayed. A riveting read from first page to last.”—Midwest Book Review

The Readers’ Room
Antoine Laurain, trans. Emily Boyce, Jane Aitken, and Polly Mackintosh | Gallic Books | 9781910477977 | September 2020
“Certain to have immense appeal to mystery buffs and bibliophiles alike.”—Midwest Book Review

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

“The novel is a relatively quick, pleasurable read—a testament to the skill of the author and translator. . . . The depictions are rich and clear . . . vividly painted. . . . Put yourself in a world of sun and sea, of marble and mosaics, of books and learning for learning’s sake.”—Reading in Translation

American Madness
Tea Krulos | Feral House | 9781627310963 | August 2020
“Where Krulos is most successful is in disentangling conspiracy theorists from the complicated webs they spin. He’s able to situate Richard in a much longer (and sadder) lineage of American madness and the madmen who beget it. The book becomes truly compelling reading when Krulos connects Richard’s life to a broader social history of conspiracism in America.”—Diabolique Magazine

Special Delivery
Elliot Kruszynski | Cicada Books | 9781908714794 | September 2020
“Charming and boldly drawn illustrations add humour to the situation. A perfect book for sharing with young readers who will appreciate the arrival of favourite animals! A lovely book to share with children in an expecting family waiting for their own new arrival.”—My Shelves are Full

Scruff
Alice Bowsher | Cicada Books | 9781908714787 | October 2020
Scruff by storyteller and artist Alice Bowsher is a charmingly funny and unique picture book story for children ages 3-7 that is sure to charm dog-mad little ones and their parents — making it highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.”

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This Week’s News

Four poems from Yi Sang: Selected Works (edit. Don Mee Choi, trans Jack Jung, Sawako Nakayasu, Don Mee Choi and Joyelle McSweeney, Wave Books) were published in BOMB.

A poem from Ted Kooser’s Red Stilts (Copper Canyon Press) ran in Literary Hub on September 9.

An excerpt from Celebrate Peoples History, edited by Josh MacPhee (The Feminist Press at CUNY), appeared in Hyperallergic onSept 7.

Skyland by Andrew Durbin (Nightboat Books) was featured in an essay about Hervé Guibert in The New Yorker in the September 21 issue.

Rachel Moss wrote an article for BookRiot about her experience illustrating Akashic’s LyricPop series on September 9.

Text, recipes, and photographs from Olive & Thyme by Melina Davies (Prospect Park Books) was excerpted in Magazine C on September 10.

A poem from Raised by Wolves by Amang (trans. Steve Bradbury, Phoneme Media) was featured in Literary Hub on September 11.

The Bishop’s Bedroom by Piero Chiara, trans. Jill Foulston (New vessel Press) was shortlisted for the 2020 Italian Prose in Translation Award.

Stunt by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press) and When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll (Koyama Press) were nominated for the 2020 Joe Shuster Awards.

Andrew Krivak’s The Bear (Bellevue Literary Press) is a finalist for the Banff Centre’s 2020 Mountain Book Competition.

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This Week’s Reviews

Neotenica
Joon Oluchi Lee | Nightboat Books | 9781643620206 | June 2020
“In this pandemic time—an endless moment of scarcity and paucity facilitated by a small few hoarding the earth’s wealth and resource—abundance is necessary, and Lee’s ample language suggests that examining subjectivity is a political act, as is his character’s navigating a queer Asian body through institutions like marriage, white supremacy, and the world.”—Brooklyn Rail

Easy Listening Acid Trip
Joseph Lanza | Feral House | 9781627310956 | November 2020

“A rather intoxicating companion to Elevator Music, Joseph Lanza’s seminal 1994 work, the square (in size and subject) Easy-Listening Acid Trip: An Elevator Ride Through ’60s Psychedelic Pop from the mighty Feral House is more spin-off than sequel, in which the author casts his ears and pen toward the flower-power era and its unlikely marriage of hippie music covered and co-opted by the chronically unhip. And thank God they did.”—Bookgasm

The Berlin Masterpieces in America
edit. Peter Jonathan Bell, Kristi A. Nelson | GILES | 9781911282631 | July 2020
“A compact and beautifully produced catalog.”— ARLIS/NA

Time
Etel Adan | Nightboat Books | 9781643620046 | June 2019
“Time is a place where language creates the meaningful space between souls, and the great threat to the truth. Time is a place where communication is sacred, where ‘love is the subversion of / death’, true living, and the body is a communicator of the self.”—Kenyon Review

Underworld Lit
Srikanth Reddy | Wave Books | 9781940696935 | August 2020
“These passages exist firmly in their own weirdness, while accumulating meaning. They stretch the book into a realm that spans prose and poetry; they ask for pause amid the momentum of plot.”—On the Seawall

The Sprawl
Jason Diamond | Coffee House Press | 9781566895828 | August 2020
“Diamond’s book is a supremely researched taxonomy of the American suburb. . . . His cataloging of suburban cultural touchstones is a crucial first step towards having a healthy conversation about the suburbs today.”—Ploughshares

Reason to Kill
Andy Weinberger | Prospect Park Books| 9781945551864 | August 2020

“Amos Parisman is one of the most unique PIs in literary history . . . a superb character study. . . . Parisman serves as a guide, leading readers from one crime scene to another while reflecting on mankind’s moral decay. His reflections on life are witty and insightful (and sometimes depressing). He provided me with many reasons for wanting to read future installments in the Amos Parisman Mystery series.”—Gumshoe Magazine

Raised by Wolves
Amang, trans. Steve Bradbury | Phoneme Media | 9781944700911 | September 2020

“Readers of this delightfully hybrid collection can only win. [Raised by Wolves] is an invitation to partake in a feast of words that agree to disagree, that clash and dissolve to reemerge in another language.”—Asymptote Journal

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This Week’s News

The New York Times Book Review‘s updated 2020 “Globetrotting” feature includes new fall releases from Charco Press, Deep Vellum Publishing, New Vessel Press, Open Letter, and World Editions.

Jason Diamond, author of The Sprawl (Coffee House Press), was interviewed by the Boston Globe on September 3.

Publishers Weekly editors raved about Come Home, Indio by Jim Terry (Street Noise Books) on their Comics World podcast on September 4.

Ms. Magazine’s September book picks include Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain (Arsenal Pulp Press), Letters to a Young Brown Girl by Barbara Jane Reyes (BOA Editions), and Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau (Coffee House Press).

Two of Emma Hine’s poems from Stay Safe (Sarabande Books) appear in the fall issue of The Paris Review.

Ancestry of Objects by Tatiana Ryckman (Deep Vellum Publishing) and Aseroë by François Dominique (trans. By Richard Sieburth; Bellevue Literary Press) were featured in Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s September book preview.

Literary Hub recommended How to Carry Water by Lucille Clifton (edit. By Aracelis Girmay; BOA Editions), Lecture by Mary Cappello (Transit Books), and Ancestry of Objects by Tatiana Ryckman (Deep Vellum Publishing) on September 8.

Actor and author Michael Imperioli (The Perfume Burned His Eyes, Akashic Books) was profiled in GQ on September 3, and on September 8 he was interviewed by the Writer’s Bone podcast about contributing to The Nicotine Chronicles (Akashic Books).

One Night Two Souls Went Walking by Ellen Cooney (Coffee House Press) was included on Bustle’s list of best books for fall.

An excerpt of Dead Girls by Selva Almada (trans. Annie McDermott; Charco Press) was featured on Words Without Borders on September 3.

The Charco staff was featured in PW Daily as the Pic of the Day on September 1.

Aisha Redux, author of Stupid Black Girl (Street Noise Books), wrote an op-ed for Blavity on September 3.

Out of Mesopotamia by Salar Abdoh (Akashic Books) was featured as a Chicago Review of Books September must-read on September 2, and Abdoh translated an essay for The Baffler on September 7.

Barbara Jane Reyes, author of Letters to a Young Brown Girl (The Feminist Press at CUNY), was interviewed by The Rumpus on September 8.

Ted Kooser, author of Red Stilts (Copper Canyon Press), showed off his Chapters Books & Gifts t-shirt in Shelf Awareness on September 4.

Etan Thomas, author of We Matter: Athletes and Activism (Edge of Sports/Akashic Books), was interviewed by WBUR’s On Point on September 3.

Sun Yung Shin, author of Unbearable Splendor (Coffee House Press), was announced as the new editor of the American Composers Forum’s Resonance series.

Marianne Chan, author of All Heathens (Sarabande Books), read a poem from her collection on Ours Poetica, Poetry magazine’s YouTube channel, on September 7.

Alma highlighted Temporary by Hilary Leichter (Coffee House Press) on their September 8 list of “The Best Jewish Books of 5780.”

Joanna Stingray, co-author of Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground (Doppelhouse Press) was interviewed on NBN’s Russian and Eurasian Studies podcast on September 4.

Joan Frank, author of Where You’re All Going (Sarabande Books), was interviewed as The Authors Guild’s spotlight member on September 8.

Jerry Thompson, co-editor of Berkeley Noir (Akashic Books), was interviewed by KALW’s Sights & Sounds on September 3.

Jonathan Hammond, author of The Shaman’s Mind (Monkfish Book Publishing), appeared on the Your Superior Self podcast on September 6.

Spirituality & Health Magazine featured an article by Sarah Bowen, author of Spiritual Rebel (Monkfish Book Publishing), on September 8. Paperback Paris featured Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau (Coffee House Press) among exciting September debuts on September 8.

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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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