Monthly Archives: January 2016

Take the 2016 Reading Challenge!

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged in a Facebook post by my West Coast writer-friend Cyndee Mady: “The 2016 Reading Challenge” (she is referring to our graduate school days at Goddard College, where we got our MFAs but also spent hours and hours in our respective positions on The Pitkin Review, the MFACW program’s literary journal):

Cyndee Mady Pitkin Review Read the rest of this entry

DARK DISCUSSIONS Explores THE FOREST (2016) — with these resources, you can, too!

Mast_Episode215

Dark Discussions Episode 215 masthead by Philip Perron.

The recent film The Forest may not have gotten such great reviews, but the crew at Dark Discussions took time out to discuss its good points, its bad ones, and its setting: the fascinating Aokigahara Jukai Forest (Japan’s Suicide Forest).

Below, links to the episode, as well as a list of resources for those who might be interested in learning more about this macabre environment—a real place where, on average, 100 people take their lives per year—that the film (although shot in Serbia; permission to work in the forest is almost never granted) depicted well.

Note: For a place so mysterious and strange, Read the rest of this entry

Russell’s SEA OF TREES is a sea of problems

RUSSELL'S SEA OF TREES COVER

Where this book excels is in the vignettes of those who suicided in Aokigahara Jukai forest: we see the last moments of these people’s lives in chilling, haunting portraiture. Similarly, the world of the forest is brought to life; the writing itself is clear, yet peppered with poignant phrasing. The first person present-tense is sound and is a good match for this type of piece. The tension between the two characters is fantastic, as there is push and pull but neither gets what’s desired. It’s also an easy read (although the lack of commas where there should’ve been drove me crazy; I’m not sure if this was an editing fail or if it’s some style I’m not familiar with).

Despite all of that, however, I’d only be able to recommend Sea of Trees to those who are deeply interested in the forest.

Although the stories of those who suicided Read the rest of this entry

Short Story Sunday: Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut

This depiction of a dystopian world in which everyone is “finally equal” fascinated and scared me (on another note, wow, this is possibly how far the awful Common Core could go…). It’s probably available in many anthologies and, certainly, in collections of Vonnegut’s, but I found a link to read it free here: http://www.wordfight.org/bnw/bnw-unit_packet.pdf

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Lately I’ve been working on the overwhelming task of thinning out my book collection; it’s something no book lover likes to do, but let’s face it, every once in a while it has to be done, either to clear clutter or make room for more.

It’s no surprise that a good portion of my collection is devoted to short story collections. I’ve read my share of great stories, and I’ve read my share of awful ones—but I’ve also read my share of a few that blew me away to the point at which I’ll never forget them. So instead of doing a typical “Top” list, I decided instead to focus on ones which fall into the last category (please note that in my “about” descriptions I tried to be spoiler-free). Do you have any that have made a lasting impression on you? Leave them in the comments.

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