Robert’s Roundup # 28 (March 2022)

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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited, LE means that lending of this Kindle title is allowed, and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.

Just wanted to say that Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg is one of the most fascinating sci fi/fantasy stories I’ve ever read. Here’s Ted Goia’s essay about the book.

Indie Author Spotlight


Under the Radar

Wow, lots of discounted books for Mariner Books, Open Road Media and Soho Press. All prices are 99 cents unless otherwise noted. (Update: Some of them have gone up in price on Amazon). Update: Now Grove Press seems to be discounting. Update 2: Europa Editions seems to be discounting as well.

Last Flight of José Luis Balboa: Stories by Gonzalo Barr

Wrecking Light: Poems by Robin Robertson

Life & Times of Chaucer by John Gardner.

Rumors from the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews, and Reportage by Valerie Miner. Literary essays with a feminist bent. (Author home page). I discovered Miner’s writing from Smashwords a year ago.

Goddes of Fire by Bharti Kirchner.

Kingdom of the Young: Stories by Edie Meidav.

Had a Good Time: Stories from American Postcards by Robert Olen Butler. Also, a Deep Green Sea.

Flashbacks: 20 Year Diary of Article Writing. by John A. Williams. (Wiki page). African-American essayist and journalism who wrote long-form journalism about world affairs, African-American culture. According to this NY Times obituary,

Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work: Stories by Jason Brown (author home page).

Prelude by William Coles. A British man looks back at his student days and illicit romance with his piano teacher.

Red Ant House: Stories by Ann Cummins. 1.99 (Author home page). Acclaimed story collection by Arizona-based author who writes about working class issues. Oops, discounted to 99 cents a week later, I should have waited!

Collected Memoirs: Ahead of Time, Haven, and Inside of Time by Ruth Gruber.

Fire Year by Jason K. Friedman. Jewish LGBTQ story collection which won a Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Another winner also discounted is Father Brother Keeper by Nathan Pool (stories about rural Georgia).

Cast a Cold Eye: Stories by Mary McCarthy (speaking of which).

Fall of the Year by Howard Frank Mosher. (Home page) Autobiographical novel about a preist’s adopted son in a small town in Vermont.

Yo! by Julia Alvarez. 1.99 Author of poetic In the Time of Butterflies.

Shout Her Lovely Name By: Natalie Serber. Short stories about mothers and daughters.

Poet of Ukraine: Selected Poems of Taras Shevchenko, translated by Clarence Manning. 1.99 Schevchenko is a 19th century poet who is now the national poet. This ebook is a facsimile of a printed book, so maybe read only on your tablet. Clarence Manning was a very distinguished translator who did this one in the 1940s.

Speaking of cheap Ukrainian books, check out Oksana Zabuzhko‘s novels. Museum of Abandoned Secrets and Field Work in Ukrainian Sex. These were published by Amazon Crossing, and she has one more Your Ad Could Go Here as well.

Megapack Memoir by Ruth Gruber. Distinguished Jewish journalist with a literary background who wrote several memoirs of before, during and after WW2.

Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst by Catherine Reid. Nonfiction portrayal of an animal species we probably haven’t thought twice about. Texas author J. Frank Dobie used to write similar kinds of pieces.

Good Life: Stories by Erin McGraw

Various issues of Conjunctions. Editor Bradford Morrow did a smart thing and digitized some but not all old issues of Conjunctions. At the moment over half of the digitized versions are on sale for 99 cents, and a lot go on sale for 1.99. These things were giant-sized over 300 pages when printed and overall high quality. As digital zines, they are somewhat less impressive, but still very high quality and browsable. The only way to keep track is to set up an ereaderiq alert for the author Bradford Morrow. Morrow is also prolific as an author, so this means you’re getting a lot of unrelated alerts. That’s ok! Here’s the list! Hey, Mr. Morrow, if you are reading this, I always loved your magazine when I subscribed in the 1980s and 1990s, but fuck you for never accepting any of my submissions! (Also, fuck you for always having theme issues with strange and unpredictable deadlines!). But lots of love anyway.

  • American Poetry: States of the Art (Conjunctions Book 35) **** This is a must buy!
  • Sleights of Hand: The Deception Issue (Conjunctions)
  • Affinity: The Friendship Issue (Conjunctions)
  • A Menagerie (Conjunctions Book 61)
  • Inside Out: Architectures of Experience (Conjunctions)
  • Other Aliens (Conjunctions)
  • Tributes: American Writers on American Writers (Conjunctions Book 29)
  • The New Wave Fabulists (Conjunctions Book 39) (not now on sale, but wait a little)
  • Natural Causes: The Nature Issue (Conjunctions Book 64)
  • Exile (Conjunctions Book 62)
  • Fifty Contemporary Writers (Conjunctions Book 50)
  • Radical Shadows: Previously Untranslated and Unpublished Works by Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Masters (Conjunctions Book 31)

Village Prodigies by Rodney Jones

Equal Love by Peter Ho Davies. (Author website). Also on sale Ugliest House in the World: Stories. Davies is a Welsch-born author of Asian descent living and teaching in Michigan. Here’s a listicle he created about Top 10 Books about the Unknowable and here’s a podcast he did with Gish Jen about Anti-Asian Racism. Also here’s a keynote video from 2018.

Various sci fi story collections by Paul Di Fillipo: Harsh Oases, Neutrino Drag, Spondulix: A Romance of Hoboken.

Several novels by Padgett Powell: Hologram, Typical (short Stories), Edisto and Edisto Revisited. (Faculty home page and wiki page ).

Behind Closed Doors: Her Father’s House and Other Stories of Sicily By Maria Messina. (wiki page). Sicilian author who died in 1944 (and was mentored by Giovanni Verga). Ten stories of impoverished Sicilian women in the early 20th century—“honed, polished, devastatingly direct . . . verismo at its unsentimental best”

Be Mine by Laura Kasischke. (Wiki page) A novel of “sex, mystery, betrayal, intrigue and violence, all wrapped up in the disturbing world of a middle-aged woman’s deepest desires.” Actually all her titles look great! Several youtube readings from 2012 and from 2011. Great, I see her other fiction is being discounted.

Eveningland: Stories by Michael Knight. (Author website). Winner of Truman Capote Prize for Short Fiction. Here’s a glowing review by Rick Bass. Divining Rod is also 99 cents.

The One-Star Jew: Stories by David Evanier

Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber

Turing’s Delirium: A Novel by Edmundo Paz Soldán (Bolivian author).

Dating Tips for the Unemployed by Iris Smyles. Comedy book (large file!)

Theatre of Illusion by Pierre Corneille, translated by Richard Wilbur. Wilbur would of course do a fantastic translation.

The Eastern Shore: A Novel by Ward Just.

Fearless by Rafael Iglesias. Movie with same title was based on this. Also bought Game Player

Three Thousand Dollars: Stories by David Lipsky. He was in my JHU creative writing program the year before I came, and the title story was published in the New Yorker before he enrolled — what luck!

Forensic Songs: Stories by Mike McCormack. Booker nominee. Library Journal says this Irish novel “effortlessly weaves Raymond Carver’s lucidity together with Franz Kafka’s otherworldly absurdity”

2 book of essays by Roger Rosenblatt: Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life and Anything Can Happen: Notes on My Inadequate Life and Yours. I’ve started reading Rules for Aging; it’s excellent and fun.

Ice-Cream Headache: And Other Stories by James Jones (of From Here to Eternity fame).

Becoming George Sand by Rosalind Brackenbury. I’ve also read Paris Still Love by the same author. Also Without Her is on sale.

Inside Madeleine: Stories by Paula Bomer. Raw, intense female-centered stories.

Law of Enclosures by Dale Peck. Embarrassingly, lots of reviews in mainstream press, but one sarcastic lukewarm review on Amazon. Oh, now I remember Peck; he’s a gay author and critic gained his reputation through author takedowns; who cares really? Also bought Garden of Lost and Found and Greenville.

Twice Told Tales by Daniel Stern. Although the story titles are identical to very famous stories, they are set in contemporary times. I saw him speak in Houston and found them readable (intro by Frank Kermode).

Sexual harassment rules by Lynda Schor.

Burning Down George Orwell’s House by Andrew Ervin.

The Slopes of Lebanon: Essays By Amos Oz.

Finding a Girl in America: And Other Stories by Andre Dubus

News from the End of the World by Emily Jeanne Miller. I ended up going for Brand New Human Being as well.

The Southern Cross by Skip Horack, Antonya Nelson

Wake of Forgiveness: A Novel by Bruce Machart

Cockroach of the Dada Movement: The Life and Selected Works of K. Ungeheuer. Indie published compilation of short prose pieces over several decades. Writes the editor Karl Sigler, “While Ungeheuer’s odd stories echo his contemporaries like Leonora Carrington, Kafka, and Borges, it seems like fate that this collection comes at a time when the new Weird Lit of Vandermeer, Schweblin, and Ligotti command the stage.”

Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of our Times by Amitav Ghosh.

Fireflies in the Night: A Coming of Age Historical Novel by Nalini Warriar

Wrinkles: A Novel by Charles Simmons. Simmons also wrote the satirical novel about book publishing, Belles Lettres Papers.

How to Rob an Armored Car: A Novel by Iain Levison. Humorous novel about working class anxiety set in a dying Pennsylvania coal town. Other novels: A working stiff’s manifesto: memoir and Since the Layoffs.

Texicans by Nina Vida. Frontier story taking place in San Antonio in 1843.

Please don’t come back from the moon by Dean Bakopoulos.

The Spinning Heart: A Novel by Donal Ryan

Winter Sisters by Tim Westover. This Southern novel with magical/fantasy elements won a major indie award.

Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst By: Catherine Reid

Prelude (Novel) by William Coles.

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism by Peter Mountford. First novel set in Bolivia that’s a parable for the global economy.

3 compilation of Alistaire Cooke essays (I love him): America Observed: From the 1940s to the 1980s. Also: The Alistair Cooke Collection Volume One: Letters from America, Talk About America, and The Americans and Patient Has the Floor: Essays

Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos by K.C. Cole short essays about the philosophy of science originally published in Discover Magazine.

2 erotica works by Marco Vassi: Sensual Mirror and Mind Blower. I’m writing a study on his works — I already own hard copies of both works, but want the convenience of having it on Kindle!

Work Shirts for Madmen by George Singleton. I pretty much buy anything by George Singleton, who is one of America’s great authors.

Caroline by Adrian Spratt.

Zig Zag Wanderer: Stories from Here, Stories from There by Madison Smartt Bell.

Testament by Nino Ricci. Story of Jesus Christ told in novel form. This was widely praised for being a serious literary investigation into the subject. I’ll read with an open mind.

Flights by Jim Shepard. Also Kiss of the Wolf.

On a Wave by Thad Ziolkowski.

Passing By: Selected Essays, 1962–1991 by Jerzy Kosinski.

The Cigar Roller by Pablo Medina.

Guys like Me by Dominique Fabre

Two novels by Mary McGarry Morris

Pocket Kings by Ted Heller.

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic. Bosnian-German author. Here’s his debut novel.

A Window Across the River: A Novel by Brian Morton. Also Breakable You.

Drift: Stories by Victoria Patterson (Author Home Page).

Raised from the Ground: by Jose Saramago.

Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings by Italo Calvino.

Grove Press Poetry Series has several poetry books on sale for 99 cents: Dead Man’s Praise by Jacqueline Osherow, Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit by Timothy Donnelly and Plot by Claudia Rankine. All promising, with good reviews by fans.

Three Poems (Poets, Penguin) by John Ashbery.

3 works by Texas author Dagoberto Gilb: Gritos (Essays), Flowers (Novel), Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna.

Caprices by Sabina Murray. (PEN/Faulkner Award winner).

The Rebels’ Hour by Lieve Joris is a journalistic literary work about a Congolese rebel leader who becomes an army leader and navigates the chaos of his lawless country.

Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman. Quirky novel about small town politics.

Books by Fay Weldon. My god, it seems that 75% of Weldon’s novels are on sale for 99 cents!

Pack of Cards by Penelope Lively. (Stories).

Women in Love: And Other Dramatic Writings by Larry Kramer (gay playwright most famous for adapting D.H. Lawrence‘s Women in Love).

Home Schooling: Stories by Carol Windley.

Various books by Alan Sillitoe.

Under the Red Flag: Stories by Ha Jin. (Early story collection which won Flannery O’Connor Award).

Din in the Head: Essays by Cynthia Ozick.

In Favor of the Sensitive Man and other essays by Anais Nin. I’ve resisted her diaries — I never thought Nin was all that important an author — but Volume 5 is at 99 cents, and they’re all published by Mariner, so I expect all to be discounted eventually.

This is How by M.J. Hyland.

That was a Shiver and Other Stories by James Kelman.

This is not Civilization by Robert Rosenberg.

Diezmo by Rick Bass. Noted Texas author writes a historical novel about a tragic military adventure in early Texas history.

What we Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde. Iranian author.

Lay it on my Heart and Home Remedies(stories). By Angela Pneuman. Stegner fellow, Southern stories; for Christ’s sakes, must every fiction work by a Southern author be compared to a)Faulkner, b)Flannery O’Connor or c)Eudora Welty?

Hidden Letters of Velta B. by Gina Ochsner.

Zigzag Way and Diamond Dust (Stories) by Anita Desai.

I already bought it on Google, but I noticed that Margaret Drabble’s Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories is at 99 cents.

Dove of the East and other Stories by Mark Helprin.

Several novels by James Carroll, a New England author who frequently writes about Catholic subjects.

When Mountains Walked by Kate Wheeler. American Buddhist author

Living on Air by Anna Shapiro. Deep character study about growing up in Long Island, NY in the 1960s.

Brothers Boswell by Phillip Baruth. Historical British novel about Samuel Johnson and James Boswell being threatened by Boswell’s younger brother.

2 Novels by Mary Volmer: Crown of Dust (historical novel about the gold rush) and Reliance, Illinois (historical novel about 1870s 13 year growing up. LJ: “a compelling portrait of a small Midwestern town and its residents during a period of great change” (Author website, blog and interview page)

City Son by Nepalese-American author Samrat Upadhyay. Also Guru of Love. (home page and interviews)

Five Moral Pieces by Umberto Eco. Essays about childhood, fascism, etc. Still haven’t read Name of the Rose.

Failure: Poems by Philip Schultz.

Broken String: Poems by Grace Schulman.

Various titles by Laird Hunt: The Impossibly, Kind One, The Exquisite, Ray of the Star. Here’s his twitter and wiki page and a written interview from 2006. Here’s another from 2010. I’d listened to his iambik audiobook eons ago (not on audible apparently)

Carnivore by Mark Sinnett. Award-winning novel about how a natural disaster hitting Toronto affected the marriage of a young couple. (2010 interview about the novel).

The Indie Author project is a new series of state-by-state literary contests which started a few years ago. The great thing about this contest is that 1)there’s a lot of them and 2)the authors are still obscure enough that their ebooks are priced pretty low or even free. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read — although it’s true that several of the prize winners are in genre or series. I don’t have time to list all of them, but I’ll list ones I actually bought.

  • Nine (Book 1 of Series) by C.G. Harris (website). Fantasy & Sci fi.
  • Bootlegger’s Mistress by Marc Curtis Little.
  • Southern Spirits by Angie Fox (Book 1 of Ghost Hunter series). (author website).
  • Back of the Yard by Meg Lelvis. (author website). Houston author who writes historical novels.

 Poetry of Jack Kerouac: Scattered Poems, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, and Old Angel Midnight 

Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World by Oliver Bullough 2.99.

Willow Temple: New and Selected Stories by Donald Hall. 99 cents.

The Animal That Therefore I Am (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy) by Derrida. 2.99 I bought this mainly out of curiosity!

Library Purchases/Printed books


Creative Commons/Freebies


Literary Articles and Essays




Capsule Book Reviews


Book Roar Review


Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

Poet Laura Kasischke gives a poetry lecture:

Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from Smashwords






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