Monthly Archives: April 2013

War Dances by Sherman Alexie

War Dances cover

I haven’t read any Sherman Alexie since The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian back in high school, and I had forgotten how much I missed him. Another reviewer, when writing about this book, called Alexie’s work “honest”, and I think that’s really the best description of this little collection of short stories and poems (there’s even a chapter where Alexie gives us a poem he wrote about his father and then deconstructs all the lies in it). Not all the stories are fantastic, but most are lovely and sad. Especially the last one, “Salt,” which will stomp your heart into tiny little pieces and not apologize for it. I also loved the sections where an unknown interviewer asks questions, and Alexie’s responses generally ignore the question completely and create something else entirely, like this exchange in “Big Bang Theory”:

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Bookstore Haul: Eagle Eye Bookshop, Decatur GA

Eagle Eye

Hello my blueberries, and welcome to the second installment of Loud Bookish Type’s irregularly-scheduled bookstore posts! This will be a slightly shorter entry, as it was a much shorter trip – in fact, I was only in the store for about twenty minutes, easily the briefest amount of time I’ve spent in a bookstore in years. So treat this entry as merely an introduction, since I will definitely be back in the future for a more in-depth look at the store.

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The Floating Admiral by Agatha Christie, GK Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, and other members of the Detection Club

Floating Admiral cover

When I was in high school, I was part of a little group of friends who all wanted to be writers. In my sophomore year, we started an informal writing exercise, called The Notebook Game. Basically it would go like this: someone would start writing a story in a notebook (maybe three pages, just to set up the scene and some of the characters), and then give the notebook to someone else, who would continue the story. They would pass it to the next person, and on and on, with the notebook traveling around the group while we wrote the story collectively. There were rules: you could couldn’t hang on to the notebook for longer than a week, you were not allowed to kill off anyone else’s characters or have their characters have sudden unexplained changes of heart (unless the character’s creator gave you permission to do so) and if you wanted your character to make out with someone else’s character you needed the writer’s approval first. The notebook stories were usually abandoned after a few weeks (I remember one that was shared between five or six of us, and no one had any idea what sort of plot to do so we all kept introducing new characters whenever it was our turn to have the notebook), but there was one really successful notebook story that I did with two of my friends. It turned into this (really very dumb) fantasy story about warriors who could turn into dragons (but that ended up not being important) and my big character was a witch who was basically a carbon copy of the main character in this Morgan le Faye novel I was reading at the time, but the point was that she ended up fighting a war with the bad-boy dragon prince and at the end they made out and we were all very pleased with our fifteen-year-old selves. The point is that the stories we managed to create were pretty terrible and usually devolved into total messes, but it was really fun. And I still have the original notebooks that contained the dragon story (it got so long that we ran out of space in the six-subject one we started with, and had to buy a new one for the last few chapters).

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