I usually wait until I read a book to promote it, but in this case, I’ve been reading both authors’ work for years. Two books I’m really excited about are Matt Bell’s “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods” and Amber Sparks’ “May We Shed These Human Bodies.” I’m pretty sure Matt Bell is one of the hardest working writers out there, and that’s saying a lot. Even though Matt had a million other things going on as he finished his novella, he sat down with The Fourth River to do an interview, and that was mighty nice of him. My favorite story of his is “His Last Great Gift,” which I’ve taught a few times over the years.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet her in person a couple times and I must say that Amber Sparks is wonderful. It’s hard to pick between “The Dictator is Drinking Alone” or the ultraviolent “Until Your Carcass Explodes on the Canvas” as my favorite story. I’ve never preordered a book in my life, but I’ve made an exception because I want this debut collection in my hands as quickly as possible. In related news, there is a really gorgeous photoset by Charles Bergquist commissioned by Annalemma Magazine for “The Dictator is Drinking Alone.”
And finally, I just wanted to say that Braddock Avenue Books, who is publishing my buddy Sal Pane’s debut novel in November, is officially the next big thing. This publishing company is run by very smart and capable people, and it’s a great new chapter in the story of the rising small city of Braddock, PA.