Book Review: Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Snatched IDAHO, a 2017 debut by Emily Ruskovich, out of a Little Free Library in my neighborhood. I was gently stunned by the author’s superhuman command of language and ability to break a heart with every sentence, binge reading it in one weekend. Ruskovich started with a haunted place she couldn’t explain and imagined decades of time and an entire community of characters that spring up around one hypothetical moment of tragedy. And it feels so brilliantly real, it’s almost impossible to describe. This book is agonizing in the greatest way. I don’t even know… speechless!



View all my reviews

Book Review: Orbital by Samantha Harvey

Orbital by Samantha Harvey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


ORBITAL is one of so many, many books that I’ve read which are set in space. But it is the very first book I’ve read which, in the reading of it, feels like actually being in space. Dreamlike, cyclical, removed, focused, questing, massive and tiny, lost and tethered. More like a poem than a novel, it’s a view from above. A unique read that takes its own strange time to say what it has to say.



View all my reviews

Book Review: Singer Distance by Ethan Chatagnier

Singer Distance by Ethan Chatagnier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


SINGER DISTANCE by Ethan Chatagnier is a story that recognizes how incredible minds approach problems from angles that are anything but straight-on. Much the same, Chatagnier gives us a story of mathematical brilliance focused not on the genius herself, but on the complementary mind most oriented to her despite all her human failings, resulting in a propulsive scientific mystery that is also a generous love story, one that contends with personal histories in a way that feels radically like home even within an alternative historical timeline a few hops over from our own. What a book.



View all my reviews

Book Review: The Museum of Human History by Rebekah Bergman

The Museum of Human History by Rebekah Bergman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Rebekah Bergman’s THE MUSEUM OF HUMAN HISTORY is a spellbinding study of how people reckon with the most powerful force in our lives: time. Through touching and inventive vignettes spotlighting a handful of households inhabiting the same town, Bergman asks what any of us might risk or leverage to stop time, and the roles of our bodies, our memories, and life’s artifacts in the attempt.



View all my reviews

Book Review: How to Walk on Water by Rachel Swearingen

How to Walk on Water and Other Stories by Rachel Swearingen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I recently had the pleasure of hearing Rachel Swearingen read from her newest short fiction and immediately knew I was in the presence of power. This book is further proof. In her story collection HOW TO WALK ON WATER, Swearingen’s talent is on brilliant display, unearthing complex and cutting realities. Her unpredictable (and often delightfully unhinged) characters feel so damn real, you’ll be pulling out your high school yearbook to look up their names.



View all my reviews

Book Review: Lungfish by Meghan Gilliss

Lungfish by Meghan Gilliss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Filled with awe over LUNGFISH by Meghan Gilliss. Striking, honest, and inventive prose. The dual question at the heart is one so many of us have worried at–how can you believe an addict?/how can you accept that the hurt they’ve caused is real? Gilliss approaches the answers without forgiveness, but not without tenderness, and always with structural brilliance and surprise.



View all my reviews

Book Review: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mapping the Interior is a powerhouse of a novella by Stephen Graham Jones. It’s astonishing to me how some writers can make such a gut-punch impact in 100 slim pages that others struggle to achieve after 400. This story is haunted by searing recursive imagery and faulty memory, lenses blurred by love and dissociation. Mostly limited to the walls of the family home, the setting heightens the urgency, accelerating with every page. The forces who watch from the edge of this story never fully reveal themselves, but we all know them, and they are terrifying–especially seen through the eyes of the narrator–just a boy who barely knows what has happened to him, and later, a man trying to make sense of it.



View all my reviews

Book Review: The Devourers by Indra Das

The Devourers by Indra Das

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What if you met a monster who opened your eyes to things no human was ever meant to know, to feel, to see? The Devourers takes us there. Das’ writing is gruesome and gorgeous in this blood-soaked tale. Wholly original, sensually charged, graphically violent, and yet also tender, this book reads like an ancient record of horrifying magic that should have been destroyed long ago, but exposes the fabric of our world. Sensational.



View all my reviews

Book Review: Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I came to read Universal Harvester for the weirdness and 90’s nostalgia, almost left because I got so deeply creeped out, but ultimately stayed for John Darnielle’s gut-punch writing and intimate portraiture of midwestern people in all their banality and strangeness. This novel is tough to classify. It reads sort of like horror, but it’s really not–as disturbing as it still is. This is more of a slow burn, a literary haunting, and I appreciate Darnielle’s subtle hand navigating it all. A fantastic novel.

P.s. Had no idea that John is the frontman for The Mountain Goats until I glanced at the bio at the end! Wow John, leave some talent for the rest of us! 🙂



View all my reviews

Book Review: Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe

Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe

Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This novel makes an indelible impression, and it is so, so good. This book was recommended to me over a decade ago and has been sleeping since then on my bookshelf, waiting for the right moment. When the moment came, I tore through it in two days, totally transfixed at Howe’s storytelling–powerful, intimate, surprising. The way Howe approaches the ideas of legacy, birthright, redemption, and healing over the centuries simply blew me away.



View all my reviews