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JK Evanczuk

JK Evanczuk
Likes bubbles, robots, and surrealism.

Would someday like to be a literary rock star, but will settle for time being as a literary busker.

julia@litdrift.com

Free Book Friday: Girl Unwrapped by Gabriella Goliger

By JK Evanczuk on Friday, January 7, 2011 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Lina Harper for getting a free copy of Daniel Allen Cox’s Krakow Melt.

This week, we are giving away a copy of Girl Unwrapped by Gabriella Goliger. A powerful tale of the burdens and blessings of history, the divided self, and the quest to be whole, Girl Unwrapped is a coming-of-age story set in 1960s Montreal. Toni Goldblatt’s awakening to taboo desire conflicts with the expectations of her Holocaust-scarred parents and with the conservative mores of her times. Yearning to re-invent herself, she flees to Israel in the wake of the 1967 war, but the Zionist dream doesn’t save her; instead, she finds the realities of life in the Middle East more complex than she imagined, and that her quest for normalcy has been thwarted. Only on her return to Montreal, when she discovers kindred spirits in the underground lesbian bar scene, does Toni begin to accept herself and find her own path. Achingly honest, Gabriella Goliger’s Girl Unwrapped is a novel about forbidden love, isolation, and the search for personal truth despite the stranglehold of family history.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Free Book Friday: Krakow Melt by Daniel Allen Cox

By JK Evanczuk on Friday, December 31, 2010 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Hannah Ensor for getting a free copy of Color Plates by Adam Golaski.

This week, we are giving away a copy of Krakow Melt by Daniel Allen Cox. This second novel by Lambda Literary Award finalist Daniel Allen Cox (Shuck) is an incendiary story about two pyromaniacs who fight homophobia in Krakow, Poland, one of the fronts of the Solidarnosc revolution that eventually toppled the Berlin Wall in 1989. It’s 2005, and Poland is grappling with its newfound role as a member of the European Union; the nation dips into moral crisis as Pope John Paul II (a Pole) hovers near death while the country’s soon-to-be president makes homophobic declarations. Radek, a bisexual artist and a practitioner of the extreme urban sport parkour, is convinced that fire is the great stabilizer. While creating miniature replicas of the world’s great infernos―Chicago 1871, San Francisco 1906, London 1666―he meets Dorota, a literature student and budding pyromaniac. Driven by rage, sexual curiosity for one another, and Pink Floyd, they buck church, government, and the LGBT community to find sexual freedom, escaping their enemies by scaling the crumbling walls and ideas of the city. Provocative and unnerving, Krakow Melt is at once a love letter and a fiery call to arms.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Patti Smith Started My Heart Again

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - View Comments

I’ve just finished downtown fixture and prolific rock and roll poet Patti Smith’s latest, Just Kids. I expected a full autobiography and, in a way, it is, but what’s really special is that it’s an incredible love story for the tomes. Smith shows us what love looks like in all stages, even when her partner, the famous Robert Mapplethorpe, admitted he was gay and eventually died from AIDS. Robert and Patti are always one—a string the weaves through them and that glows when either is in need of the other.

I’ve been a huge Patti Smith fan for a while. I learned her through her music. Her 1975 album, Horses, is one of the best albums of the century. Her voice has a girl-like-Leonard Cohen-mixed-with-Tom Waits ramble and her sound is simple. But what really shine are her words. Once I discovered this, I jumped into her poetry.

I consider myself a poet and have been writing seriously for over ten years. Until yesterday, however, I hadn’t written a poem in almost a full year when I wrote one daily. My website grew static, no one had visited. It was dark and dull—perhaps a relic from Victorian England. Poetry is part of my soul and I felt I were dying, suffocating with lack of creativity.

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Free Book Friday: Color Plates by Adam Golaski

By JK Evanczuk on Monday, December 27, 2010 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Ben Campbell for getting a free copy of A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness.

This week, we are giving away a copy of Color Plates by Adam Golaski. Color Plates is a museum of stories, curated by a sort-of Mary Cassatt. Four rooms of Mary’s museum are open to the public, and they are named Éduoard Manet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Mary Cassatt. Color Plates contains sixty-three little stories—plates—spun from real paint­ings by these painters. The stories range from sweet to weird, from melancholy to funny. This isn’t just a short story collec­tion, and it isn’t a novel, but something else entirely. The plates each stand alone, offering startling visions and situations. Yet at the same time, Color Plates of­fers the depth of a novel, with recurring characters, themes, and motifs. The mu­seum says: My name is Mary and Mary is my museum. Paintings are brushstroke upon brushstroke. With a pencil I lift each brush­stroke and make lines. Line upon line, story upon story, the small fictions in Color Plates will engage you, delight you, and challenge you to consider the intersections between art and time. Read an excerpt here.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Rose Metal Press.

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Free Book Friday: A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness, Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction

By JK Evanczuk on Friday, December 17, 2010 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Daniela Olszewska for getting a free copy of How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic by Peter Jay Shippy.

This week, we are giving away a copy of A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness. The four chapbooks collected in A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness revel in the succinctness of their form. Three of them finalists and one of them the winner of the first annual short short chapbook contest held by Rose Metal Press, each author explores the underlying tension anchored beneath each story of 1,000 words or less. These stories are peculiar; they resonate with restlessness. They are deft, they are gritty, and they are lyrical. Laughter, Applause. Laughter, Music, Applause by Kathy Fish, Wanting by Amy L. Clark, Sixteen Miles Outside of Phoenix by Elizabeth Ellen, and The Sky Is a Well by Claudia Smith combine four multi-layered portrayals of beautiful uneasiness into a collection rich with wit, grace, and originality. Read an excerpt here.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Rose Metal Press.

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Free Book Friday: How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic by Peter Jay Shippy

By JK Evanczuk on Friday, December 10, 2010 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Alexander for getting a free copy of Brevity & Echo: An Anthology of Short Short Stories, edited by Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney.

This week, we are giving away a copy of How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic by Peter Jay Shippy. A book-length narrative poem, or a novella-in-verse if you prefer, How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic is a novel-poem with a literary sci-fi bent, a shadow-text to Oedipus written in a style that is up-to-the-minute. With wit, dynamism, and cutting senses of urgency and humor, Iowa Prize winner Peter Jay Shippy tells the tale of Isaac Makepeace Watt, a melancholy man living in a Thebes that is much like contemporary America.  The House of Cadmus still rules (and will fall), but they only appear in the poem as media white noise. Isaac’s concerns are personal, his father’s illness and his own moral decrepitude. There are talking monkeys, plagues, oracles, and nano-robots—the usual agoramania. Read an excerpt here.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Rose Metal Press.

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Free Book Friday: Brevity & Echo: An Anthology of Short Short Stories, Edited by Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney

By JK Evanczuk on Friday, December 3, 2010 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Tee for getting a free copy of Eric Gansworth’s Extra Indians.

This week, we are giving away a copy of Brevity & Echo: An Anthology of Short Short Stories, edited by Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney. Brevity & Echo is an essential anthology of previously published short shorts by Emerson College alumni. Emerson College was one of the first and remains one of the only writing programs in the country to offer specific classes in and extensive support for the short short story. Brevity & Echo is a celebration of this continuing legacy and of short shorts as a rich and expanding genre. Brevity & Echo contains work by Don Lee, Denise Duhamel, Lee Harrington and many more, as well as an introduction by Ron Carlson and an afterword by Pamela Painter. These tiny fictions—the longest weighing in at 1400 words and the shortest at just 55—appeared originally in the pages of such books and journals as McSweeney’s, StoryQuarterly, Quick Fiction, What If?, Night Train, failbetter, and Best American Non-Required Reading. Read an excerpt here.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Rose Metal Press.

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By JK Evanczuk on Thursday, December 2, 2010 - View Comments

Do you ever crave poorly-written fiction? If so, why?

More: Briefs

“I’m going to write a novel.” “For the love of all that is holy, why?”

By JK Evanczuk on Thursday, December 2, 2010 - View Comments

The robot voices add a nice touch.

Free Book Friday: Extra Indians by Eric Gansworth

By JK Evanczuk on Monday, November 29, 2010 - View Comments

Welcome to this week’s Free Book Friday, wherein we give you the best titles in indie publishing for the low low price of nothing. Congrats to last week’s winner Ben for getting a free copy of E. E. King’s Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife.

Extra Indians by Eric Gansworth

This week, we are giving away a copy of Extra Indians by Eric Gansworth. Every winter, Tommy Jack McMorsey makes the long haul from Texas to northern Minnesota to watch the meteor showers. One cold night, in a moment of kindness, Tommy picks up a deluded Japanese tourist determined to find the buried ransom money from the movie Fargo. When she dies of exposure in Tommy Jack’s care, a media storm erupts, jarring loose pieces of Tommy Jack’s past: the horrors of Vietnam, a love affair, and the suicide of his closest friend, Fred Howkowski. The story wends between a string of haunting memories and the present: Tommy Jack’s aimless life as truck driver and husband, Fred Howkowski’s thwarted career as an actor in Hollywood, and the return of Tommy Jack’s estranged adoptive son to Big Antler, Texas. Exploring the ways images, stereotypes, and depictions of identity intersect with reality and lived experience, Extra Indians offers a powerful glimpse into contemporary American Indian life. Read an excerpt of Extra Indians here.

This week’s Free Book Friday is sponsored by Milkweed Editions. Read more »