Sepia-tinged nostalgia lures everyone in eventually. It’s tempting to skip back over bridges burned so long ago we can’t remember which one of us even held the match anymore. Everyone has plenty of emotional blind-spots. But how do you validate a memory when the one who holds the other half of your recollection is gone forever? Reyes Cardenas’ newest collection oscillates between themes of ageing out of childhood and returning to a place that no longer exists. He’s adopted a swift couplet-style, which is perfect because Cardenas’ meter is quick bursts of expressive, combustible imagery. If the Barrio Gods allowed the 12-year old you to peek behind the curtain and speak with the 60-year old you, would you ask what happens to Dad- to Lupita- to Pete with the Honda bike? Most likely, you’d find “sometimes your past and your future / meet up with each other to destroy themselves.”
Editor’s Note: You can also find Christian’s review as a blurb on Goodreads.
Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 75 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.
Looking for distraction in the dog days of summer? Look no further than these new releases.
Appleseed, Matt Bell
Described as “[p]art speculative epic, part tech thriller, part reinvented fairy tale,” this CliFi new release has been on our radar for a while.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Becky Chambers
This first book in a new series by Hugo-award-winning Chambers looks quirky, big-hearted, and delightful. Centuries after robots gained sentience and “wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again,” a robot returns to check in and ask the humans what they need.
Ghost Forest, Pik-Shuen Fung
An exploration of sorrow, intergenerational dynamics, and family. This one looks gorgeous.
Embassy Wife, Katie Crouch
A- look at that cover, and B- the summary for this one casually mentions such plot points as secret CIA operatives, international conflict, and governmental drama. All told through the lens of two wives serving alongside their emissary husbands.
Such A Quiet Place, Megan Miranda
A locked-room whodunnit, but with an interesting twist on the genre: after a murder in a quiet neighborhood, the residents find that they can’t sell their homes. This means that they’re stuck when the suspected murderer returns and once again becomes their neighbor.
new in paperback
Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald
Nature-based essays from the author of H is for Hawk.
Laura Besley has compiled 100 of her best micro fiction stories, each only 100 words in length, into a stunning, superbly written collection. In many ways this book reminds me of the verbena in my garden. A small 8” cutting of verbena planted in the ground in the spring will quickly blossom into a big, sprawling bush covered in thousands of lavender flowers by the end of the summer. This little book blossoms in a similar fashion, just like a verbena: 100 small stories, 100 different plots, 100 different situations, 100 different themes, over 100 characters. Each story deceptively small, yet together they encompass as much emotion and meaning as 100 different novellas. What an endless source of entertainment! No wonder I look forward to reading a few stories from it every day. You will too.
Laura Stamps is the author of several chapbooks and books, including IN THE GARDEN, CAT DAZE, and TUNING OUT. Her book THE YEAR OF THE CAT won the Muses Prize. She is also the recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Her poetry and flash fiction have appeared in The Penwood Review, Sledgehammer Lit, Boston Poetry Magazine, Amethyst Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Crush Literary, and more. You can find her every day on Twitter at @LauraStamps16.
Science Fiction is the weirdest of the genres. Dune is a weird entry in the sci-fi canon. Emperor of Dune is the weirdest book in the series. Let me tell you: I was here for every minute of it.
I loved it. It’s bizarre, bent, hilarious, and definitely one of a kind. Stay and pontificate with a 10,000 pound worm god/man about socioeconomics, philosophy, and history. I’ll say that again: A 10,000 POUND WORM SLASH GOD SLASH MAN.
Much as I loved this book, I can only recommend to hard core Dune fans. It’s just way too much otherwise.
My last question for those who have read it is….why Duncan Idaho?
Lindsey Pucci has a degree in Art Education from U.W. La Crosse. Her work has been published by SimplySyndicated, Nightingale & Sparrow, and Parliament. She teaches and lives with her husband and young son in Minnesota.
The Binding by Bridget Collins left me exhilarated, wrung out, and livid that the person I most wanted to share it with did not need to read Collins’ upsettingly well-crafted depictions of assault. That’s a compliment. This book has an audience that needs to see itself reflected more often. It’s about PTSD. It’s about having your mental health “managed” by outside forces. And it’s about giving readers a chance to read a queer book where parental homophobia is framed clearly as an abuse.
Collins employs a clever structuring of time in this story. My favourite moment in a novel comes at 60-70% when you’ve met everyone and you find yourself on the brink of the Big Something. The Binding tantalizingly brings you there thrice. I’m sorry, I know that’s not a helpful explanation but I’m hardly going to spoil it for you. Read it yourself and find out.
Katharine Blair (she/her) is a queer Canadian poet in California. She tweets @katharine_blair and fumbles the rest on instagram @kat_harineblair.
Welcome, June! Today we’re celebrating a new month and PLENTY of new releases. We’re featuring highly anticipated new books from much-loved authors, as well as debuts and retellings of beloved stories. If the rest of June is anything like today, we have a lot of delicious reading to do.
The Chosen and the Beautiful, Nghi Vo
A retelling of The Great Gatsby from Jordan Baker’s perspective. One twist. Other twists? Jordan is Vietnamese and queer. More twists? There’s MAGIC.
One Last Stop, Casey McQuiston
Brand-new from McQuiston, who penned the much-loved Red, White, & Royal Blue! This one looks just as swoon-worthy, fresh, and adorable.
Golden Girl, Elin Hilderbrand
Hilderbrand’s 25th novel combines her trademark summer escapism with a life-beyond-the-grave mystery/drama.
You don’t need to have read Hilderbrand’s other books to enjoy this one, but if you want a Hilderbrand guide, try this and this.
Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid
The follow-up to Jenkins Reid’s 2019 Daisy Jones & The Six and the final book in the “California trilogy” (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones, and Malibu Rising) looks to have the same strong sense of place and voice, and it takes place over just one day.
Seven Days in June, Tia Williams
Two authors re-meet in NYC fifteen years after a weeklong love affair, and come to terms with the fact that “they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.” (!)
For the Wolf, Hannah Whitten
This debut is a magic-strewn retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. We here at The Birdseed LOVE fairytale retellings, so this is right up our alley.
Palace of the Drowned, Christine Mangan
In this “elegiac thriller” set in 1966 Venice, an author confronting her anxiety about being a one-hit-wonder escapes to Venice, where she meets an admirer who is not what she seems.
new in paperback
Owls of the Eastern Ice, Jonathan C. Slaght
This part-adventure, part-conservationist’s-cry, part-field-notes has a long list of awards (and a cute cover-owl).
Florence Adler Swims Forever, Rachel Beanland
A tale of family secrets, tenuous relationships, and swimming the English Channel.
The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson
A multiverse, plenty of twists, and commentary on social inequities, this looks to be SciFi at its best.