Archive for the ‘News and General Posts’ Category

This is happening sooner than I would have liked, but I’m sad to say that this will be the last post on Live Nude Books.  It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who has regularly—or even periodically—checked back: I haven’t posted a review in over seven months, and I haven’t been updating the blog with news or updates on any consistent basis.  Still, I planned on continuing.

At this point in my life, I’m not able to juggle this blog with teaching full time (it’s new to me), working on my own writing, and having a personal life.  Maybe in the future, I will learn to manage my time more effectively.  Until that happens, I will leave this site up, since some of the old reviews and interviews still get hits.

Speaking of which: I would like to thank all of the writers who were kind enough to answer my questions, as well as those who were unable to but responded graciously (this accounts for all of the writers whose books I reviews on this site).  To the publishers who sent me ARC copies for some of the reviews I wrote, and to the people from other book blogs and presses who showed me their support: a huge thank you for all you did for my self-esteem!  Finally, I would like to thank anyone who has checked out this site; I really appreciate you stopping by!

Before I go, I would like to mention three books that are definitely worth checking out.  I had planned on writing reviews for each title, but that was before I got an offer to teach for the Summer Term.  These were not ARC books; I purchased and read them, and I believe in their worth.  If you’re looking for a novel, memoir, and/or young adult story to read, then here are some titles you should look into.

The Bird Sisters, by Rebecca Rasmussen (Crown Publishers)

This impressive debut novel chronicles the summer that slowly tore a family apart, while also providing glimpses into the lives of the two sisters—Twiss and Milly—half a century later.  While they remain bonded to each other after all this time, these two have a polar history together—one that is not commonly known to their neighbors, the details of which have been kept from each other, too.


The Last Deployment: How a Gay, Hammer-Swinging Twenty-Something Survived a Year in Iraq, by Bronson Lemer (University of Wisconsin Press)

In his debut memoir, Bronson Lemer reflects on the final stretch of his military service, when his unit is sent to Iraq.  While serving his country abroad, he is asked to suppress his identity in order to adhere to a political policy.  Lemer doesn’t write with a bitter tone; instead, the prose in this memoir reveals longing—not only a longing to be himself, but also one that allows him to connect with others who shares a common understanding.


Stupid Fast, by Geoff Herbach (Source Books Fire)

Felton Reinstein’s body is changing.  So’s his attitude.  While this teenager begins to grasp the reality of his newly developed athleticism and the friends that come with it, he finds himself at odds with his mother, his brother, and his usual friends.  This YA novel covers familiar territory: the confusion and angst that teenage boys experience as their minds and bodies hit that final growth spurt.  This novel takes a turn from the ordinary coming-of-age story when Felton begins to learn the truth about his father.


Hope to write to you again, soon!

Photo by Danielle Kantrowitz

From the book jacket:

Rebecca Rasmussen teaches creative writing and literature at Fontbonne University.  Her stories have appeared in Triquarterly magazine and Mid-American Review.  She was a finalist in both Narrative magazine’s 30 Below contest for writers under the age of 30 and in Glimmer Train‘s Family Matters contest. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Louis.  [The Bird Sisters] is her first novel.

To read Rebecca Rasmussen’s essay on writing a novel (posted on Cathy Day’s blog), click here.

A Long Overdue Update

Posted: January 15, 2011 in News and General Posts

I originally started this blog as a way to keep my mind sharp (and to remain sane) during the summer before my final year of grad school.  At that time, I noticed that a few books on my to-read list shared something in common: they were the authors’ firsts, mostly published by smaller presses.

Reviewing books that fell under this category and posting them on a blog seemed like a great way to get the word out about these writers to my friends.  And since I was reviewing books from primarily first-time authors, I also figured it would be easier to get interviews from them, too.  I didn’t expect anyone outside my circle of book-loving friends and acquaintances to visit and read the blog.

Turns out that writers and publishers and agents and PR reps check out these kinds of sites, then they send you free books, and almost two years later you’re still working on the same summer project.

That said, I haven’t kept up with the original mission statement: “Once a week, the blog will feature a review of a recent book release…”  At times I’ve gone several weeks, even months, without posting updates, let alone reviews.  This operation is a one-man show—one that doesn’t pay, keep in mind—and with all my other personal and professional obligations, maintaining this site rarely tops my list of priorities.  Even though I wish that weren’t the case.

So I wanted to post a somewhat formal announcement to state that I won’t be reviewing books for this site on any type of regular basis.  Though it shouldn’t really come as a surprise, since I haven’t been posting regularly for some time, now.  Even so, I felt the need to explain myself, in case the updating becomes less frequent than it already has.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve enjoyed what’s been posted so far!

—Dan DeWolf


Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Da Capo Press has released some new titles worth checking out:

Best Music Writing 2010
Ann Powers (guest editor), Daphne Carr (series editor)
November 1st, 2010

From the publisher:

Best Music Writing has become one of the most eagerly awaited annuals out there. Celebrating the year in music writing by gathering a rich array of essays, missives, and musings on every style of music from rock to hip-hop to R&B to jazz to pop to blues and more, it is essential reading for anyone who loves great music and accomplished writing. Scribes of every imaginable sort—novelists, poets, journalists, musicians—are gathered to create a multi-voiced snapshot of the year in music writing that, like the music it illuminates, is every bit as thrilling as it is riveting.

The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II
by Alex Kershaw
October 26, 2010

From the publisher:

December 1944. Soviet and German troops fight from house to house in the shattered, corpse-strewn suburbs of Budapest. Crazed Hungarian fascists join with die-hard Nazis to slaughter Jews day and night, turning the Danube blood-red. In less than six months, thirty-eight-year-old SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann has sent over half a million Hungarians to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Now all that prevents him from liquidating Europe’s last Jewish ghetto is an unarmed Swedish diplomatic envoy named Raoul Wallenberg.The Envoy is the stirring tale of how one man made the greatest difference in the face of untold evil. The legendary Oscar Schindler saved hundreds, but Raoul Wallenberg did what no other individual or nation managed to do: He saved more than 100,000 Jewish men, women, and children from extermination.Written with Alex Kershaw’s customary narrative verve, The Envoy is a fast-paced, nonfiction thriller that brings to life one of the darkest and yet most inspiring chapters of twentieth century history. It is an epic for the ages.

Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book
Sean Manning (editor), Ray Bradbury (foreward)
October 26, 2010

From the publisher:

Lovers of the printed book, arise! Thirty of today’s top writers are here to tell you you’re not alone.
In Bound to Last,an amazing array of authors comes to the passionate defense of the printed book with spirited, never-before-published essays celebrating the hardcover or paperback they hold most dearnot necessarily because of its contents, but because of its significance as a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable object. Whether focusing on the circumstances behind how a particular book was acquired, or how it has become forever “bound up” with a specific person, time, or place, each piece collected here confirms—poignantly, delightfully, irrefutably—that every book tells a story far beyond the one found within its pages.
In addition to a foreword by Ray Bradbury, Bound to Last features original contributions by:
Chris Abani, Rabih Alameddine, Anthony Doerr, Louis Ferrante, Nick Flynn, Karen Joy Fowler, Julia Glass, Karen Green, David Hajdu, Terrence Holt, Jim Knipfel, Shahriar Mandanipour, Sarah Manguso, Sean Manning, Joyce Maynard, Philipp Meyer, Jonathan Miles, Sigrid Nunez, Ed Park, Victoria Patterson, Francine Prose, Michael Ruhlman, Elissa Schappell, Christine Schutt, Jim Shepard, Susan Straight, J. Courtney Sullivan, Anthony Swofford, Danielle Trussoni, and Xu Xiaobin

For a complete list of Da Capo titles, click here.  Stayed tuned for a book review of Bound to Last; it should be posted in the next few days.

Oh, people are always whining about being labeled a Southern writer or a sci-fi writer or a writer of women’s fiction. We love to categorize, and one of the categories I’m associated with is the “Neo-Masculinist” movement. I’m not sure what that means—though if people want to read me that way, fine. I’m not intentionally trying to explore maleness, and I know anything I say on the subject is going to come across as bullshitty intellectualism. I’m just trying to write good stories, and the place those stories come happens to be hairy and sweaty and snarled with barbed wire. When you get down to it, I’d rather move peoples’ hearts than their heads.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

Photo by Jennifer May

From the book jacket:

Benjamin Percy is the author of [the short story collections] The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh.  His honors include the Plimpton Prize, a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories.  His fiction and nonfiction have been published by Esquire, Men’s Journal, the Paris Review, and Orion.  He teaches in the MFA program in creative writing and environment at Iowa State University.

The Wilding is Percy’s first novel.  To read his story, “Somebody is Going to have to Pay for This,” published in the Barcelona Review, click here.

Photo by Tiffany Bolk

From the Writer’s website:

John Jodzio is a winner of the Loft-McKnight Fellowship. His stories have appeared in One Story, Opium, The Florida Review and Rake Magazine and a number of other places, both print and online. He’s won a Minnesota Magazine fiction prize and both the Opium 500 Word Memoir competition and Opium Fiction Prize.  His short story collection “If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home” was recently published by Replacement Press.

To read Jodzio’s most recent published story, “There Was No Yoko,” click here.