When she sits down on the couch with you, holds your hands, and looks you in the eye, you will not have to guess what’s coming next. After all, you’ve been expecting this for months, waiting in agony for this day to come. The love has already flickered off. She will be gentle and kind, like she always has been, but in the end, you will have to sleep at your friend’s apartment that night. Your friend will comfort you by telling you the stories behind their tattoos again, and drinking wine with you. Eventually, they will get tired, and so will you. Their spare room is large enough for your thoughts to run free. For the next two hours, your heavy eyes will be held up by jumbled and confused questions, and the last thought that flashes in your mind before sleep wins is the beginning of accepting a lie: tomorrow will be better.
You will wake up in that unfamiliar bed, back aching and sore, and wonder where you are and who you went home with this time. Memories of last night fade into view as you crawl out of bed and into the bathroom. Your friend will have already gone to work, and with no one there to confirm your story, you will doubt your memory; after all, you are getting older. Besides, sometimes dream weavers can lie.
Review by E. Kirshe
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is already on a bunch of lists of books to watch out for and there’s a good reason for that.
Set in Reconstruction-era America, history has taken a turn thanks to the undead plague that arises during the Civil War. The North and South agree to stop fighting each other in order to put down zombies (called shamblers here). The story is told through the first-person narration of Jane Mckeene. Jane is finishing her training to become an Attendant, a person trained in both weaponry and etiquette in order to protect wealthy white women. Thanks to the Negro and Native Reeducation Act this career path is not a choice. Even being the daughter of a very wealthy white woman does not prevent Jane from being required to train at Miss Preston’s school of combat in Baltimore.
Ireland creates a richly drawn brave new America- the worldbuilding in this book is extensive and expertly sprinkled across the pages. Even with the first person narration it never feels like an info-dump. Lots of true history is blended into Ireland’s version- history buffs will recognize some key phrases and inspiration. Continue reading
I have a fatal attraction to shoes. For a brief period, in my early adulthood, I strayed into a certain leather handbag attraction, but I never lost my lust for shoes.
A deep leather handbag, one that can hold a toaster comfortably, gave me a sense of completeness. What can go wrong in my world when I’ve got everything I need slung over my shoulder? Eventually the price of a good leather handbag exceeded my budget, and, like bitter lovers, we broke up.
Shoes have always captured my attention, with an urgent whisper saying You must have me! I was five years old the first time it happened. I begged for a pair of shoes like the older girl next door was wearing. “Can I have a pair of Beverly shoes?” I whined. They were red canvas espadrilles with long laces that entwined up Beverly’s ankles. To my five year old eyes they were riveting. Continue reading
“What’s this?” Emma held up the small wad of bills bundled together in a circle.
“It’s the money I owe you.”
Emma put her Honda in park and weighed the cash in her palm. “Where’s the rest?”
Simon shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he leaned down to meet Emma’s eyes through the cracked car window.
“That’s all I could get right now. I’ll have the rest by-”
“Tomorrow. You’ll have the rest by tomorrow,” Emma said as she flicked her sunglasses off her forehead and onto her nose. “I’d hate to have to pay your mom a visit, Simon.”
He nodded and stepped back as Emma’s car pulled away, kicking up dirt.
Review by Tess Tabak
In a troubled election, Gray Davenport must prove that Reason is dead.
Reason Wilder, the new mayoral candidate in Grand River, is a crowd pleaser. He has a certain energy about him that people love. There’s just one tiny problem: Reason seems to be a Frankenstein’s monster, and Gray Davenport is the only one who’s noticed.
Mr. Neutron, Joe Ponepinto’s debut novel, is a biting satire about the craziness and politics that go into elections. Gray Davenport, the beleaguered, unpaid campaign manager for Bob Boren, the underdog in the race, wants to talk about real issues, but everyone is swept up by Reason’s charisma.
Gray must figure out how best to expose Reason for what he truly is. Gray has a stake in the game: he won’t get paid for managing Bob’s campaign unless Bob wins. What’s more, his wife, L’aura, is campaigning for Reason. This is about more than just politics for Gray. He has to win Bob the election to earn his own self respect, and possibly win back his stone-cold wife’s affections.
Gray Davenport, a self-described “sofa of a man,” has trouble sticking up for himself. He calls himself a neutron, “taking up an area of space so insignificant that it was no surprise to be regularly ignored.” Continue reading
The bus headed for Cluj splashes in the puddle as it rolls in to the station in Gheorgheni, Romania on Friday at two pm. My heart jumps. I climb the few steps, hand the money to the driver and tell him to drop me off at the brewery, opposite the University of Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural Studies in Cluj. I squeeze my small backpack in the narrow alley between the rows of seats and look for an empty one. I find two vacant seats together, throw my backpack beside me and sink into the plush covering.
The bus cradles me. I slip into sleep, far away from my week of teaching English as a foreign language to lanky pimple-faced boys and wannabe fashionista girls in Salamon Erno High School in my home town, Gheorgheni.
Cluj, the flashy, fancy, everyone’s favorite city, boasts the largest student population from all over Romania. I graduated from one of its universities, Babes-Bolyai in English and Hungarian literature. Leo, my boyfriend of two years, still studies in Cluj to become a veterinarian. We meet every two weeks. He visits his family in Gheorgheni once a month, and I travel to Cluj once a month. I look forward to this weekend. Continue reading
EMILY AS WE SCARE THE BIRDS
We are the un-
knowability of the wind.
Our song terrorizes
the possibility of simple
love in simple trees
with simple nests.
This is why
our children can’t fly.