Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Archive for ‘Book Reviews’

We Get Reviews: The Review Broads

October 29, 2010 By: Category: Book Reviews, Press

Rave number two is live and on the Internet! I’m pretty sure this puts us in the running for the Booker Prize this year.

This small volume of brief short stories smashes against any theory that short short stories are not great fiction. Awkward 2 – Brevity fills itself with short stories that run the gamut from crime to bald-faced imagination. Within only 104 pages, this volume is crammed with great short stories and fast-paced and compressed short story writing. They say that poetry remains the compression of thoughts into the smallest amount of words possible; in this manner, the authors of Brevity 2 present short stories that are small microcosms of reality – and unreality. Since I am a lover of fiction, I appreciated the pop-zang effect of creating an imaginary tableau in 1,500 words or less. Short stories have a beginning, middle and end, and to produce a powerful short story in this amount of words shows great intensity and talent.

You can read the whole review right here.

And you can buy the book right here.

We Get Reviews:

October 26, 2010 By: Category: Awkwardness, Book Reviews, Press

I’m proud to announce that Awkward Two just got a GREAT review on! And I quote:

In fact, whether pensive or inventive, there’s a surprise or two in every package – practically every 33 of the micro-short stories – economically bubbling over the bounds of Awkward Two’s one hundred pages. An array of subject matter, themes, styles, tones, and characters are represented. Don’t like one story in this mostly hit, some miss, affair? Turn a page or two, flip on through – there’s another, and another…

Gordon Hauptfleisch,

You can read the whole review right here.

And you can (and should) buy a copy of the book right here.

Pre-review Book Review: Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves

September 09, 2010 By: Category: Book Reviews

This isn’t a book review. It isn’t a book review because I haven’t finished the book. But I’m reading something right now that has already affected more than anything I’ve read in the last … lifetime, or so … and I wanted to put it out into the world in the hopes that others will join me.

Before we started doing the Meet the Writers pieces, I had never heard of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. But after Rachel Lieberman and John Harrower both mentioned it as a book that blew their minds, I had to check it out. My introduction to House of Leaves is exactly as it should be … you want to imagine this book as a grungy, undiscovered masterpiece that one of your friends found mysteriously deposited on his doorstep and passed on to you. The fictionalized jacket copy confirms that this is exactly how Danielewski was hoping you would discover the book … as opposed to going into it fully conscious of the plot and the critical reception. I’m sure I’d be just as captivated if I had read extensive press on it before picking the book up, but it’s an extra bonus to have no preconceived notions.

I’d like to sustain this feeling throughout the rest of the book, so I’m not planning on reading anything about it before I finish. I’d suggest you buy it immediately and do the same. I’ll only tell you this: it is very, very scary. It is dense, but in a very captivating way. It makes Infinite Jest seem like a lark. I don’t know anything about Danielewski, but from what I can gather through the book, he isn’t just a great writer: he is language. Where other people see images, Danielewski sees words. And then he just plucks them from the air and puts them on paper. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve felt like blowing off everything in my life and reading a book, but that is exactly how I’m feeling right now about House of Leaves. Absolutely essential reading.

Awkward Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

June 10, 2009 By: Category: Book Reviews, Greatest Hits

girl-w-the-dragon-tattooOne would assume that a guy who has been a founding member of two publishing companies would probably spend a lot of time reading novels. One would be mistaken. I don’t read that much. I mean, I am always in the middle of a book, but it’s generally a pretty slow, painful process, and the books that really suck me in are few and far between. It’s irritating to me that Goodreads doesn’t have an option to stretch the “date read” column over several months.

That being said, now that we have this lovely new website, I think it’s probably a pretty smart idea to try and fill it with something. And what better thing for a publishing house’s website than book reviews? Answer: no better. There is no better thing.

I picked up a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at BEA last year, the big annual publishing trade show. The editor’s note on the back described it as an “international sensation.” I like international sensations, and books are free like magical candy at the BEA, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Then I read that it was the author’s first book and he died right after delivering the manuscript to his publisher. And everyone knows that people who die are usually the best authors, so, duh.