Two for Tuesday: Meg Tuite and Melanie Page

It’s Tuesday again, and today is the second installment of our Two for Tuesday column. I asked two friends if they were willing to choose two of their fairly new reads, and write a short “blurb” about why they liked it, or the impact the book had, impressions, etc. Both said “sure!” I love my friends. Here it is, hope you enjoy it:

TWO FOR TUESDAY: MEG TUITE

Elegantly Naked in My Sexy Mental Illness by Heather Fowler is 16 stories that ‘cross unseen barriers’ created by a world that pretends these characters are far-removed from our existence: the obsessions, the phobias, the voices. Fowler exposes the fraudulence of our so-called ‘sanity’ in every one of these stories by revealing scars, secrets, traumas through characters that are not only familiar, but familial: humanity masked behind drapes.

“They made their lives with monotony. She ached for something new. I stole in, invisible, as I always do. It is easy to steal a heart unguarded, as easy as opening an unlocked door. I watched her and touched her–expecting nothing.”

“Blood drenched our fields. It made us see red. The poor would not wait.”

Fowler whisks us smoothly through the 12th century to the present to remind us that ‘then and now,’ are interchangeable with judgment, death sentence, class issues, vengeance and the lust to dominate someone just beyond our reach.

Heather Fowler’s writing is inimitable and unforgettable. She is fearless while storming through uncharted waters. Get a copy!

http://www.queensferrypress.com/books/elegantlynakedinmysexymentalillness.html

Paperback and e-book: 296 pages; Queen’s Ferry Press (May 26, 2014)

Heather Fowler

 

********************************************************************************

if i would leave myself behind by Lauren Becker is an astonishing collection of 28 stories and one novella. Get ready to be rearranged and turned inside out. The narrator climbs inside you and messes with your internal organs. My heart will never be the same. Every paragraph is its own brilliant landscape of relationships and how they move or stagnate as the narrator warns pursuers of a future she has already anticipated:

“You will disappoint me. Perhaps you must. I don’t know otherwise and will be confused at the absence of disappointment. You are just another and I am only me. I give you full permission to be everything I don’t want. In fact, I insist. And you don’t need my permission. It will only impel you to do the opposite and the opposite would be distressing to us both.”

“I climb into his beautiful mouth and I am his mouth and his pain and his words.”

But the true relationship is between reader and narrator. Moving from 1st person to 2nd person, Becker never leaves us behind. The door is open and we are in her thoughts, her fears, her hangovers, her refrigerator, on her couch, blasted face-on with her fierce honesty that makes this collection a life-long friend and necessity. It is a book that will never cease to inspire me. If you don’t have this collection, than you are truly missing out on writing at its best.

http://www.curbsidesplendor.com/shop/if-i-would-leave-myself-behind

Paperback: 120 pages; Curbside Splendor Publishing (June 17, 2014)

Lauren Becker

Meg’s Bio: Meg Tuite’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals. She is the author of two short story collections, Bound By Blue (2013) Sententia Books and Domestic Apparition (2011) San Francisco Bay Press, and three chapbooks, the latest titled, Her Skin is a Costume (2013) Red Bird Chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Collaborative Poetry award from Artistically Declined Press for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging (2014) written with Heather Fowler and Michelle Reale. She teaches at the Santa Fe Community College, lives in Santa Fe with her husband and menagerie of pets. Her blog: http://megtuite.com.

******************************************************************************

TWO FOR TUESDAY: MELANIE PAGE

Lately, most of my reading is the result of required reading for a course I’m teaching, or for a virtual book tour I’m coordinating. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t love and/or admire the book, for I wouldn’t work with texts I don’t enjoy.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X—with Alex Haley. I read the excerpt of Malcolm X learning to read in prison in a textbook from which I was teaching. After reading the book myself, I knew I had to teach it to others. Not only is Malcolm X’s story of parents murdered and driven insane, to graduating 8th grade, to hustling the streets of Harlem—which leads him to prison—amazing, but inspires students in my ENG 101 class. Many of them come from small beginnings only to see what reading, critical thinking, and discipline can do for one person. I think Malcolm X still speaks to those who feel small. In fact, my used copy has an inscription: “11.25.92 To Bobo, Because it’s your birthday and because we have to keep abreast of current events. You are a warm, genuine, fabulous person! I’m totally happy you’re my friend…love, Hammer.”

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (As Told to Alex Haley): Malcolm X, Alex Haley, M. S. Handler: 9780345376718: Amazon.com: Books

Paperback: 466 pages; Ballantine Books, 1992 edition.

Malcolm X

*******************************************************************************

Her Own Vietnam—Lynn Kanter. Lynn’s book I am reading as part of a forthcoming virtual book tour. While most novels and movies focus on the male perspective of war, Lynn views Vietnam from the eyes of Della, a young nurse who signed up for the sake of school money. Only one year in the field changes Della forever. Readers don’t experience that numbing fear in the field, which we often get from a soldier’s perspective, but the carnage, the burning, maggot-infested, limbs missing or dangling side of it. The nurses get bags of body parts and must play match the pieces. Told from two time periods (in Vietnam and as a 50-something nurse and mother), Della’s life is one amazing story to read.

Her Own Vietnam: Lynn Kanter: 9780991355525: Amazon.com: Books

Paperback: 214 pages; forthcoming November 2014 from Shade Mountain Press.

Lynn Kanter

Melanie Page teaches in Michiana. She is the creator of the ladies-only blog, Grab the Lapels, where you can catch reviews and interviews every M/W/F (or there about). Her fiction is mostly in small-press anthologies, like Tales of Excess (Unknown Press), Wreckage of Reason II (Spuyten Duyvil), and Dirty: Dirty (Jaded Ibis).

********************************************************************************

Thanks so much, Meg and Melanie! The two books I read recently that are worthy of a mention are Sylvia Plath’s Ariel: The Restored Edition; and Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition. Interesting that both of these texts appeared in previous publications apparently not in the form/ format of the author/ poet’s initial desires. Check them out! I highly recommend both.

 Sylvia PlathGertrude Stein

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Meg Tuite and Melanie Page

  1. megtuite

    “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” is vivid in my mind as an exceptional book that should be part of all curriculum for high school students. I read this one a few times through and it blew me away every time! It is all about POSSIBILITY! It gives hope to ALL who read it! LOVE IT! Thanks, Melanie

    Reply
    1. Robert Vaughan

      I have to say I LOVE your picks this week. You and Melanie nailed this Two for Tuesday Meg! And I am so, so grateful for your eager participation and support of great writers like Fowler, Becker, Malcolm X, and Kanter. I hope you join us next week for another fun Two for Tuesday!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *