Posts Tagged ‘books’

Nine Books You Can Read In The Time It Takes To Watch The Super Bowl

According to Nielsen Holdings, the average length of a Super Bowl broadcast is 3 hours and 35 minutes. We’ve rounded up nine novels, novellas, and chapbooks you can read in less time than it takes to watch the biggest game of the year.


Kimzey_cover-250x386Families Among Us by Blake Kimzey

Blake Kimzey’s collection of stories can probably be read in the time it takes to get to the second quarter. Small and special, the characters in these six stories sprout wings and slither. They grow snouts, claws, and fur. Kimzey’s stories have been called, “beautifully written universes” and they are exactly that. Take a Super Bowl break and enjoy this wonderful little chapbook.



Cover1-3-4-195x300-175x250An Elegy for Mathematics by Anne Valente

Anne Valente’s recent story collection By Light We Knew Our Names is one of the best books we read last year and her chapbook, An Elegy for Mathematics, is just as special. Valente’s prose takes us to fantastic worlds in thirteen beautiful short stories. The perfect Super Bowl oasis from Origami Zoo Press.



together-apart-mockup_7Together Apart by Ben Hoffman

Together Apart is another beautiful chapbook from Origami Zoo Press. Ben Hoffman won the press’s first-ever chapbook contest. The characters in his collection are constantly grappling with the difference between their desires and the realities they are presented with. It is in this impossible, transitional space that Hoffman’s stories flourish. Duck out of the game and enjoy this little gem.


61aUlQj4PSLI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

The book came before the movie and in our opinion has more to offer. In this creepy zombie/end-of-the-earth/vampire novella, a man is left alone to deal with dangerous changlings that emerge at night. Stephen King and Dean Kootz have both cited I Am Legend as a major inspiration for their work. It was considered a groundbreaking story for its time and is one that inspired an entire zombie and vampire movement in literature.



sleep-donationSleep Donation by Karen Russell

In less time than it takes to get to the halftime show, transport yourself with Karen Russell’s novella about an insomnia epidemic turned deadly. In this story, Russell’s protagonist, Trish, works for an organization called Slumber Corps, traveling the country telling the story of her sister’s death in hopes of gather “sleep donations” from healthy sleepers. In our review of the novella Sadye Teiser writes: “…we may be alone in our dreams, but as Sleep Donation shows us, we are useless without them.”

51DwmeeKbCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A Familiar Beast by Panio Gianopoulous

Publisher Nouvella books describes this title as: “In the wake of an affair that has cost him his marriage and career, Marcus is a lost man. Desperate for reprieve from his loneliness and regret, he accepts an invitation to go to the outskirts of North Carolina and visit Edgar, an old high school classmate burdened with mysterious troubles of his own. In Edgar’s beautiful, empty home, their separate sorrows draw Marcus into a series of unnerving situations, culminating in a proposed deer hunt.” It’s a wonderful read and the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Short Novels

jacksonWe Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson’s novel about the Blackwood sisters who live in isolation on the outskirts of town is a mysterious tale about a dark family secret. This scary story is quick and complex, and will keep you on your toes throughout. You won’t soon forget the agoraphobic Constance and the increasingly volatile Merricat.



vandermeerAnnihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Annihilation begs to be read. Vandeermeer’s story about Area X, which has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decade, begins with four women who are part of an expedition to provide information on this strange land. An anthropologist, surveyor, psychologist, and biologist must gather data and avoid contamination if they hope to return home. Annihilation is the first in a trilogy of stories that are impossible to put down.


lernerLeaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner’s book about a young poet in Madrid is a difficult title to summarize, simply because nothing suffices to capture just how special it is. This much-awarded short novel is a funny and poignant meditation on the arts. James Woods says: “Lerner is attempting to capture something that most conventional novels, with their cumbersome caravans of plot and scene and ‘conflict,’ fail to do: the drift of thought, the unmomentous passage of undramatic life. . . .” Need we say more?


From the Vault: Book Review – Ablutions by Patrick deWitt

Ablutions by Patrick deWitt was published in 2010 and is deWitt’s first novel. We chose this From the Vault pick because it’s the perfect book to review at the start of a New Year. Somewhat ironically, the book is filled with characters and situations one would resolve against when picking Resolutions, as this book is as much about addiction and self-loathing as it is a study on effective literary writing. The first thing you notice about Ablutions is the point of view. It’s told in second person, which would send many readers running for the hills, but because deWitt executes flawlessly, the construction only enhances the reader’s sense of a narrator who is distanced from a life that is spiraling toward a dark end. The story, which primarily takes place in a bar and focuses on the down-and-out regulars, could very easily border on cliche, except again for deWitt’s deft use of characterization and the strong sense of something building beneath the novel’s gritty surface. The book is simultaneously funny and sad, with a productive ebb and flow that draws you in and spits you out. I would label this a “guy book” because of the overall tone and the predominantly male characters, but readers who enjoy dark novels with flawed characters, drugs, alcohol, and a depressing facade will appreciate much in this small book. Again, somewhat ironically, and much to deWitt’s credit, everything you likes in this book is the very thing you dislike. Because it’s a quick read, and because it delivers in full force, we’re honoring this debut novel as our first review of the year.

Thanks for Giving… Books

In honor of Thanksgiving we’re highlighting a few ways for you to make a difference with your stacks of old books. Sure, you could sell your used titles back for a measly few dollars, but wouldn’t it feel better knowing you’ve making a difference? Thought so. Read on.

Better World Books – We don’t want to play favorites, but Better World Books is an excellent way to go if you don’t live near a drop site and you want your books to make a big difference. All you need to do is box up your old books and print a shipping label from their site. No need to fret, BWB will pay the shipping and either donate your book or resell it in order to raise money for charity. But it doesn’t stop there. Their site is full of some really great initiatives (for every book you buy from them, they donate one!), so take some time to check out all the great stuff they have to offer.

Libraries Without Borders –  This site is a great way to benefit libraries and library projects around the world. They stock libraries, train librarians, provide support to create and build new libraries, and they work to computerize library systems. If you have a soft spot for the little library card in your wallet, consider donating books to their cause.

Books for Soldiers and Operation Paperback – Both of these organizations are a great way to get books to our troops. Though they’re run differently, you register on both sites in order to get information on requested books from soldiers. Then you ship directly to the organization or soldier. And no need to worry about shipping costs. Both offer really affordable ways to send your books overseas.

Books for Africa –  According to their site, Books for Africa is, “A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to children in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.” This organization has good cause written all over it. Though the donations do have restrictions, it’s an excellent way to get involved with promoting literacy and learning.