Book review: From Iowa City to San Francisco, ‘The Ultimate Actualist Convention’ is a treasure-trove packed with literary gems

Subtitled “A Detailed View of Iowa City Actualism in the 1970s & 1980s and Its Migration to the San Francisco Bay Area,” this tome was edited by Morty Sklar, Cinda Kornblum and Dave Morice, who were part of this unique community of artists whose works deserve to be explored and cherished. […]

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‘Cornfield Chronicles’ opens a window on mid-20th century Iowa

To open up Cornfield Chronicles: Featuring Snowball: Pony from Hell by Myron Williams is to open a window onto the Iowa of half a century ago. This set of short stories and vignettes tells of the author’s experiences growing up as an Iowa farm boy in the mid-20th century. […]

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‘This Void Beckons’ ventures into new poetic places

To pick up This Void Beckons, by former University of Iowa student A.J.K. O’Donnell, is to take a journey through the question of human destiny. This is not a simple book of poetry, but a linguistic feast evoking an emotional and psychological response to the nuanced question, “How do we express our common humanity?” […]

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Review: Sandra Allen’s ‘A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise’

Mission Creek: Sandra Allen Reading MERF, Room 2136 (375 Newton Rd, Iowa City) — Friday, April 6 at 12 p.m., Free Mission Creek Lit Walk: Sandra Allen Saint Burch (127 Iowa Av, Iowa City) — Friday, April 6 at 6 p.m., Free Sandra Allen had a fondness for her Uncle Bob, but she wasn’t sure […]

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Review: Jennifer Colville’s ‘Elegies …’ evoke a vibrant sense of life

Although one should never judge books by covers alone, the one gracing Jenny Colville’s Elegies for Uncanny Girls conveys an apt sense of the book’s contents. This befits Colville’s work as the editor of PromptPress, which invites authors to create verbal reflections inspired by images. […]

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‘Good Apples’ details the curious history of apples and challenges facing farmers

Author and Iowa City resident Susan Futrell starts out her book ‘Good Apples: Behind Every Bite’ with the auction of the oldest commercial apple orchard in Iowa: an orchard outside Fort Madison that had been in the same family for five generations, but now faced an uncertain future dependent upon the winning bidder. It’s a fitting place to start a book about the long history of apples in the United States and the uncertain future the apple industry faces in a global economy.

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Marc Nieson’s ‘Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love and Landscape’ has intensity, clarity and elegance

Marc Nieson at the Iowa City Book Festival Sense of Place I panel: City Hall Council Chambers — Saturday, Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. Reading: Prairie Lights Books — Saturday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. In the fall of 1993, while attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Marc Nieson moved into a one-room schoolhouse on Redbird […]

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An iconic life revealed: A review of ‘Juxtapositions’

Juxtapositions photo slide show and talk Prairie Lights Bookstore — Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m. There is a pair of eye-catching photos near the center of a new book celebrating the work of renowned photographer Ted Polumbaum. On the left is a stark black & white photo of a visibly distressed African-American child standing […]

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Book Plug: Stories of true crime

The True American

Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade By Walter Kirn The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas By Anand Giridharadas HBO’s latest hit, True Detective, shows just how far the detective story has come. Edgar Allen Poe’s The Murders at the Rue Morgue launched the genre’s formulaic […]

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Book Review: Rebecca Rotert’s ‘Last Night at the Blue Angel’

Rebecca Rotert’s debut novel, ‘Last Night at the Blue Angel’, is a literary page-turner with lovely prose and heart-wrenching relationships. It presents a singer on the brink of something big — be it fame, self-destruction or both. The singer’s name is Naomi, dysfunctional mother to Sophia, whose own name comes from a story of love and loss. […]

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Book Plug: Mortom by Erik Therme

Mortom by Erik Therme

The internet may have democratized publishing, but not everyone has something to write. Iowa City native Erik Therme did, and he self-published his first novel, Mortom, in February. Mortom unravels the story of Andy Crowl, an oddly chosen heir and cousin to a recently-deceased loner, playing “the game” his cousin set up for him. A […]

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Book Plug: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Book Plug

Boy, Snow, Bird By Helen Oyeyemi Helen Oyeyemi wins this month’s award for “book I’m most curious about.” Her newest novel, Boy, Snow, Bird takes inspiration from Snow White and wicked stepmothers in order to launch a complex discussion about race, identity, beauty and suffering. The setting is 1950s New England. The title comes from […]

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