Lit-Link Round-up

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It’s a pretty fine time for galleys.

I get a lot of galleys in the mail because of my role as the Fiction Editor over at The Nervous Breakdown.  Sometimes, a strange number of these seem to have phrases like “Mr. Darcy” or “Sisterhood” in the titles, and it is clear that said galleys have been sent to the wrong target reader.  Other times, there seems to be so much good shit flying around out there that it’s overwhelming and I can’t keep up.

Here are some (non-exhaustive) highlights, all linked through one of the greatest bookstores in the country, Women & Children First, here in Chicago, which kicks Amazon’s ass and makes buying a hardcover book a truly excellent act:

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Carry the One by Carol Anshaw.  I’m reading it right now and it’s gripping and, for a novel about an accidental murder, pretty damn sexy.  Art and addiction and hot lesbians and lots of messy, real life drama, this would be a hard novel not to like.

All Woman and Springtime by Brandon W. Jones.  Alice Walker is calling this new title from Algonquin Books, set in North Korea, one of the most “important novels I’ve read in many years.”

What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher R. Beha.  This Tin House June release, a story of obsession, friendship and the power of storytelling, packs a great deal of intensity into a slim volume.

The Angry Buddhist by Seth Greenland.  I’m not usually a big fan of satire, but this one caught me by being set amidst the same weird, desert meth trailers that Stacy Bierlein and I routinely get lost en route amidst en route to do a guest faculty gig through U-C-Riverside.  But it’s a wild read, and now I’m getting hooked.

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel.  If you haven’t read Mandel’s first two books, you’re missing out on one of the most compelling and eloquent young voices in recent fiction.  Her third novel, exploring mysteries of identity, reinvention and disappearance (Mandel’s core themes, in much the same way they are Dan Chaon’s), more than lives up to that early promise.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. A gritty, moving depiction of poor white trailer trash (and Girl Scouts), this debut novel has powerful, messy humanity and dark humor to spare.

Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty by Diane Williams. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s Diane Williams and it’s new work.  Need I say more?


Gina Frangello’s fourth book of fiction, Every Kind of Wanting, was released on Counterpoint in September. Her last novel, A Life in Men (Algonquin 2014), was selected for the Target Emerging Authors series, has been optioned by Universal Cable Productions/Denver & Delilah, and was a book club selection for NYLON magazine, The Rumpus, and The Nervous Breakdown. She is also the author of two other books of fiction: Slut Lullabies (Emergency Press 2010), which was a Foreword Magazine Best Book of the Year finalist, and My Sister’s Continent (Chiasmus 2006). She has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books, and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the Executive Editor for Other Voices magazine, and the faculty editor for TriQuarterly Online. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews and journalism have been published in such venues as Salon, Dame, Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Fence, FiveChapters, Prairie Schooner, the Chicago Reader, and in many other magazines and anthologies. More from this author →