Robert’s Roundup #30 (May, 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.

This month will probably have a smaller number of discoveries/purchases. (I bought a ton of books in March 2022 and am still catching up). I’m still caught up in the Russian attack on Ukraine, so that colors my blogging accordingly.

This month after doing lots of research I bought a bigass floor lamp from Ikea. (the Hektar floorlamp model). Boy I’m happy with that. I have a hard time reading books in anything less than bright light, and this lamp fits the bill perfectly. It’s only $70 and the only catch is that it’s slightly tricky to assemble.

Other news is that I broke down and bought a subscription to New York Review of Books. I don’t love this journal, and its coverage of fiction is pretty skimpy and limited to the self-consciously high-brow, but I generally enjoy the contributors and the longish essays by JC Oates, Vivian Gornick. Now that I think of it, I’m not that impressed with any book review journal at the moment; either they are too taken with NY publishers, are too niche-specific (especially with scifi) or too open-minded to series and genres. I personally like drinking from the spigot — reading MidWest Book Review, City Book Review, Publishers’ Weekly and Kirkus. (Actually even though NPR Books covers the more obvious offerings, it reviews more titles than anybody else, so you could do worse than to read that for book suggestions). You’d be amazed at how seemingly-highbrow publications like Popmatters have laughably bad book review sections. The essays are good, (I guess) but the books are about overpriced print titles (graphic novels, etc), cultural history and criticism, biography, YA shit, fashionable sci fi and memoirs by cool people. I have a friend Michael Barrett who publishes topnotch film crit on Popmatters and I’ve read excellent musical reviews, but book reviews –fagettaboutit!

(By the way, you really should check out the blogroll of literary critics. If you’re reading on a laptop, it will appear in the right sidebar; or on mobile devices it will appear below all the blogposts (yes, that’s a problem I know).

Indie Author Spotlight


Under the Radar

Natural Trajectory of Human Consciousness: 10 Speculative Stories by William W. Chan.

Rat by Kevin Lavey

Watershed by Colin Dodds

Accidental Child by Karen Douglass

Other Hand Clapping by Marco Vassi — philosophical/erotic novel.

Reality by Other Means by James Morrow. (Big story collection by this fabulist/fantasy writer).

Evil Geniuses by Kurt Anderson (author website) Political history that tries to explain why progressives keep losing and not getting anything done in American society. The short answer is because GOP are obstructionist and benefit from the power of corporations (duh!) Anderson has observed that it’s easy for young liberal-minded people to assume good faith on the part of their conservative opponents. Gradually it becomes clear that it is not an even matchup because progressives keep losing. I personally would point to climate change. Despite the rhetoric, pretty much the federal government has done next to nothing to regulate carbon emissions or enact legislation to wean people off fossil fuels. I’m sure as I delve into this book, the book is liable to fall into generalizations, but I’m very sympathetic about the issue and how to solve it. I enjoyed his previous book Fantasyland which put Trump’s ascension into historical context.

Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet–And How We Fight Back by Kate Aronoff. (twitter) Aranoff is a first rate environmental reporter covering both the crisis and the tepid political response. I’m sure this book strings together articles from the Intercept, Nation, New Republic — and frankly I read so closely in the field that this might all be a review for me, but her writing is so good that it’s worth re-reading just to remember where we were a few years ago.

New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent edited by Margaret Busby. 1.99. Distinguished 1200 page anthology including contributions from not only Africa, but lots of African-Americans as well. This is an expansion of an earlier print-only edition.

Library Purchases/Printed books

Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind by Siri Hustvedt. I’m currently reading/buying any book by Hustvedt, but they rarely are priced moderately. (June update: I found some low priced copies on Better World Books).

Plato at the Googleplex : Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away by Rebecca Goldstein.

Creative Commons/Freebies


Literary Articles and Essays




Capsule Book Reviews


Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc


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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