Friday, August 15, 2008

warrior ant press: summer reading list

We've slowed down with the posting and have been reading. Here's a few of what's been flying off the shelves the last few months at the worldwide anthill headquarters of warrior ant press.

Arkansas by John Brandon, McSweeney's Rectangulars (2008).
It's becoming increasingly difficult to go wrong with anything McSweeney's publishes these days; they continue to set the bar with strong fiction drawn upon unusual characters with compelling, believable stories. Reading Arkansas was like going home. And it made me a bit sad I didn't chose a life of petty crime instead of the dull day work of a worker ant. When your chance came early in life to be a drug-king pin, did you look the other way? or take the risk? Read this book and see what you missed.

Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen, Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux (2008). Who's less stable, the psychiatrist or the patient? the loved, or the lover? If you have trouble figuring out if it's going to rain, sleet, or snow then this book will tell you the secret for success in all matters pertaining to the 500 mb pressure line of your love life.

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain, Harper Perennial, 2007. Books that combine a deep love of ornithology and cultural revolution will always have a spot deep in my heart. Find one in yours for this book and you'll be taken to strange places and speak-in-tongues to the natives.

Exit Wounds by Ruta Modan, Drawn and Quarterly, 2007. Upon hearing that your father has been blown up by a suicide bomber, you begin a search for your real identity that leads to love. Or it's beginnings. This can only happen in real life or a comix novel set in Israel.

Here they Come by Yannick Murphy, McSwenney's Rectangulars, 2006. This book proves that if the hot dog vendor on the corner of 3rd and Broadway could write fiction it'd be a helluva story and one you wouldn't want to miss. I'll have a pretzel with that order, heavy on the salt and mustard, and don't forget the grilled onions and peppers on the 'brat.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Brabury, Europa Editions (2008). A precocious 12-year old with a death wish meets a dowdy concierge with a secret, scholary life. Then a wealthy Japanese businessman comes knocking and everyone discusses the meaning of life over afternoon tea. This book is a madeleine.

The Life of Edgar Sawtelle by Harper Collins (2008)
This book lived up to all the hype, not that I saw much beyond the jacket blurb on my advance reader copy. Stephen King sure liked it! The writing is so on target that one scene in the book had me crying, and I can't remember the last time that has happened (with a book). This book could have been subtitled, The Breed is out There. I suggest you start looking for it.

Chourmo: Book 2 and Solea: Book 3 in the Marseilles Jean-Claude Izzo, Europa Editions (2007 and 2008)
Summer isn't summer without some unapologetic, hard-boiled noir the likes of which few can serve like Claude Izzo. James Lee Burke's work comes to mind, but Izzo out maneuvers him when it comes to setting a place, in this case, the dirty backwater neighborhoods of Marseilles and the calanques of the Cote D'Azur. As soon as I closed vol.3 I was scrambling around trying to locate vol.1 so I could relive the mystery.

The Rabbi's Cat 2 by Jonaan Saar, Pantheon Books (2008). And you thought your pet was smart. Can it quote the Quá'ran? make sense of the Torah? then read about a cat who purrs with insights about what it means to be holy, pure, and full of faith; it's certainly no dog that never caught a rabbit.

Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape by Sarah Manguso; How the Water Feels to the Fishes by Dave Eggers; and Minor Robberies by Deb Olin Unferth. Published simultaneously as 100 stories all-in-a-box. McSweeney's Rectangulars (2007). Short fiction redefined. Perfect for the beach, subway, or bath. Or when your attention for the novel novel wanes.

warrior ant press: winter reading list

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