The questions are as follows: what makes for an indie lit scene, and does Chicago have one? The first person I ask is Zach Dodson from Featherproof publishing, because this is Chicago, and you sort of have to start with Featherproof.
Susan Shapiro has written and published seven books in seven years. A professor, journalist, and author, she is credited with helping young authors to publish their own projects. Her most recent work, Overexposed, is a comic novel about careers, family, jealousy, and in its own way, (feminism and at times a lack thereof).
Its Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn when I call up David Ulin in L.A. Its 10:00 a.m. his time. There are dogs and yard sounds on his end of the line. Ulins new book is titled The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time (Sasquatch Books, 2010).
Sometimes its easier to take the money. Reading nonfiction, especially this last decade, has already taught us that. In an age of social media where erudition can become entertainment and even pop culture can be weaponized, isnt it safer to pay for play? Not Really.
In the preface to his first collection of short fiction, 14 Fictional Positions, Eric Miles Williamson tells us that the stories contained within ought not be considered mere exercisesthough, he says, thats exactly the function theyve served.
Eugene Martens Firework is a terrifying house. This house has several levels, each of which demonstrates a unique strand of mastery in Martens composition style.
It is impossible to talk about any one piece in Ben Mirovs Ghost Machinedue for its second printing this November by CakeTrain Presswithout talking about this impressive collection as a whole. The poetry paints a portrait of the artist at a hyper-specific moment in his life.
David Bajos Panopticon is an ethereal, well-crafted, and quietly disturbing novel, a book that slices creepily through its characters pasts to uncover aspects of a technologically warped present that are equally riveting and unnerving because of their pervasiveness.
Jonas Woldemariam, the diffident and aloof Ethiopian-American narrator of Dinaw Mengestus How to Read the Air, was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, but is afflicted with the angst and uncertainty of a deracinated and perpetual migrant.
At 44, Christian Wiman has an inside track on the subject of mortalityhe has a terminal disease with an uncertain timeline.
Jean Kwoks debut novel is an immigration tale that reads like a Cinderella story for young adults. Girl in Translation hinges on a reversal of fortunes between a magical, handsome young prince and Kimberly Chang, the storys protagonist. The suffering of Kimberly and her mother is beyond normal endurance, and the redemption that follows is not only hyperbolic, but also unbelievable.