Friday, September 13, 2013

It finally feels like fall is coming! Fall is my favorite season, with its combination of new beginnings (school starting, even if I'm now years out of any regular class schedule) and gentle farewells. To say nothing of bright foliage, pumpkin pie, fresh apples, and the smell of fallen leaves. And did I mention pumpkin pie?

Fall is also great for reading (though what season isn't?) -- best with a mug of hot apple cider and a light blanket over your knees as you face a window or sit on the porch. It's also a great time to celebrate reading, with lots of book festivals, like the National Book Festival or Fall for the Book (Sept 22-27 in Fairfax). On a more intimate scale, a local DC author will be reading from and signing her novel I Am Venus on Sept 19. Ok, not technically fall, but close! I reviewed the novel for the Washington Independent and very much enjoyed it.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a fall to enjoy (or spring if you're in the Southern Hemisphere!) and books to relish it with.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quick update

I've been spending a lot of time on other projects and so haven't blogged much. I'm shifting my book reviewing largely over to the Washington Independent Review of Books, a great site that publishes tremendous content every day of the workweek. It constantly makes me wish I had more time to read. And I've also started work on my next novel manuscript. So add in a toddler, a house, and a dinner to cook, and there's not much time. Yeah, yeah, the story of the internet.

My latest review for WIROB is of Matt Bell's In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods.

Have a great summer, all!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weave Magazine Issue 8 is available!

The beautiful eighth issue of Weave Magazine is now available for purchase! I have a short story included, and I'm honored to be in such good company. Thanks to the editors for all their hard work! Check it out here.

Gettysburg Review - Spring 2013

My husband and I just bought a house, an old one with the sort of mysterious insulation and basement tile that just might be asbestos. We did our walk through this week and, while looking at the suspicious golden-colored puffs of insulation poking out in the attic, I couldn't stop thinking about Victor Reusch's story, "Sweet Miseries," in the latest issue of The Gettysburg Review. Reusch's narrator substitutes his fear of asbestos poisoning for a deeper existential anxiety. I could imagine, as the narrator did, those strange fibers percolating down into my lungs and making a nest. And then what? That's what the story is about.

This issue of the Review with its eerie art is filled, of course, with moving stories, essays, and poems. Perhaps my favorite is Gina Troisi's "Wrapped Up in Skin, Hidden behind Eyes," a heart-breaking account of her childhood with her horror-movie addicted stepmother and her self-absorbed father. Troisi circles around and around, uncovering the pain of a child living in fear of rejection or injury, and we wonder what other dark depths lurk beneath the attractive facades of those around us.

As is their custom, the editors of The Gettysburg Review don't label their essays or stories, except in the table of contents. Maybe I'm too narrow-minded about this, but knowing if I'm reading fiction or non-fiction affects the way I interact with a piece, and so I find it irksome to have to flip back to the table of contents each time I reach a new entry. But, that's a minor quibble. The collection is, as always, beautiful and haunting. Check it out!

Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma