Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Planes, trains, automobiles and You Must Be This Happy to Enter and The National Virginity Pledge. That and big thanks to Beaverdale Books.

We are happy to report that we have been to Des Moines and back and we want to thank Alice and Beaverdale Books for hosting us and Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine last night. It is a killer independent book store and we think you just might want to visit them and buy many books. We are also happy to report that we got to visit with the John Domini and his lovely wife and fellow author Lettie Prell, and in the next day or so you can expect a most excellent new Domini-centric edition of This Podcast Will Change Your Life. Finally, sort of, as we drifted between planes, trains, cabs, shuttles, and cars, we got to read, a lot, and we are now excited to give a shout-out to two books we really enjoyed:

First up, You Must Be This Happy to Enter by long-time This Blog Will Change Your Life muse Elizabeth Crane. What's interesting about this book for us, is that it was watching Ms. Crane read the story Donovan's Closet several years back at the Metro when we really got hooked on her and her writing, but as Cranium as this story is, and as funny and at times magically twisted as the stories in this book are overall, it is the two closing stories Most Everything in the World and Promise, that reminded us why we are such fans of hers. Elizabeth Crane knows relationship, and she endlessly, and wonderfully, captures the pain, confusion, and glee that comes with them like few others.

Similarly, the most excellent Barry Graham pulls off a really neat trick with The National Virginity Pledge. On the surface what you get is a series of awesomely disturbed pieces rife with prostitutes, gamblers, tacos, Wal-Mart, car crashes, and bodily fluids. The thing is, while the interplay between these images are entertaining all by themselves, what you come to realize as you slowly lose yourself in Graham's cracked world, is that these stories are also a super-insightful exploration of all the myriad ways relationships go bad, get lost, and leave us wanting.

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