Night at the Fiestas

I started reading Kirstin Valdez Quade’s Night at the Fiestas a few years ago, when she came to my MFA program at UNLV for the Emerging Writers Series. But I set it down after the first few stories, simply because grad school doesn’t allow much time for recreational reading. Still, she gave one of the most useful craft talks I’ve ever attended, so I knew I had to pick her book back up at some point. The women-authors-only book club I currently attend gave me the perfect opportunity. Continue reading

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Kill the Boy Band (and two volumes of Saga)

I’ve been traveling and writing and grappling with the fact that our country is a total garbage fire right now, so blogging hasn’t been top of mind. I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to, either, thanks to the aforementioned issues. However, I did manage to cram in a few books while visiting Denver. The first, Goldy Moldavsky’s YA novel Kill the Boy Band, I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time. I finally found it in paperback at the Printers Row Lit Fest a few weeks ago! Continue reading

The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear: Agitator for the Spirit Land

Have I mentioned that I’m a total nerd? In college, I double majored in English and History and double minored in Political Science and Asian Studies, just because I like learning stuff. If I had unlimited time and resources, I would probably continue to obtain bachelor’s degrees in any subject that wouldn’t force me to do math.

Because I can’t obtain infinite bachelor’s degrees, I satisfy my random knowledge cravings by listening to podcasts. One of my favorites is Lore, a show that explores folklore and mythology from different cultures—usually with a spooky bent. I was first introduced to 19th-century minister-turned-medium John Murray Spear in an episode of Lore. How could I resist the tale of an eccentric spiritualist determined to build an electric messiah?

I had to know more. That’s why I finally ordered John Benedict Buescher’s book The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear: Agitator for the Spirit Land. Continue reading

Chinatown Sonnets

Figured I’d end my April with some more National Poetry Month reading. I had the pleasure of helping publish one of Dorothy Chan’s poems in Split Lip Magazine’s FIRST EVER PRINT ISSUE this year (which you should totally buy if you haven’t already—we’re almost sold out!). I loved that poem, so when I was at AWP this year I decided to pick up a copy of her chapbook Chinatown Sonnets. I was not disappointed. Continue reading

Two Novels about Girls Growing Up in the Woods

I’ll be the first to admit that neither Catherine Lacey’s The Answers nor Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones is truly about girls growing up in the woods—it’s just the closest tie I could find between the two. Lacey’s novel is almost science fiction, with many of its characters hoping to harness human love into an exact, horrible science. Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel, on the other hand, is grounded in the tragic reality of Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading

War of the Foxes

Thought I’d kick off National Poetry Month with some poetry. Although I think I technically started reading Richard Siken’s collection War of the Foxes in March? I had friends in town last weekend, so I didn’t get much reading done.

Technically-technically I started reading War of the Foxes when Siken came to speak at my MFA program several years ago. But I only read a few poems here and there, not the entire collection in order. Probably should have read it sooner. It’s quite good.  Continue reading

Crazy Rich Asians

In the world’s most dissimilar book swap, I traded my copy of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts to my friend Gena for her copy of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians. Lately my reading list has been fairly—I hesitate to use the word “literary,” since what does that even mean? Let’s just say that my reading list has been fairly serious these days, so I was excited to dive into something more lighthearted.  Continue reading

Two Florida Books

As usual, haven’t been blogging, but I have been reading. Lately I’ve read two very different books that take place in Florida, which I also visited earlier this month for the annual AWP Conference. I have strong familial ties to the Sunshine State, so I always enjoy reading stories in the (bizarre, swampy, blazing) setting where I had to spend so many of my childhood Christmases. Continue reading