LitStack Rec: Little Failure: A Memoir & Back Roads and Frontal Lobes

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” Voice, more than anything, can [….]

LitStack Recs: Cutting Teeth & Back Roads and Frontal Lobes

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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro When October comes, I’m always caught off guard by how quickly summer has gone. Afternoons at the beach or by the lake already feel distant. For parents especially, summer vanishes in the transition of back to school—but as the summers pass, you come to miss the time of children in [….]

The Books That Scare the Crap Out of Us

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  There’s nothing quite like a great scare. Whether it’s the anticipation of monsters under your bed or the freaky feeling of shadowy figures hiding just around a darkened corner, being scared is certainly an adrenaline rush we enjoy. What intensifies the thrill of a great scare for us is when it comes from our [….]

LitStack Review: Hysteria: a Collection of Madness by Stephanie M. Wytovich

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Hysteria: a Collection of Madness Stephanie M. Wytovich Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2013, Poetry I put Stephanie M. Wytovich in the company of Charles Simic, Alison Eir Jenks, Stephen Dobyns, and Rain Graves: they are all poets who won’t let me leave poetry to die a slow death in unread journals and chapbooks and collections. It seems [….]

Gimbling in the Wabe – All That You Can’t Leave Behind

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A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine had to evacuate from his home near Idyllwild, CA, due to a raging forest fire in the San Jacinto mountains.  His house, while not directly at risk, would be threatened if the fire could not be brought under control; residents were asked to leave not only [….]

LitStaff Pick:Supporting (or Secondary) Characters Who Deserve Their Own Book

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There’s nothing quite like a great character. These are the fictional folks who leave indelible impressions on readers. They are the folks we root for. And, many times, they aren’t always the hero. In many respects, great secondary characters are more beloved than the main character. After all, what would Harry Potter be without Luna [….]

Gimbling in the Wabe: Whence Cometh My Help

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I would love to write a novel.  Not (necessarily) the Next Great American Novel, but something substantial, something tangible, something I can hold in my hands and say, “This is mine!”, something of which I can be selfish and proud.  A short story would work, too, or a novella, but A Novel is the pinnacle [….]

LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite Plot Twists

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Spoilers ahead: Sirius Black was not, in fact, hellbent on killing Harry Potter in Prisoner of Azkaban. Oh and Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear? Well, let’s just say that there was far more behind his quiet stammer and poor-little-country-boy persona than he led us all to believe. Some plot twists we can see coming a [….]