Robert’s Roundup #37 ( Jan , 2023)

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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited,  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.

MAILING LIST: I just started a mailing list for my publishing company. Will mail out every 2 months and will include excerpts from my Robert’s Roundup columns and other random stuff. MASTADON:

Wow, spent 7 hours yesterday reorganizing my storage unit which stores 90% of my 3000 books. I’ve already culled what can be culled; I just needed to reorganize and realphabetize and rearrange everything for maximum accessibility. Alas, I still haven’t found the Octavio Paz title I have been searching for, but hopefully on Realphabetizing Day 2, this rare treasure will reappear…

REARRANGING BOOKS 2: It never can be said often enough, but it’s hard to grasp just how many wonderful books are out there. Even if you limit yourself to living writers and printed books, you are still dealing with a ton. Alas, I don’t have time to read for fun anymore; all my reading is WORK WORK WORK; Being aware of books and writers is supposed to be my business, yet despite a lifetime of effort, I am still struck by how much remains and the finitude of reading time left for me.

For a bibliophile there is NO GREATER AGONY than realizing that the book you bought earlier at a library book sale turns out to be something you had already bought a decade earlier. (it was a hardback version of Wallace Stegner‘s Collected Stories). I normally double-check any potential purchase against my librarything inventory, but in this case, that possibility never even occurred to me.

Indie Author Spotlight


Under the Radar



Library Purchases/Printed books

I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics of Octavio Paz, but now am reading some wonderful essays. The first two volumes are for sale for $2 as ebooks.

  • On Poets and Others. Wonderful thoughtful criticism of aesthetic topics. Must-read is Paz’s essay on meeting Sartre; it’s sympathetic yet properly critical.
  • Conjunctions and Disjunctions. Poetic analysis of dichotomies between sacred and profane, the prurient and divine.
  • Double Flame: Love and Eroticism. (print-only). A long historical analysis of art, sex and literature starting with classical literature.

Also, I found a 600 page ebook poetry collection of Paz for $2 a year ago. Great deal).

All Souls by Javier Marias (Caught my eye with the blurb by my former teacher J.M. Coetzee).

Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography by Deborah Levy.

Creative Commons/Freebies

Here’s a nice essay by Carlo Rotella about E.R. Eddison’s novel WORM OUROBOROS. (Gutenberg link) I wrote this response:

Thanks for calling attention to an author and novel I’d never heard of. And sure, good storytelling is more than CGI effects. But plain informal language does have a place onscreen and even on the page. For one thing, movies and TV shows are produced for a world audience where lingo and elevated language may not translate well. Second, informal language can render a story more accessible to readers. I always remember with fondness T.H. White’s Sword in the Stone, which mixed high language with vernacular. The main thing that bothers me about these movies is the long set pieces (usually battle scenes or chase scenes). Well-staged dialogue can be suspenseful and exciting too. Too often contemporary movies and TV shows try to create character complexity through cliched backstories (usually a crime or a death) or flashbacks. I wish movies could linger more on dialogue and arguments and confessions and repartee.

Literary Articles and Essays



Thumb, loose tooth of a horse.

Rooster to his hens.

Horn of a devil. Fat worm

They have attached to my flesh

At the time of my birth.

It takes four to hold him down,

Bend him in half, until the bone

Begins to whimper.

Cut him off. He can take care

Of himself. Take root in the earth,

Or go hunting with wolves.


The second points the way.

True way. The path crosses the earth,

The moon and some stars.

Watch, he points further.

He points to himself.


The middle one has backache.

Stiff, still unaccustomed to this life:

An old man at birth. It’s about something

That he had and lost,

That he looks for within my hand,

The way a dog looks

For fleas

With a sharp tooth.


The fourth is mystery.

Sometimes as my hand

Rests on the table

He jumps by himself

As though someone called his name.

After each bone, finger,

I come to him, troubled.


Something stirs in the fifth

Something perpetually at the point

Of birth. Weak and submissive,

His touch is gentle.

It weighs a tear.

It takes the mote out of the eye.

(WOW, this is crazy. Later that same day I seriously sprained my ring finger on my right -hand),



Capsule Book Reviews


Book Roar Review


Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

Huge fan of BOOK PUBLIC podcast. Listened to a great episode of Peter Orner talking about reading and poetry. He was raving about an epic poem by Bernadette Mayer about a single actual day called “Midwinter Day.” I love hearing about overlooked works like this one.

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 SmashwordsThe prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).






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