Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s July 2022 Book Preview

July 2022 Books

What are we looking forward to reading this month? Stories of the uncanny, for one thing. Candid true-life stories, for another. If there’s a running theme here, it might well involve New England, which several of the writers with books out this month have ties to. Does this prefigure us spinning off Vol. 1 New England? We can’t say for sure, but if you read on, we can point you in the direction of some notable July books.

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Jerry Stahl’s Droll Prose Enlivens His Whistle-Stop Tour Of Death Camps

Jerry Stahl

There aren’t many authors today who are willing to revisit the Holocaust and write about it. But then again, most authors aren’t Jerry Stahl, who has the chutzpah to pull it off masterfully. The author of Permanent Midnight (1995), I, Fatty (2004), and OG Dad (2015), was feeling depressed in 2016, and he wanted to feed his unhappiness to quell his demons. So, he scheduled a trip to Poland and Germany to tour the Nazi death camps. His mode of travel – a charter bus replete with a tour guide who was well-versed on Hitler, Koch, Mengele, and other lunatics who found joy in torturing and killing Jews. Stahl chronicles his experience in Nein, Nien, Nein! One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust. Throughout the book, released this week, Stahl writes exactly what he thinks, and some of his thoughts – such as “Hitler ripped the world apart like a child tearing the head off a doll” – reminds reader of just how horrific the events that occurred at the death camps were. The author’s witty prose is appreciated because without levity a trip around the concentration camp horn would make any man or woman beg for mercy. His ability to provide his readers with a seat on the bus to experience the tour is exceptional. There was only one man for this job, and that man is Jerry Stahl. 

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Video Games, Living Abroad, and the Making of “The Pain Eater”: An Interview With Kyle Muntz

Kyle Muntz

This month sees the release of The Pain Eater, the new novel from Kyle Muntz. It’s a book about the ways in which two brothers deal with their shared grief. It’s also a novel in which a bizarre creature emerges from the corpse of a deceased cat. Muntz’s writing has ventured into other disciplines as well, including a video game titled The Pale City. What led to the creation of the pain eater and The Pain Eater? Read on and find out.

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You Must Be a Monster: An Interview with Nate Lippens

Nate Lippens

Nate Lippens’s debut novel My Dead Book was released in 2021 through the Fellow Travelers Series by Publication Studio. The book was released in 2022 with Pilot Press. 

Let’s start on an upbeat note. What’s your funeral song?

Could it be a funeral hit parade? Maybe Nina Simone’s take on “My Way,” which to me is better than versions by Frank Sinatra, Sid Vicious, and even Nina Hagen. “Is That All There Is?” by Peggy Lee. There’s “You’re Dead” by Norma Tanega, Jimmy Scott’s cover of “Heaven” by Talking Heads, and my sentimental favourite “Dream Baby Dream” by Suicide. Diamanda Galas’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” But really, I’d like people to have some fun. So maybe “Saturday Night At The Bookstore” by Dicks, my favourite queer Texan communists, about cruising glory holes at porn arcades, or Patrick Cowley’s mix of Sylvester’s “Do You Want To Funk?” with those bellowing screams at the beginning. 

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Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 82: Jennifer Robin)

Jennifer Robin

JENNIFER ROBIN is the author of Death Confetti (Feral House, 2016) and Earthquakes in Candyland (Fungasm, 2019) and the chapbook Even Snowflakes Heal and You Can Download Skin (Ladybox, 2016). Robin’s July 2022 release on Far West, You Only Bend Once with a Spoonful of Mercury, is a collection of dreams written for a live audience on social media. Her book of vignettes about American barbarism, selling boots to foot fetishists, and the joyless chewing of Thanksgiving turkey, DESTROY NOTHING (the most important thing) will be released by Future Tense in 2023.

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Predators and Ghosts: A Review of Meg Tuite’s “White Van”

White Van

Meg Tuite’s latest collection, White Van, has foreboding, danger, and violence from cover to cover. Even the haunting cover with lightning striking a black van, defies our expectations and turns things upside down.  Tuite’s collection is a series of poetic prose entries; some of the sections seem straight micro-fiction, while others appear more like poems. They defy easy categorization, just like Meg Tuite. What draws each one together is the brutal energy of a world of serial killers, pedophiles, pornographers, kidnappers, suicides, prostitutes, and loners. Tuite’s dystopian landscape is one I remember well from my Brooklyn of the 1980s.  Each kid on the block was told to watch out for the infamous white van because you didn’t know what would happen if they grabbed you and threw you in there. Did it mean death? Dismemberment? Sexual exploitation? Rape? Drugs? Prostitution? Your imagination and nightmares were left to sort the dark, twisted possibilities. Tuite plays with this fear and journeys readers down the rabbit hole into this unnamed, but presumably American, hellscape of torture and brokenness, and she does so with a jarring style of brutal intensity as she bears traumatic witness to pain, suffering, abandonment, and forgetfulness. 

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Stress Writing: A Review of “The Red Zone: A Love Story” by Chloe Caldwell

The Red Zone

Chloe Caldwell is an essayist known for her bold personal essays, resonant pieces about love, longing, addiction, and attempting to find meaning in mundanity. Heidi Julavits once wrote, in a review of Caldwell’s 2016 collection I’ll Tell You in Person (Emily Books, 2016), “Chloe Caldwell has written the ideal ‘female companion book’ – meaning, while reading I’ll Tell You in Person, I felt like I had a female companion with me at all times.” Her inviting and unpretentious prose imbues a strong sense of warmth into all of her work, allowing the essays to read like an assortment of polished diary entries. 

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