Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blythe Woolston

Blythe Woolston’s first novel, The Freak Observer, won the William C. Morris debut fiction award.

Her new highly-acclaimed YA novel is Black Helicopters.

Earlier this month I asked Woolston about what she was reading.  Her reply:
From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón

I sought out this book because The Blue Fox enchanted me. I have not been disappointed; The Mouth of the Whale is luminous. The words, sentences, and puzzles of this story click together like the tumblers of a lock. It is that word- and sentence-level artistry that blows my circuits, especially since this is a work in translation. (I am adding more books translated by Victoria Cribb to my TBR list.) I anticipate the release of Sjón's The Whispering Muse at the end of April.

Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall

I had previously read Marshall's poem cycle about Peter Pan, Skeleton Leaves, and found it astonishing. ("There was an Auschwitz in that little boy." ) Hair Side, Flesh Side combines precise craft, poetic sensibility, and a fearless imagination. The result is a collection of stories that will get under your skin. The long list for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award came out a couple days ago, and this book is on it. No wonder.

Rice Boy by Evan Dahm

My eleven-year old son recommended Rice Boy to me. I find it difficult to describe, but epic comic is a start. The story is satisfying, the pages beautiful, and my eyes loved it as much as my brain.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

My editor, Liz Bicknell, turned me on to this one. Where do I start with Timmy Failure? Well, I admire perfect executions of the passive voice, and that subtitle is a thing of beauty. You should read it just so you get to look at the drawing of Emily Dickinson, Crusher of Things with Her Fist. I can honestly say that this book changed the way I see things. Now everything looks like a monkey throwing a chicken.

Strike Three, You're Dead by Josh Berk

I have a dark and miserable soul. I care jack-squat about baseball. I am not a middle-grade boy. None of that mattered; I was just off on a murder mystery joy ride with Lenny and the Mikes. I picked this up because I'd read and enjoyed Berk's previous books. Josh may not convert me into a baseball fan, but I'm a fan of his writing.
Visit Blythe Woolston's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue