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Soul City (Touré)

I found this book by accident, and I’m sure glad I did. While the inside flap purports it to be an African American Utopian novel, it’s really a delightfully crazy magical realist novel. The characters — whose names all seem to have larger significances than…

Tropic of Orange (Karen Tei Yamashita)

I’ve read Tropic of Orange a few times, but this time I read it more closely than ever (the reason: I’m about to write about it in my dissertation). Each time I read it, it’s amazing to me just how much it overflows with allusions:…

Old Nehalem Road (Travis Champ)

Old Nehalem Road was a surprise I’m glad I found. I went back to the same bookstore where I found Salt, and lo and behold, there was this slim volume hand printed on a 100-year-old printing press. I couldn’t resist. My love of textures and…

Salt (Various Authors)

This collection of poetry was really inspiring. I picked this book up at a little bookstore on the coast of Oregon (Cloud & Leaf Bookstore, in case you really want to know), looking for a taste of the local talent, and it certainly gave me…

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons (Lorna Landvik)

This novel is one of my all-time favorites. Ever since its cover caught my eye on the sale table at Borders in Goleta, CA, this book has had a special place in my heart. I read it when I’m feeling lonely, when I want something…

‘Tis the Season (Lorna Landvik)

I’m a big fan of Lorna Landvik, and ‘Tis the Season didn’t disappoint. It did, however, surprise — I was not expecting an (electronic) epistolary novel in the least. Landvik’s newest novel, which was published so closely on the heels of The View From Mount…

Spooky Little Girl (Laurie Notaro)

I stumbled across Spooky Little Girl in Powell’s Books’ airport branch this morning while I waited for my flight to board. I was looking for a novel by a local author (when on vacation, I try to read the local authors who I might otherwise…

Circle K Cycles (Karen Tei Yamashita)

I picked up Circle K Cycles looking forward to Yamashita’s trademark pastiche of characters and genres…and while I found a pastiche, it wasn’t like her earlier novels. Circle K Cycles is a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, of short story and editorial, of pictures and…

Truth & Bright Water (Thomas King)

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this — a book that I finish, only to think, I’m missing something…there’s so much stuff going on here that’s going right over my head. But I think that’s a good thing when it comes…

One For the Morning Glory (John Barnes)

This book is one of my all-time favorites. I haven’t read it in almost a decade, but it was even better than I remembered it. The characters were more complex than I had previously detected, and the plot was quite interesting. It has a metafictional…