Books of the Month: April 2024

April 2024 Books

Was this edition of our monthly book preview column delayed by the earthquake? It wasn’t not delayed by the earthquake, if you know what we mean. We’re pretty excited about what this month has in store when it comes to books, including several new works by writers we’ve published in these very (virtual) pages. Read on for some suggestions for your spring reading.

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The Real Stories of Fictional Bands: An Interview With Aug Stone

Aug Stone

In an era where nearly every detail about every piece of music recorded in the last couple of decades is widely available, what does it mean when an entire band’s body of work turns elusive? That’s the question at the heart of Aug Stone‘s new novel The Ballad of Buttery Cake Ass, the story of the search for the history of a cult early-80s band — and the reasons why their music went unheralded in their day. I spoke with Stone about the making of the novel, creating lengthy discographies for fictional artists, and the challenges of writing convincingly about nonexistent musicians.

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Sunday Stories: “An Early History Of The Three-Faced Race”


An Early History Of The Three-Faced Race
by Aug Stone

Local flâneurs Puffy Pullman and Cheeks Redborne lay in the grass under the cool shade of the oak trees as the afternoon reached 3PM on the 1972 Summer Solstice and the festivities of the Harrisonburg Summer Fair showed no signs of abating. They had been drinking red wine since the cock crowed the morning, for while they never participated in the town’s activities, they relished the Fair as an excuse for making merry, believing their witty commentary on all things Harrisonburg to reach its peak just as year reached its own. They were quite drunk by now, their long moustaches stained various shades of burgundy from the myriad bottles scattered about their feet. While they took pride in their appearance, for both were well-dressed in floral pattern collared shirts under dark suit jackets with matching custom leather shoes, even donning capes for this most special event, the same care could not be said of their physiques. Their already far from athletic builds were running to mush, exacerbated by the switch to the legal side of being able to purchase alcohol, both having turned 18 the previous autumn. This they did plenty of, believing themselves, in some respects correctly, to be bon vivants, and now that the weather was more copacetic they relished relishing the good life out situated in it. Cheeks was letting loose a torrent of guffaws at the proceedings on the field while Puffy had his face buried in the crook of his arm, giving him, had it not been for the presence of the Sun, a most vampire-like appearance, having had to avert his eyes due to an overdose of hilarity some moments before. The two were watching the annual three-legged race. 

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