Unmistakable Bulge

Unmistakable Bulge

When it’s right, it’s right and you can feel it in the air, when your bodies brush together the sparks fly and the ozone cooks; she cannot take her eyes off you, you cannot take your eyes off her, and nobody has to say a thing. As the elevator rose lurching slowly two flights, I wanted to put my hands on her shoulders and turn her toward me and watch her face tilt up and her lips part, I knew it would happen that way, that she would come in against me and I would press her against the elevator wall, and the kiss would be so hot and filled with excitement that we could slide down to the floor unknowing and clutch each other melting into one soul.

Naturally, that’s not what happened.

I didn’t lay a glove on her in the elevator. We didn’t even talk, I just looked at all that honey-ginger hair and thought about the way it would feel against my skin. When the elevator door opened and I saw the maid’s cart parked in front of my open door I wasn’t even slightly phased, but touched Sonny with the tips of my fingers at the small of her back and she moved into the suite turning up to me and smiling. My knees almost buckled from the look in her eyes.

“Be done in a minute,” the maid called from the kitchen.

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Mt. Mount Mountain

Mount Tamalpais

Mount Tamalpais

We had planned to hike the western slope of Mount Tamalpais, but in the morning we saw clouds covering the ridge, which would erase the vertiginous views of the Pacific Ocean. So we went further up the mountain, to a place called Rock Springs, and picked the first trail that led downward, hoping to bury ourselves in the folds of the mountain and find something, close up, that would rival the distant vistas to the west. We followed Cataract Creek among mossy laurel trees and chest-high river rocks, then dipped along wooden footbridges, past a stand of young redwoods, toward a windbreak called Bath’s Retreat, before climbing a rocky escarpment with stunted manzanitas.

Four things about mountains occurred to me along the way. Continue reading

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NOW READ THIS: The Imagination of Lewis Caroll by William Todd Seabrook

The Imagination of Lewis Carroll

We don’t give Victorian England enough shit, says Michael Martone in his introduction to this small chapbook. We remember the Victorians as being straitlaced and high-minded, but the truth is that everything about them was industriously nonsensical.

These, after all, were the minds that imagined church graveyards into recreational cemeteries served by networks of necropolitan railways with three classes for the dead. They were the people who invented sentence diagramming as a lark, something to do between constructing the Gatling gun and fabricating the whalebone bustle. And cricket! What is that!

The chief exponent of high Victorian nonsense was an Oxford-educated mathematician, Anglican deacon, and connoisseur of very young girls who wrote under the pen name of Lewis Carroll.

The Imagination of Lewis CarrollThe Imagination of Lewis Carroll is a collection of 24 flash-fiction pieces that reimagine the author of Alice in Wonderland as a slightly more bizarre version of the man he really was–but only slightly. This Lewis Carroll fights a duel by driving his opponent insane, confounds the Queen and the Pope with riddles, and believes he can edit people in real life the way he edits his fictional creations. It’s as if the historical Lewis Carroll swallowed a pill that made him much, much bigger. Continue reading

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Did You Hear? Girls Chase Boys

New music! Sometimes old music. Music that we love!

A catchy song, a video with plenty of androgyny, and a direct homage to Robert Palmer’s completely ridiculous “Simply Irresistible” video? What’s not to love here?

Happy Friday, everyone!

- Brook Reeder

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ONLY $0.99 FOR THE BLACK CAT BY J.M. GEEVER

the-black-cat-2

HOLY SMACK YOU GUYS THE BLACK CAT BY J.M. GEEVER IS ON SALE AS AN E-BOOK!

If you hate killing trees or you’ve been too (ahem) thrifty to buy the paperback, then take a deep breath, shake out your index finger so it’s really loose and limber, and click on the button below. You’ll get the EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions for a special price of $0.99.

The Black Cat is a terribly original novel about old families, expensive California wines, superstitions, obscure European wars, vengeance, and more wine. It’s like if Edgar Allan Poe tried to describe the plot of East of Eden while he was sloshed.

You can read excerpts here and here.

“J.M. Geever writes with an erudition, wit, and mystery reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49 and the historical soul of Arc d’X. With The Black Cat, he perfectly captures the essence of California’s place in both the idealization and disintegration of the American dream.”

– Matthew Gallaway, author of The Metropolis Case

You are going to love The Black Cat. For only $0.99.

- Fiction Advocate

 

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HITTING SHELVES #9: Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark

Sweetness #9

Sweetness #9 comes out today!

It’s a satire of epic proportions about an American family, the Leverauxs, whose patriarch gets paid to develop a new artificial sweetener in a laboratory. As the years pass, Sweetness #9 works its way into America’s bloodstream, and everyone from lab rats to Washington politicians suffers from obesity, anxiety, and depression, while David Leveraux tries to keep his involvement a secret.

Edan Lepucki recommended Sweetness #9 to Stephen Colbert and called it “funny, moving, like Don DeLillo crossed with A. M. Homes,” which sounds just about perfect.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of Sweetness #9? 

Stephan Eirik Clark: In Norway, where my mother is from, a toast at dinner-time is a simple affair. You raise your glass (not too high, though, because there’s no need to call attention to yourself) and utter a single syllable: “Skol!” Just as quickly, your eyes can fall back to your plate and you can lose yourself in your food.

Stephan Eirik Clark

Stephan Eirik Clark

But in Russia, where my wife is from, such brevity would ruin your reputation and very likely cause you to lose friends and shame family members. In Russia, you are expected to hold your glass high and speak at great length, to reveal a poet’s depth of feeling and a lover’s unrivaled affection, to perhaps push back a few tears and say still more when some around the table — the Norwegians, perhaps — are certain that you must be coming to an end. “And let me add,” you might say, “that in addition to wishing you health, happiness, and great success in the coming year, I would hope that you will be blessed with the joy of close friendships and more of the greatest love of all — the love of young children. Therefore let me add” — and on it might go as your father, a Texan, looks around the table, sure there must be a hidden camera somewhere, that this must be a prank soon to be streamed on YouTube, for it can’t possibly go on any longer, can it?

Yes, it can. And as you adopt many of the traditions you marry into, I very likely will be speaking in such a way on the day that Sweetness #9 is released into the world. Either over dinner with my wife and children in St. Paul or before I read that night at Common Good Books just up the road, I will raise a glass and wish my novel health, so that it won’t suffer through its infancy as a hardback, and success, so that it might gain warm reviews from critics and readers alike. I might even add, while wiping at my misty eyes, that I hope it will encounter a good bit of love, because a book, like a person, wants only one thing: to be held close, so close it can feel the quiet thrum of a sympathetic heart.

- Brian Hurley

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Did You Hear? Oh No

New music! Sometimes old music. Music that we love!

Let’s visit with Andrew Bird for a spell, and let him whistle at us for a while.

Seriously, he’s an amazing whistler.

This track is off a great 2-disc album called Noble Beast, and I love the feel of this song with its “Sunshine of Your Love” drumbeat, the interwoven layers, and of course the whistling.

Enjoy!

- Brook Reeder

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The new Critical Hit Awards are up!

Critical-Hit-AwardsIn which I ask Janice Lee of HTMLGIANT and ENTROPY magazine if she goes around telling everyone when a book is terrible.

Read her answer and see all the winners here.

- Brian Hurley

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