...and he reads is the online source providing resources for book people . I also share articles and interviews for curious minds. Come back often for book reviews, book discussion questions and activity guides, and compelling stories. Thank you for visiting.
June 14, 2018
Have you ever felt like an anomaly? like a sideshow people were looking at curiously, if sideways, but you couldn't figure out what could be interesting enough to garner the attention? When I wrote this piece, that's a bit how I was feeling, although I just chuckled at the oddity of it all. My friend and coworker in the clothing business invited me to a party and I accepted. That's when things got weird...
After spending an evening on the beach in Wilmington N.C., I came back to the room I was renting from a chemist while starting grad school and I wrote this poem. I know I was influenced by the fact that...
Review: The Underwater Welder
Stories are important. The fear many expectant fathers feel is something we don’t often talk about. The Underwater Welder, by Jeff Lemire, is an intelligent, compelling, and visually stunning take on this under-told tale. If you are an adult, and think graphic novels are just for kids, this engaging, haunting, and piercingly human work can change your mind.
I remember having fun with this one, playing with the sounds. The subject, however, is not as playful. Thomas is a very reflective character, even more so than I. He has a hard time making peace with the past, and even wonders how honest we are with ourselves, how well can we trust our own memories.
This is a short piece I wrote many years ago. I like the image with the poem and the idea of touch as the central theme. At times, we get so busy we can forget how essential touch is to our experience, and how necessary. When I wrote this, I had my ideal in mind, my muse, if you will, but no real person. Now, I know what touch I longed to find; the singular experience of my wife's touch. She laughs at me when I talk like this, as she probably should, but she loves me anyway ;)
Many of the Thomas poems were written after leaving graduate school when I could no longer afford the tuition. A bit lost in the world, I had a job at a popular clothing store and spent the rest of my time reading, writing, and drinking coffee. You'll see references to this job and this time period often in these poems.
If you’re looking for a book that is a quick read but will linger in your thoughts long after you’ve returned it, Memory, by Phillippe Grimbert, may be the book for you. What’s really interesting about this book is the way space works.
Here is a short piece I remember writing. It was a cool, clear night in Oklahoma and I couldn't sleep.
If you get a particularly sly smile on your face at the idea of jesters, then you should love this book.
Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan, is charming, but is it worth reading?
With an intriguing concept, Prisoner of Night and Fog delivers.
“Uncle Dolf.” It’s a creepy way to refer to Adolf Hitler and portrays him in an unfamiliar light. Anne Blankman weaves a captivating tale about what it is like to be Hitler’s niece in Prisoner of Night and Fog.
I was interested in the idea of a person's last breath; was it special? Could it contain something essential, the essence, of a person? I started creating this scientist in my head who poisoned patients in order to trap the patients' last breath.
Set during World War II and the years that follow, Warlight is a coming-of-age novel by Michael Ondaajte.
Should you read it? Check out this short review and decide.
This is a great read about a former villain, an aging tough, who is trying to do one thing right in a city where all he’s ever done is wrong.
This selection is from a series of poems based on, or about, a character named Thomas. I designed him as an alter ego of myself...
Gods of Howl Mountain is a robust and rowdy read.
Gritty, hot-blooded characters dominate this story and the North Carolina mountains on which they live. It is a tale to quicken your pulse and have you hoping that a little backwoods justice will be dealt to the deserving.
The Beautiful Uncertain
Which mountain should we climb?
you asked one night in your bed, our bodies
touching under the tan blanket, my nose
buried in your neck, my lips just grazing there
where my breath was dancing.
I could not help but think
of mountains in Japanese novels, of their strength
and their mass, their contrast with the quiet moon.
Pulitzer Prize Winner Jennifer Egan's Newest Offering
Her newest, Manhattan Beach, is a work of historical fiction set in WWII era New York with a strong female protagonist, a missing father, and gangsters. It is a good read and well-written; it will also require patience as it is a bit of a slow-burn.
Guest Review: Jennifer Mathieu's Moxie by Dave Brown
Fed up with the blatant, and apparently staff approved, misogyny and double-standards that seem to dominate those hallowed halls, Vivian takes inspiration from her mother's "misspent youth" and starts a movement.
Dangerous Curves Ahead: The Woman in the Window is the thriller you want.
This is an extremely quick read, with short chapters and just enough scene description to keep the story rooted in a specific place. The agoraphobia adds a good twist, with the protagonist’s psychologist profession giving the story an added layer.
Free the Gubs: A farcical game your family will love.
If your family plays games and you aren’t familiar with the Gamewright company, you aren’t playing the right games. This company produces many quirky, quick, fun-filled games you will love. GUBS is a great example of what they offer. It is whimsical, provides many strategic options for a player, and leaves just enough randomness to turn any round on its head.
I just finished this book and want to tell you why you should not miss it; in fact, this book will be in discussion for 2018's book of the year eleven months from now.
Landing on most of the best of 2017 reading lists is Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. It deserves to be on those lists. It is a good family drama and will satisfy many readers.
Cory Perschbacher is an Oklahoma artist. He plays multiple instruments and composes music for many diverse outlets, including scores for chamber settings and a multitude of films. A member of a rotating number of bands, Cory balances his passion for music with his love for his wife Erin and his two boys. I've worked with Cory on some very amateur, student-made films, and have the honor of calling him my friend
Read his interview here.
Kim Ventrella: Author Interview
Kim Ventrella is the author of Skeleton Tree, a children’s book about what happens when you find, and believe in, the unexpected. It is a finely tuned story exploring life, love, families and friendships, and the stirrings of the heart which define them all. Published by Scholastic Press, it was released in October. It is her debut novel.
A Fun, Twisted Adult Fairy Tale
Reading this story aloud and appreciating the art’s quality together is an experience you’ll long remember even if you won’t recall all the specifics. This would be a great class read and a thoughtful gift.
These are not the brightly-colored fairytales you plaster cheerful pictures of on the walls of your baby’s nursery; these are the tales from the dark woods behind your grandmother’s house that you were afraid to enter.
A Literary Thriller With Book Puzzles
“It’s quite a library, anyway,” she said, trying to sound upbeat. “I’ve begun to think of it as more graveyard than library. End of the line, you know. Where book-of-the-month club comes to die.”
― Matthew J. Sullivan, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Two Books We Should All Read and Discuss
The great thing about Sharon’s books is that they don’t conclude with pretty resolutions where all the world’s wrongs are put right. Although they are children’s books, they don’t shy away from real world situations. These books allow children to grapple with and discuss issues of substance and give adults a great platform from which to begin these conversations.