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review 2018-06-19 04:48
The Liars' Asylum - Gilbert Allen;Terry Dubow;Valerie Fioravanti;M.S. Allen;Jacob M. Appel;Kathleen Toomey Jabs;Tom Juvik;Amina Gautier;Nick Healy

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 



This is the fifth collection of short stories that I have read from this author and I have loved all of them. It’s no surprise that I loved this one too. 


The first two or three stories were good but didn’t wow me, but the rest of them did. The stories just kept getting better and better. 


My personal favorites were “Prisoners of the Multiverse,” “Picklocks in Oblivion,” “The Summer of Interrogatory Subversion,” and “When Love Was an Angel’s Kidney.” 


In case you’re not familiar with Jacob M. Appel’s work, he writes the most unique short stories and novels you’ll ever read. He has numerous graduate degrees including a JD, an MD, an MFA in creative writing, an MPhil, and an MS in bioethics so that’s probably why. A lot of his stories pull from those backgrounds. He’s an incredibly talented writer and it shows throughout all his work, especially his short stories. 


Overall, if you haven’t read any of Jacob’s work, you definitely should consider reading this collection (or any of his other collections). You won’t be disappointed. 

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review 2018-05-12 18:05
My Life with the Liars - Caela Carter

Zylynn lives is a cult and is taken away by someone who claims to be her father. Zylynn doesn't believe them and must get, back to the cult before she turns 13. Will Zylynn really want to go back after she unveils the truth about everything.  

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review 2018-05-06 09:52
Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves - Raman Mundair

Much as I enjoy poetry, I confess that I don't read it often. On a regular basis, I dive deeply into prose to quench what has proved to be a lifelong thirst for knowledge and entertainment. The happy result of these peregrinations into poetry and prose has been an abiding love and reverence for language and its subtle nuances.

So, in reading "LOVERS, LIARS, CONJURERS, AND THIEVES", I savored reading poems that spoke of "the intense joys of intimacy and love, and the pain of their rejections", as well as the wonder of travel, the impact of the 1947 Partition which gave rise to an independent India and the birth of Pakistan, and "a passionate concern with the body politic." There were also other poems that evoked the physical scars of domestic violence and racist murders in the UK. Not easy reading, but I appreciated being informed through metaphor and subtle allusion about these glaring injustices. One poem, in particular, held for me a special resonance because it said as much about myself as it did about its author. It is entitled "Tidal Moods" ---

"There are clear, still moments
luminous as an African sky
at night or at sea
when she calms
when I wonder
what governs me, 
whether this centrifugal pull
is from a source rooted in the moon,
stars or simply hormones;
whether the magnet
moon is in cahoots with my seratonin --
or perhaps my seratonin seduces 
the moon with the promise 
of eternal, ecstatic bliss."

President Kennedy aptly summed it up when he said that "poetry reminds [mankind] of the richness and diversity of existence." This book of poems I recommend to anyone for its richness and diverse themes. 

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quote 2018-04-10 06:45
“If you already know the answer, why are you trying to make me say it?"

"Because I'm a girl, and that's what we do.”
Things Liars Say: a Novella (#ThreeLittleLies Book 1) - Sara Hassinger Ney

~~ Sara Ney, Things Liars Say

(Three Little Lies #1)

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review 2018-03-02 22:07
Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club by Christopher Teuton
Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars Club: Dakasi Elohi Anigagoga Junilawisdii (Turtle, Earth, the Liars, Meeting Place) - Christopher B Teuton,America Meredith

It’s hard for me to rate a book of folklore. Its primary purpose is to preserve stories and information about a culture, rather than to entertain, and perhaps the most important target audience here is people of Cherokee heritage who may not have much connection to traditional culture. Not being one of those people, I can’t claim that my review will reflect others’ experiences with the book.

The author, Christopher Teuton, is a professor of Cherokee descent who spends time on tribal lands in Oklahoma with four older men who jokingly call themselves the “Turtle Island Liars’ Club.” The four are involved in various ways in the preservation of traditional culture, and are all storytellers. The book is built of many short sections, interspersing stories which range from less than a page to a few pages in length with sections in which the group hangs out and discusses various aspects of Cherokee culture. The stories range from legends to accounts from the lives of the storytellers and their families, and while some read like traditional tales, others clearly have had modern updating: animals encounter steel traps or become roadkill, for instance. But there’s no pretense at telling an authoritative version of any of the tales; in discussing their art, the storytellers make clear that the stories are alive and changing, that different people tell different versions and they even tell different versions themselves to different audiences. And in fact I have encountered different versions of a couple of these stories elsewhere.

I found the stories to be interesting and enjoyable, but Teuton made an excellent decision in choosing to include more than that; the short topical sections in between provide grounding and context, and I generally found the factual information interesting. Most books of folklore seem to be compilations of stories without telling readers anything about the storytellers, their lives, or their wider culture, beyond what one might glean from the tales they tell. This one provides a much fuller picture of Cherokee life, at least as seen through the eyes of these four men.

The fact that a fairly small number of voices – of men from roughly the same generation with similar life experiences – make up the book is a drawback. Another, at least in my eyes, is the way the author renders speech: at times it is almost like reading a transcript, with the “ums,” the people interjecting with “yeah” or “mmhm,” the sentences that trail off without communicating anything. Journalists clean up speech to make it more concise and avoid making their subjects look dumb, and Teuton doesn’t explain why he chose not to, though he does discuss other decisions about how to shape the book. Fortunately though, he’s talking to people who are used to public speaking, and the storytellers’ voices along with the brevity of the sections mitigate the dryness of the author’s writing, which is quite evident in his introduction.

Overall, I found this book engaging, and readers with a particular interest in Cherokee culture or folklore will likely enjoy it. A general audience may become more impatient, though there is certainly wisdom about life in the book that applies regardless of culture. Also, four of the stories are transcribed in both Cherokee and English, which is fun.

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