Bibliohio: Recommended Reading from the Heart-Shaped State

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From the July 31, 2014 edition

“Crystal Eaters,” Shane Jones (Two Dollar Radio, 2014)

twodollarradio.com

Why you’ll love it:

Embedded within “Crystal Eaters” is the certainty that everything is running out, and soon. In the village where the story takes place, all creatures are born with a crystal count that decreases through age or injury. Our protagonist, Remy, knows her mother is dying; the nearby City is mysteriously swallowing up the land; the sun is getting hotter and hotter. Fascinatingly, the structure of the novel hurries us toward impending calamity — it begins with Chapter 40 and counts down to Chapter 0. Shane Jones’ fevered, feral prose will force you to devour “Crystal Eaters” all at once.

See for yourself:

“Remy has had nights where she can’t sleep, thinking about her parents, Brother, the family pulled like puppets away from each other, strings severed by stars. Disease cuts all. Remy wonders when she too will catch an illness and rush toward zero...What will she see in those final seconds? Will there be colors?”

—from page 146

“Inappropriate Sleepover,” Meg Johnson (The National Poetry Review Press, 2014)

nationalpoetryreview.com

Why you’ll love it:

In her debut collection of poems, Meg Johnson’s specialty is exposing the absurdity, humor and disturbing messaging in what we deem “sexy.” “Inappropriate Sleepover” is irrefutably funny — Johnson has a gift for timing and unexpected punchlines. But more significant, to me, is her bold examination of gender performance and objectification. These poems are littered with cast-off items of clothing and classic icons of femininity: Marilyn Monroe, Lolita, Betty Boop. If this book were sexy sweatpants (like those that appear in the book’s first poem), the back would be emblazoned with the word “subversive.”

See for yourself:

“If Lolitas don’t die they become/ Cougars. If Cougars are animals/ then animals run the world. If/ the world is a foxtrot can I get/ a refund? And a redo?”

—from “What You’re Looking For”