Book Review: Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress: Nine Tales

A fine collection of tales, some interconnected. Atwood is a master of blending reality with near-reality and surreality to create her unique post-apocalyptic worlds that are utterly, chillingly believable. A quick, engrossing read.

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Redivider, 12.2, 2015

I have been interested in reading Redivider for a while so was happy when Cherie sent it; a publication by Emerson College – two by one institution in a land of dwindling print literary journals is pretty amazing (Ploughshares is the other). Gender of authors published seems fairly equal. Interesting content. This issue contains the non-fiction flash winner; interestingly, both the winner and runner-up pieces are written in second person. The two fiction pieces that stood out most for me are Charles Haverty’s “Kites” for well-developed characters and a vividly enfolding plot and “The Lesser Horsemen” by Keith Rosson for unique perspective and story; Rosson’s has been nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. The poem “Grown-Ass Man” by Benjamin Myers also stayed in my mind for a while. Really enjoyed the whole issue and don’t recall skipping or skimming anything in particular.

V’s Year in Review: 2015

2015 was a big year for me professionally. Not only was my first paid story, “A Murder of Crows,” published, I also became a regular reviewer for Library Journal. I obtained long-sought, gratifying, professional employment utilizing both of my (expensive) degrees which has unfortunately, of course, cut into the time I am able to spend writing. That is, I have barely written a thing besides my published reviews since late August.

Nonetheless, one of my goals for the new year is to find time to write again, no matter how little, which includes keeping up with this blog, a personal motivation. Which brings us to this post, my annual reading year in review.

The number of books and literary journals I read actually increased in 2015, a bit of a surprise since I now have approximately 45 hours less a week to do anything, much less read, than I did in 2014. I finished 29 books and 19 literary journals, as opposed to 23 and 15 the year before. (I have to thank Library Journal for that; without doing so many reviews, I would be at 19 rather than 29, or less.)

Some stats:

  • Biggest Book Read: Norman Mailer, The Executioner’s Song, 1,109 pp
  • Review Books Read: 10
  • Review Journals Read: 1
  • Author Most Read: Stephen King, 6 books
  • Followed By: Roberto Bolaño, 4 books, and Ariel Dorfman, 3

As in 2014, I started off 2015 reading a Stephen King novel. I finished 2015 and started 2016 reading a non-fiction review book, All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister. One year I’ll break it down even further: women vs. men authors, etcetera. I thought I mostly read women authors, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the bulleted stats above. Right now I’d rather read more, write more. I’m a data junkie, but not that much of a data junkie….