I do not like to buy print books unless they are unavailable on Kindle. Space is a luxury, so all the better if I can keep my library in the cloud. I’ve enjoyed reading literary journals because I usually do not know any of the writers published in them. The content can be a mixed bag. Because my brain isn’t primed by social media, reviews, or marketing, it is easier for me to distinguish what I like in them. Below three I read this year and two I have not yet finished.
District Lines, Summer 2013
The first anthology of local work published by Politics & Prose bookstore. Lots of memoir pieces, short fiction and poetry. A few illustrations and photos. Some of the short memoirs have interesting local history. I look forward to the second edition.
Free State Review, Issue 2: Summer 2013
Loved this pithy literary review out of Annapolis, Maryland. Tasted like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Spicy, dark humor. Clean and simple layout. I liked how it established a tone across all the included works without being only one “theme”. Not too long. Good poetry, including two by Gonzaga College High School English teacher Joseph Ross.
Kenyon Review, Summer 2013
Felt inspired during a stop at Kenyon College on my way back from Burning Man and bought this on Kindle. I liked the cover photograph by Mariana Cook. I’m a sucker for nice publishing. It includes a solid non-fiction piece by Aaron Gilbreath, “This Is”, about Jazz, heroin, and Freddie Redd’s soundtrack to the 1959 play The Connection. I liked the way Gilbreath it connected past and present and varying points of view to what could have been a blah piece. Drugs in the lives of musicians are too often portrayed in a tabloid-style fashion, like “Behind The Music”. I enjoyed Gilbreath’s historical, fresh approach.
Words Beats & Life, Vol. 5, issue 1
“The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture”. Have not finished this yet. The journal uses Hip-Hop culture as a wide umbrella. It’s all well-written. Thumbs up.
Florida Review, Summer 2012
Picked this up at BookCourt in Brooklyn this past Sunday. The editor has a Lithuanian name, so how could I refuse? Was also interested because the edition includes comics (“graphic narrative”). “Foreign Service” by Julia Lichtblau might be the best short story I read this year. Published by the University of Central Florida. Have not finished the whole volume yet.
In total, I read 36 items (non-fiction, novels, literary journals, graphic novels, comic books) this year. I’m thankful to have rediscovered reading for pleasure in 2013 and look forward to reading even more in 2014.