A review of Writing a Novel by Richard Skinner

The book is easy to follow, and is well-structured, moving smoothly from novel ideation through planning, character development, point of view, dialogue, plotting, conflict, dealing with tie, pace, setting and genre. Though the book is practically oriented, Skinner doesn’t dumb down the complexity of novel writing, or suggest, as many how-to books do, that it can be done quickly and painlessly.

A review of I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust by Mathias B. Freese

I realize this book is a work of fiction, but it cuts deeply, and leaves the reader contemplating some of the horror that people suffered during Hitler’s reign. Though not the easiest book to read, I Truly Lament is compelling, and very well written. The book was one of three finalists chosen in the 2012 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest out of 424 submissions, and it’s easy to see why. 

A review of In the Measuring by Carol Smallwood

The aforementioned exuberance comes with the author’s novel treatment of the everyday—those ordinary, mundane tasks and chores we take for granted. Who would think to write a pantoum about dishwashing liquid? Yet Smallwood carries it off, and braids colloquial language with scientific. She assumes a persona the reader can identify with.

A review of America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges

America: the Farewell Tour is an impressive book. Readers who lack a background in economics but are troubled with what is going on in the world will be absorbed in his analysis. Hedges is no academic pronouncing from an ivory tower, but a reporter who has gone out among the victims of global capitalism to gather information.

A review of Thread For Pearls by Lauren Speeth

The narrative presents a deftly crafted tale relating the journey of a young woman who manages to face, accept and overcome what many would believe to be an impossible childhood.  Periods of normalcy are interspersed with periods that are anything but normal, receiving and unexpectedly having pets given away, or left behind, left on her own way too often by both her Mother and Wolf cause Fiona to do much of the raising of herself. 

An interview with Margaret Morgan

Aside from penning works for the small-screen, Morgan’s short stories have been published in a myriad of noteworthy publications, including Going Down Swinging and Meanjin, among others. Some time ago, Morgan returned to university, completing abachelor’s degree in Advanced Science in Biology at Macquarie University, where she focused on plant science, genetics and parasitology. These areas of studies were a lifelong interest that proved to largely shape the inspiration for her debut novel, The Second Cure.

A review of New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction edited by James Thomas and Robert Scotellaro

All of the micros in this collection could be described as “on the verge of vanishing.” But thinking about this specific set of stories related to disappearing, especially Cooper’s, leads me to wonder why we’re drawn to this particular form, especially now. Forget the Internet and the short-attention span argument for a moment. What if the desire for the micro and flash fiction is born of a last-ditch effort to get in and get out, while we can?

A review of Normal People by Sally Rooney

Despite its often bleak outlook, Normal People is a hopeful book, and though the trajectory of Connell and Marianne is often painful at times, intellect and emotion pulling in opposite direction, Normal People is a powerful read that not only provides insight into the young, modern mind, but also which provides a classic thematic in a modernistic, tight and compelling format.