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Bookslinger Update: “Arboretum”

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This week’s story is from Greetings from Below by David Philip Mullins, published by Sarabande Books. What would have become of Nick Adams if he’d been born along the ragged edges of a new American city, one with more churches per capita than any other, and twice the suicide rate? Meet Nick Danze, the main character of David Philip Mullins’s vital debut collection, Greetings from Below. The opening story finds fourteen-year-old Nick and his pal Kilburg sitting in the Las Vegas desert, drinking whiskey from Kilburg’s fake leg. It’s the first of many shocks in Nick’s sexual education, which begins with a kiss from Kilburg he calls “practice.” In later stories, Nick hires a call girl, visits a swingers’ club on Christmas Eve, obsesses over obese middle-aged women, and meets the love of his life, Annie, only he’s not sure he loves her and he’s compulsively unfaithful. Ashamed of his behavior, he stubbornly repeats it. And lurking behind it all is Vegas, with its gilded casinos, neon-tinted suburbs, and dingy, outer-ring strip clubs. In Nick’s wounded honesty and queasy self-consciousness, Mullins awakens us to the perverse power of alienation and shame.

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Bookslinger Update: “Our Big Game”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from The Immanence of God in the Tropics by George Rosen, published by Leapfrog Press. These are stories of unexpected encounters far from home, told with a vivid sense of place. A white man with more wives than money becomes Africa’s least-competent thief, two Americans contemplate love’s costs and possibilities in Mexico’s mountains, a seasick missionary bumps into God on the equator. George Rosen’s characters seek, and sometimes find, a reality in which “everywhere, there is something remarkable.”

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Bookslinger Update: “Love Right on the Yesterday”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from Tomo by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, published by Stone Bridge Press. This aptly named fiction anthology—tomo means “friend” in Japanese—is a true labor of friendship to benefit teens in Japan whose lives were upended by the violent earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Authors from Japan and around the world have contributed works of fiction set in or related to Japan. Young adult English-language readers will be able to connect with their Japanese counterparts through stories of contemporary Japanese teens, ninja andyokai teens, folklore teens, mixed-heritage teens, and non-Japanese teens who call Japan home. Tales of friendship, mystery, love, ghosts, magic, science fiction, and history will propel readers to Japan past and present and to Japanese universes abroad.

Edited and with a foreword by Holly Thompson, Tomo contributing authors include Naoko Awa, Deni Bechard, Jennifer Fumiko Cahill, Liza Dalby, Megumi Fujino, Andrew Fukuda, Alan Gratz, Katrina Toshiko Grigg-Saito, Suzanne Kamata, Sachiko Kashiwaba, Kelly Luce, Shogo Oketani and Leza Lowitz, Ryusuke Saito, Graham Salisbury, Fumio Takano, and Wendy Tokunaga, among others.

Through understanding comes compassion and the desire to help; portions of the proceeds of Tomo will be donated to ongoing relief efforts for teens in Japan.

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Bookslinger Update: “Tickets on Time”

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This week’s story is from The Man Who Walked Through Walls by Marcel Aymé, published by Pushkin Press. Marcel Aymé’s most celebrated tale provides the title of this collection of ten short stories. The excellent Monsieur Dutilleul is able to penetrate walls, but never exploits his gift until his tyrannical boss drives him to desperate measures. How will the unassuming clerk adjust to a glamorous life of crime?

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Bookslinger Update: “Paints and Papers”

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This week’s story is from Innocent Party by Aimee Parkison, published by BOA Editions, Ltd. In this collection, Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize–winner Aimee Parkison’s characters struggle to understand what happens when the innocent party becomes the guilty party. With magical realist flair, secrets are aired with dirty laundry, but the stains never come clean. Carol Anshaw writes, “Aimee Parkison offers a distinct new voice to contemporary fiction. Her seductive stories explore childhood as a realm of sorrows, and reveal the afflictions of adults who emerge from this private geography.”

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Bookslinger Update: “Benjamin”

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This week’s story is from Transgressions by Sallie Bingham, published by Sarabande Books. In her wise and sexy new collection, Sallie Bingham examines modern-day “transgressions” in affairs of the heart. She offers up a ménage à trois, an older woman’s affair with a student, a painter who uses his age as an excuse to behave indecorously. But the reader quickly discovers the real transgressions are those of the self against the self.

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Bookslinger Update: “About Love”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from About Love by Anton Chekhov, translated by David Helwig, illustrated by Seth, and published by Biblioasis. Written in France toward the end of his career, these stories are Chekhov’s only attempt at the linked collection. “A Man in a Shell” is a grotesque Gogolian comedy; “Gooseberries” a narrator’s impassioned response; and “About Love” a poignant story of failed relationships. Translated by the impeccable David Helwig and fabulously illustrated by Seth, About Love is essential for any Chekhov enthusiast.

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Bookslinger Update: “Cauliflowers in the Mist”

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This week’s story is from Recipes for Sad Women by Héctor Abad, published by Pushkin Press. No one knows the recipe for happiness—and yet Héctor Abad offers us a whole volume. His recipes, at times bizarre, at times wise, appear able to cure almost anything. With ingenuity and subtle humor, Abad proffers practical advice on how to eschew sadness, attract joy, and retain delight.

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Bookslinger Update: “Cutblock”

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This week’s story is from Bull Head by John Vigna, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Bristling with restlessness and brutality, these linked stories set in the Pacific Northwest catapult readers into the gritty lives of social outcasts lost in purgatories of their own making. John Vigna tempers raw and at times cruel rural masculinity with graceful prose and breathtaking tenderness to illuminate the plight of men living in small towns and backwoods who belong neither to history nor the future. A startling homage to the great Southern Gothic tradition, Bull Head is a dazzling debut that heralds a powerful and exciting new literary voice.

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Bookslinger Update: “The City in the Light of Moths”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from Understories by Tim Horvath, published by Bellevue Literary Press. What if there were a city that consisted only of restaurants? What if Paul Gauguin had gone to Greenland instead of Tahiti? What if there were a field called Umbrology, the study of shadows, where physicists and shadow puppeteers worked side by side? Full of speculative daring though firmly anchored in the tradition of realism, Tim Horvath’s stories explore all of this and more— blending the everyday and the wondrous to contend with age-old themes of loss, identity, imagination, and the search for human connection. Whether making offhand references to Mystery Science Theater, providing a new perspective on Heidegger’s philosophy and forays into Nazism, or following the imaginary travels of a library book, Horvath’s writing is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.

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