Category Archives: Reviews – Facing Out

Pocket Review: All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

All the Birds, Singing Evie Wyld Pantheon, 2014 One thing I’ve learned in my brief video editing career: Just because you can produce an effect doesn’t mean you should. And the same for PowerPoint—all those animations, slides spinning in and whooshing out, bouncing arrows and stars and callouts, need only be used once in a […]

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Pocket Review: This Is Not an Accident by April Wilder

This Is Not an Accident April Wilder Viking, 2014 I’ve been reading short stories for a long, long time. I love them, even—sometimes especially—when they truck in the familiar, the comforting, the well-worn. Those are what I think of as blankie stories, and they have their lovely aspects. But there’s always the little voice in […]

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Pocket Review: Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

Frances and Bernard Carlene Bauer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013 Carlene Bauer’s debut novel, Frances and Bernard, reminded me why I enjoy reading letters so much, either in collections of correspondence or as epistolary fiction. Letters are a step up from journal writing in their self-conscious display of innermost philosophical workings, and when done right they’re […]

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Pocket Review: My Education by Susan Choi

My Education Susan Choi Viking Adult, 2013 Schadenfreude is a wonderful thing: we can watch empires fall and wonder why they didn’t have better homeowners’ insurance or more canned goods, whatever satisfies that secret need for smugness that we all need to indulge once in a while. A novel entitled My Education promises something along […]

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NPR’s Concierge Care

This time of year brings out not only the list-makers, but the list-lovers and list-haters as well. The literary ether seems to be especially ripe for that kind of debate, maybe because these end-of-year best-ofs can seem wan in comparison to the the jockeying of all the literary awards scattered throughout the calendar. Or maybe […]

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Pocket Review: Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites Kate Christensen Doubleday, 2013 Disclaimer: I owe Kate Christensen cookies. About nine years ago, she did a guest author stint over at Readerville.com after a group read of her wonderful The Epicure’s Lament. It was the kind of book that invited rambling, and made for a convivial […]

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Pocket Review: The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

The Illusion of Separateness Simon Van Booy HarperCollins, 2013 Of all the complex emotions a writer might set out to evoke from a reader over the course of a novel, surely compassion is one of the harder to coax out. People tend to flinch away from it even when an opportunity presents itself in real […]

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In Which I Finally Get to Use the Word “Ekphrasis”

You know those words, writers… the ones you hoard until the moment you can use one in all seriousness, without being pretentious or looking like a painful poser. Higher education is good for that kind of thing, and Scrabble, but not much in between. So it is with great joy that I announce my successful, […]

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Pocket Review: The Morels by Christopher Hacker

The Morels Christopher Hacker Soho Press, 2013 Many years ago, I bought a house while I was living with my then-boyfriend. Things weren’t going well between us, to the extent that I felt more comfortable getting into a 30-year commitment with Chase Mortgage than with him. Still, we stayed together, in no small part because […]

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Pocket Review: Artist Animal by Steve Baker

Artist|Animal Steve Baker University of Minnesota Press, 2013 Whenever I would mention reading Steve Baker’s Artist|Animal, a series of interviews and essays about the use of animals in contemporary art, the response would be—almost to a person—“Oh, Damien Hirst.” Certainly that’s the first name that came to mind when I initially read the publisher’s blurb. […]

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