Five Books You Need to Read This Summer, Part III

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Poetry is a difficult thing. It’s not really. We say it is as an excuse to not think about it. Turns out poetry isn’t really about being difficult or easy; it’s about thinking and feeling and reveling in that. So I can’t recommend highly enough the newest poetry collection from Emma Bolden, medi(t)ations from Noctuary Press.


These poems present themselves in what has become a kind of standard avant garde formalism, yet what makes Bolden’s work stand beyond this (which is too often merely a gimmick for hollow sentiment) is her narrative. The poetry of medi(t)ations cleaves the seemingly ever present tension between mind and body.


Bolden translates a kind of bodily pain (her real, lived physicality) into a swirl of gifted thought about how it feels both in abstract and in concrete terms with and without others.


Remember, the death of the cell is the vigor of the organism. Bolden does a better job of explaining her project in this interview than I’ve done here. Point is, this is a superb poetry collection.


There are a slew of small literary journals and presses that are using social media and digital culture to infuse poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with the beautiful immediacy and lasting pleasure of flash literature. Boaat Press is one of these. It’s nascent chapbook catalog is probably one of the best out there.

Alison Strub’s prose poetry collection Lillian, Fred is a delightful non-conversation. Strub has called it parallel conversation and it’s an excellent exercise in two people talking passed one another. Or, more specifically, the frenzied Fred, who is at once every insufferable girlfriend, clingy fuckboi, catty bestfriend, and callow chauvinist, and the wry nearly automaton Lillian. Yet somehow these two speaking becomes endearing in a truly maddening manner, which is why I love the book.

This moves us into more navigable waters. That is, prose. Melville House is a premier press. There is nothing about this publisher that I don’t love. This July we all should engage two new releases–Death By Video Game by Simon Parkin and The Money Cult by Chris Lehmann.


Gaming is not a fad; it has become a major sport, social platform, and art form. With its rise, gaming, gamers, and gameplay are just now starting to produce some genuinely thoughtful and critically rigorous commentary and analysis. Parkin’s book revolves around a series of questions: “What is it about video games that inspires such tremendous acts of endurance and obsession? Why do we so thoroughly lose our sense of time and reality within this medium? How in the world can people play them . . . to death?” Fucking fantastic, I’m in.

After reading David Graeber’s Debt, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Lehmann’s The Money Cult. Given the rampant populist idiocy sweeping the nation during this election year, I can safely say in a very boorish tone that this book will be a must-read to decipher the 2016 election. More importantly, too few of us inquire into the traits we hold up as a nation. Not just what those traits are but how the surfaced and continue to undergo a transmutation into the regularly hypocritical, myopic, yet simultaneously earnest and resolute fetish for coin. But take my line with a grain of salt, I’m an atheist Green whose waist deep in a 1600 page biography of Trotsky.

Finally, there’s Mexician author Laia Jufresa‘s novel Umami, a work that I’m acutely excited to get into.


This novel feels as though it will be heavy about the presence of absence: A girl plants a garden in a Mexico City apartment complex designed after a diagram of the tongue people with characters loaded with regret and mourning. Jufresa’s novel has so much promise and the random detached snippets I’ve read leafing through it have only secured my belief that this will be superb.


If you liked this article, then consider supporting me via my Patreon site. Even a small pledge helps.

This article was made possible thanks to support from my patrons:


Rachel Racicot 

Tyler Whitesides 

Patrick Casey

Nathaniel E. Baker

Amy Henry

Wckr Spgt 

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