Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stuff you should read...

So I know, dear readers, that I have not been keeping up with the original purpose of this blog recently--namely to recommend books and stories that I think you would enjoy. But I have still been reading and here's some stuff you should check out.

"Eyes Open" by Patti Abbott at Beat to a Pulp. This is a truly terrifying story. A father witnesses, from a distance, his son and one of his son's friends bullying a child with an intellectual disability. The father fails to deal with this issue at all--his resignation is tragically believable. I think I found this story particularly compelling because I'm in student teaching right now at a middle school--I have quickly discovered that teaching involves making about 10,000 decisions every day. You will make wrong decisions. Though I hope I have more backbone than the guy in this story.

Stick a Needle in My Eye by Julia Madeleine. This is a wicked collection of shorts from a writer who consistently impresses me with her attention to detail and her gift for creating suspense. From a clown who gets bullied and can't take it anymore, to a creepy guy stalking a stripper, Madeleine takes us on a tour of the strange and downtrodden. She has a penchant for crafting characters with mental illnesses--getting trapped in their heads is uncomfortable and oddly satisfying. 

Squid Kills by Jordan Krall. I bought this book completely on impulse--David James Keaton posted something about it on Facebook, and I saw it was bizarro crime (a genre that I love), and so I picked it up. Turns out that was an excellent decision because this book lives up to its promise. Krall starts things off with a surreal hitman story in "Assassination's Secret Domain" in which people use the derogatory term "squid fuckers." Descriptions really don't do this book justice--it's just a twitchy, fever-dream of weird tales and poems that you need to pick up. 


  1. Wow, thanks, Chris. I read this aloud at a book launch last week for a friend last week and people began to talk about it after, about the sin of omission and what would they have done had it been their kid.
    I have never heard a story I wrote discussed before. It was scary but sort of thrilling.

  2. It lends itself to controversy certainly. It's very rare that fiction (or, you know, anything else) makes people act differently but I think this particular story has that capacity.

  3. Wonderful! Made my night. Thanks Chris :)XO

  4. In your third succinct but enticing to future readers and followers of all three stunning authors, you used the phrase ~ "Descriptions don't really do this book justice." Yet, all the Rhatigan descrips that I've ever come across hit the nail on the head -- or put the needle to the eye, as the pageturner might be.

    Am aware and admire two great ladies out of this select three, but after reading your synopsi, all the authoring comes that much more alive for me. As for your teachings and the kind of realities which make reality not seem so, my Matt, 'the Prof' teaches in an inner-city school averaging at least one arrest a day. Takes different eyes to view all the goings on, balance well, give back and keep on keepin' on in those realms. I wish you well Chris, always. (and feel free to connect with my fella to shore up all the quick as a flick decisions you must generate.)

    Fortunately, your mind travels at light speed, even in dark places.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  5. Thanks, Chris. Your thoughts were my first thoughts when I read "Eyes Open." I'm thankful to Patti for dropping it at our door.