Books I’ve Read Lately: March 2017
before you suffocate your own fool self by Danielle Evans :: This collection, focused primarily on the lives of women of color (though one is from a male point of view), is spectacular. It’s not often that a short collection of rather long short stories can keep the momentum from beginning to end while also delivering succinct characters, plot, and insight. This collection delivers. Each story is imbued with a sense of melancholy and longing. It’s never quite on the surface and isn’t spoken except within a character’s own thoughts. The opening story, “Virgins,” moves fast and ends exactly as it should, which is not to say it is happy. Some of the stories have more finite ends (“Snakes” and “Robert E. Lee is Dead”) while others leave the ends intentionally up in the air with only clues given to the reader as to which way the character’s life unfolds (“Harvest” and “Jellyfish”). Its ambiguous endings won’t be for everyone, but there are enough clues throughout the stories that a thorough reading will answer your questions and leave you satisfied. (more…)
Where to Go: Birmingham
It wouldn’t be fair to say I’ve explored Birmingham because it was really a short stopover in one part of the city. A beautiful, worthy-of-consideration-and-visitation stopover, but a stopover nonetheless.
If I were to plan the trip over again, I would have us do a stopover in Myrtle Beach, or skip it entirely, in order to have a few days to spend in Birmingham. The history, the significance, the beauty, the people. All of these things are more than worthwhile and I continue to kick myself for not taking the extra time to appreciate it.
This city’s posts will be brief and full of color, much like my stay in the city.
– M. Ray Hall
DIY: Author Wall Installation
Years ago, when I was scouring home blogs and sites for designs or art pieces – I’m not the only person who still has a file for such a thing on their desktop instead of using something like Pinterest, right? – I came across a wallpaper I just loved. It was black and white, a little faded, and it bore the names of many authors who had inspired me to pursue my own writing. It was also wildly expensive; it didn’t match anything else I liked; and I didn’t have a library to put it in (which, of course, was where I wanted it to go). I tossed it in the folder anyway, the little image outlasting dozens of deletions and begging for a home.
Flash forward to two years ago and J and I purchased a house, a house wherein we built a library (or rather, where we built me an office that happens to be crowded by books). The wallpaper, somehow, was still available (!!!). It was also still expensive and in black and white and devoid of the many female authors whose work I find inspiring. The other issue was that the wall I wanted to use needed something less, well, flat. And so, an idea was born: an author wall installation. (more…)