Scott McClanahan says
“Jamie Iredell is one of the two or three best writers I know in this world. If you read him—you’ll say the same thing. If you don’t, that’s fine. Your grandchildren will say it one day.”
Monologue topics: bookstores, trying to find 'the perfect book,' low-level panic, Ten Billion, wanting instructions
Antonya Nelson, writing for The New York Times Book Review, says
“Although individual stories stand alone, together they tell the tale of a place, and of the population that thrives and perishes therein… The historical sits comfortably alongside the contemporary and the factual nicely supplements the fictional… Readers will share in the environs of the author and her characters, be taken into the hardship of a pitiless place and emerge on the other side—wiser, warier and weathered like the landscape.”
And The Millions says
“As if Watkins’ prose embodies the desert landscape of Nevada itself, the stories are stony, unkind, and harsh, though never unattractive… Beneath these confessions runs a spiritual undertow—that salvific beauty can arise when brutality is brought to light… All of her stories left me feeling purged and oddly cleansed, easily making Battleborn one of the strongest collections I’ve read in years.”
Monologue topics: titles, titling, Dying Young, nakedly depressing titles.
Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins, says
"In This Is Between Us Kevin Sampsell writes with grace and intimacy about the toughest subject of all—love—and manages to capture a relationship in its natural state: wry and wistful, strange and sexy, humming with desire, quaking with vulnerability."
And Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers, says
"This Is Between Us is an imperturbable, strange, melancholy (but never maudlin) piece of work. Kevin Sampsell straddles the line between candor and oversharing with an artful grace I found infectious."
Monologue topics: mail, art vs. media, Tom Waits, LSD, the devil, doing the podcast live in front of people.
"Wise and engaging...a provocative study of the way war culture ensnares both participant and observer, the warping fascination of violence, and the disfiguring consequences of the roles we play in public...[a] layered, gorgeously nuanced work…the ending is a quiet bomb, as satisfying as it is ambiguous."
And The Daily Beast says
"Alarcón is a young, talented writer who is on the cusp of a breakthrough, a state of mind perfectly captured by the compulsively energetic voice of At Night We Walk in Circles...a gripping story."
Monologue topics: Conan, M.I.A., projected anxiety, kale, milk, mail, Chelsea Martin, alt-lit.
Joy Williams calls it
"A burning mean and darkly mysterious read."
And Kate Zambreno says
"I could tell you that Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon has written an utterly contemporary novel of our fragmented culture, a novel that I think might be the great American novel of the selfie, brilliantly alternating the narratives of two young travelers partying and searching and losing themselves in the wild West — a Kerouac hitchhiker juxtaposed with the nihilistic, wanting, wandering Ruth and her toxic friendship with her prettier best friend. But this is what I want to tell you—this is what you need to know — Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon writes like a beast, brutal and ecstatic. You need to read this."
Monologue topics: celebrity sightings, Book Soup, voicemail, Elliott Holt, my thing, navelgazing
Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, raves
"If ever there was a writer going places, it’s Laura van den Berg, who follows up her debut collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, with the ambitious, modular The Isle of Youth, whose seven stories are arranged along the themes of family secrets with noirish intrigue."
And The New Inquiry says
“Van den Berg excels at complexity, eccentricity, maximalism of plot…Her emphases on elaborate plot and intentional loose ends are a refreshing departure from the contemporary taste for tidy, minimal plot paired with maximal voices.”
Monologue topics: congestion, logistics, obsession with logistics
Cheryl Strayed says
“Monica Drake has written a take-your-breath-away good, blow-your-mind wise, crack-your-heart-open beauty of a novel. The Stud Book is a smart, sexy, comic, compassionate, absorbing, and necessary story of our times.”
And Publishers Weekly says
“What really stands out is [Drake's] depiction of [the] city. This is not the twee wonderland of Portlandia…Drake combines [her characters’] lives in a quirky, knowing way, showing the complexities of modern-day female life, species Pacific Northwest native.”
Monologue topics: Sweden, responding to criticism, Google Translator, self-loathing, weakness, humiliation.
USA Today calls it
"...an intriguing and impressive experiment in storytelling that's full of paranoia, conspiracy theory, love and mystery..."
And The Telegraph calls it
"...a beautiful hardback carefully distressed to look like an old library book, stuffed with astonishing ephemera (postcards, newspaper clippings, photos, letters) that flutter from the turning pages - and a dose of film-industrial chicanery in its cover claims as well..."
Monologue topics: Halloween, voicemail, Chelsea Martin, shyness, curiosity