Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Audio Series: 25 Trumbulls Road





Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.



Today, Christopher Locke will be reading an excerpt from his novel 25 Trumbulls Road, out this month with Black Lawrence Press. 
Christopher’s writing has appeared in such magazines as The North American Review, The Rumpus, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Sun, Poetry East, Verse Daily, Southwest Review, Slice, The Literary Review, West Branch, RATTLE, Gargoyle, The Nervous Breakdown, Barrelhouse, Saranac Review, and NPR’s Morning Edition and Ireland’s Radio One, among many others. Locke’s most recent book is Ordinary Gods, (Salmon Poetry, 2017), a collection of poems & essays detailing his 25 years of travel throughout Latin America. His first post-punk/spoken word album, Late Lights, was recently released by Burst & Bloom Records. Locke has received over a dozen grants, fellowships, and awards for his writing including the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award, state grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Poetry Fellowships from Fundacion Valparaiso, (Spain) and PARMA (Mexico). He teaches creative writing online at The Poetry Barn and in person at North Country Community College in the Adirondacks.










Click on the soundcloud bar below to listen to Christopher read from 25 Trumbulls Road: 







What it's about: 

Winner of the Fall 2018 Black River Chapbook Competition
This house has seen things it won’t let you forget.
When a new family moves in to the house at 25 Trumbulls Road, the narrator’s vivid dreams of a teary-eyed, raw-smelling woman who lives beneath the floor turn chillingly real. Five years later, the house’s new set of inhabitants are visited by the spectral presence of the little girl they lost. In these five tales linked by a single haunted house, the characters move through a world suspended between nightmare and loss, where the unexplainable and disquieting are fueled by ordinary grief and longing. Christopher Locke explores the ways in which our unspoken fears and everyday regrets sustain the darker heart of a home-its doorways and windows, its basements and lights-until it fills those corners of our lives with something close to terror. His stories ask: how does a home feed on this energy, growing stronger with each new, sinister end? As compulsively readable as it is unsettling, 25 Trumbulls Road takes us to the places we’re afraid to go, then leaves us at a destination where we are our most human.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Where Writers Write: Philip Cioffari

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!



Where Writers Write is a series in which authors showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 





Photo Credit: Danny Cioffari


This is Philip Cioffari. 



Philip grew up in the Bronx. He is the author of the novels: CATHOLIC BOYS; DARK ROAD, DEAD END; JESUSVILLE; THE BRONX KILL; and the story collection, A HISTORY OF THINGS LOST OR BROKEN, which won the Tartt First Fiction Prize, and the D.H. Lawrence Award. His stories have appeared widely in anthologies, literary journals and commercial magazines. He wrote and directed the independent feature film, LOVE IN THE AGE OF DION, which won a number of film festival awards, including Best Picture at the Long Island International Film Expo, and Best Director at the NY Film & Video Festival. He is professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Philip's new novel, IF ANYONE ASKS, SAY I DIED FROM THE HEARTBREAKING BLUES, is due out in February from Livingston Press/University of W. Alabama. Find him online at http://www.philipcioffari.com/.









Where Philip Cioffari Writes






I write in a corner of my sixth floor apartment living room set up as a small office. When I write, I’m facing a window that overlooks trees and, beyond the trees, the buildings of my town, and beyond that a section of the George Washington Bridge and the skyline of New York City. 




I would say that the view of the New York skyline is crucial to my well-being while I’m composing. It connects me to the place where I was born and raised. If I lean out the window, I can actually see the apartment housing complex in the Bronx where I spent my youth. Since I often write stories and novels set in the Bronx, this view stokes the fires of my memory, and helps unite who I am now to who I was. I like to keep that connection active and vibrant.   

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Indie Spotlight: Jennifer Spiegel

Welcome to our Indie Spotlight series. In which TNBBC gives small press authors the floor to shed some light on their writing process, publishing experiences, or whatever else they'd like to share with you, the readers!


Today, we have a returning guest, and dear author friend of TNBBC, Jennifer Spiegel. Her latest book, Cancer, I'll Give You One Year, released just this past January. Here's what the Goodreads page claims:

The book is 100% narrative nonfiction and 0% self-help. It was actually written for the author’s children in case she died. This sounds morbid, but maybe “pointed” and “candid” are better words. Embracing candor as an aesthetic, this real-time story hits upon the sacred, the profane, a trip to Epcot, a colonoscopy, her kids’ responses to everything, and OJ Simpson’s parole hearing. Writing-centric, voice-driven, and conscious of a death sentence . . . no diets or exercises are offered, but the author may give horrible parenting advice. It’s undoubtedly funny, but also a meditation on meaning.



Now that you've got a better idea of what the memoir's about, check out Jennifer's unorthodox reading list below:






An Unorthodox Cancer Reading List: Annotated, Of Course

The Ferrante photo is literally in the pre-op room . . .
the socks were put on by the hospital.





Say you’ve got cancer.

You will have time to read, assuming, well, assuming you’ve got time. Crap. It’s tough. Read some books. It may be hard to focus, to delve into an alternate reality, to even want to give credence to someone else’s perspective . . . on, like, the disease that is possibly killing you. You may get angry. I don’t know how you process things. There are so many cancer offerings and they seem upbeat and positive and reading them might give you peace or, um, reading them might make you want to kill yourself.

I was going to include this as an appendix in my memoir, Cancer, I'll Give You One Year: A Non-Informative Guide To Breast Cancer, A Writer's Memoir In Almost Real Time. I removed it. I don’t know why.

Alas, here’s an unorthodox reading list . . .

  • Charles Bock’s Alice & Oliver. Very real characters, a marriage and cancer novel. With its New Yorkisms, its East Village collisions, CBGB-Limelight-Patti-Smith-Yaffa-all night Polish diner ministrations, I was bedazzled. I loved how a chic life could be turned on its head, the brutality of it—like some kind of plucked peacock. Which would make a great title of a story: A Plucked Peacock. Dibbs. All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted. Whatever.


  • Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment. Yeah, don’t read this one. I literally read it on the chopping block. Like I think they took it out of my hands as I slipped into sweet slumber and rolled into surgery to take of my breasts. This was my first Ferrante. It’s very Ferrante. That excruciating intimacy. Like you’re in the head of the protagonist, unraveling her madness which sounds a lot like your own madness, and you’re so close to her that you can smell her breath. You might just want to skip this one and move onto her Neapolitan Novels, actually. You will not forget yourself or lose-yourself-in-a-book. But you will recognize the complicated lives of others. Ferrante is brilliant.


  • Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Vol. 1. A graphic novel! This book is AMAZING, a tour de force. The artwork is fabulous. The writing is great. It's a complex story with monsters-as-metaphors, and interweaving narrative threads about the Holocaust and survivors, Chicago in the sixties, the murder of MLK, cancer, coming-of-age, not fitting in, being an artist, and siblings.


  • Vincent Gilligan’s “Breaking Bad.” Which isn’t even a book. I’m not going to tell you that Walter White was an inspiration or that, since you’re possibly dying, you might want to give up your ordinary existence and break bad. But I will say that this show did have something to say about endings and finality and taking care of shit before you go.


  • Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams. It’s decidedly secular, maybe postmodern, feminist, scholarly. I began to envy Jamison for her ability to step into some foreign world and be more than just a voyeur and write with empathy. Isn’t this something many, many writers long to do? Go to the places to which we aren’t invited and absorb the world in a real way, make it ours, if only for a moment? And to do so with empathy?


  • Adam Johnson’s Fortune Smiles. Johnson’s wife had breast cancer, and she went through everything. We’re not talking lumpectomy, folks. We’re not talking out-patient surgery, friends. I like Johnson’s work in general, but there’s a great cancer story in here.


  • Meredith Maran’s Why We Write About Ourselves. I mean, maybe you should write your own book. This collection of essays by famous memoirists is a good intro to memoir-writing. It can be summed up like this: Be unsparingly honest, willing to expose yourself and your own horribleness without reservation, do not neglect craft ever, and try not to hurt people--though you might have to and probably will. Cheryl Strayed emphasizes universality--how she's striving for universals. I loved James McBride's essay.


  • Sandra Marinella’s The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss. (She blurbed my book.) I learned two things quickly upon my own diagnosis . . . First, everyone has cancer. Second, everyone with cancer writes a book about having cancer. Which is to say that there are a ton of books about cancer. Some stand out, and Marinella had me when I hit the Nelson Mandela epigraph. I loved the combo of craft and cancer. I loved the emphasis on storytelling--its power. I believe that fully, and here is a full and well-written and inspiring exploration.


  • Tig Notaro video. I actually forgot what I watched, but I think it was on Netflix. Though it may send my conservative friends into a full-blown tizzy, I have to say that I was utterly moved by the way she made art out of her cancerous life.


  • Roger Rosenblatt’s “I Am Writing Blindly” (TIME, November 6, 2000). This one-page essay, maybe, is the best thing I’ve ever read about why people write, and you can find it online. It’s why I write. About cancer and everything else.


  • Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev. And this is a must-read. A treatise on art and life. Cancer-free or cancerous. It’s so brilliant that, once I start gushing, I won’t be able to stop.


  • Mary Elizabeth Williams’ A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles. Is this my only “real” cancer book here? I read others, but only this one—ONLY this one—stuck. It’s miserable to say, but it's best when writers get cancer. Their books are the good ones. And here’s a game-changer. Personal with some science talk. Maybe, someday, our kids will survive because of this science.



Here are other books I liked:


Jennifer Hayden’s The Story of My Tits. A graphic memoir!

Teva Harrison’s In-Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer. A graphic memoir!

Andrea Hutton’s Bald Is Better With Earrings. Orthodox-ish.

Tania Katan’s My One-Night Stand With Cancer. A little raw on the lesbian-side of things, but quite real.

Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. Super moving. Downright beautiful. I could almost push it up to the top half of this list.

Meredith Norton’s Lopsided. How Having Breast Cancer Can Be Really Distracting. She died, so I get sad. This one is strongest when she talks about being a black woman from America married to a white man from France. Which brings me to her surviving husband. Thibault, if you're reading this, I'm sorry for your loss. Really so very sorry.

Nina Riggs’ The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying. This book terrified me. Nina Riggs is dead, and her death hovers over the memoir; what scared me horribly was that her initial diagnosis/prognosis seemed better than my own. Apparently, we were diagnosed around the same time. Maybe the exact same time. She's dead. I'm alive, supposedly okay, always conscious of my tenuous okay-ness. Her surviving husband is romantically involved with Paul Lalanithi’s surviving wife. How’s that for a love story? I liked the writing better in Riggs (the writing is actually pretty excellent), but I liked Paul Kalanithi, the person, a bit more. Is that okay to say? Nina’s story hit way too close to home, and I was actually wondering if this were healthy for me to read.

Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951, when she was a mom and wife—at the age (I think?) of thirty. Without her knowledge or permission, her cancer cells were taken (a sample of them) and harvested/multiplied/used all over the world in medicine. These "HeLa" cells have been instrumental in medical advancement for the last 60-70 years, without Lacks's family's knowledge, permission, or acclaim. Henrietta was a poor black woman at a particular point in history, and this book explores her contribution, her life, and her family.

Kara Tippetts’ The Hardest Peace. Religious. I liked it.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jennifer is mostly a fiction writer with two novels, one story collection, and one memoir. She also teaches English and creative writing. Additionally, she is part of Snotty Literati, a book-reviewing gig, with Lara Smith. She lives with her family in Arizona. For more information, visit www.jenniferspiegel.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Page 69: Dork

Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....







In this installment of Page 69, 


We put Will Winkle's Dork to the test...







Set up page 69 for us. What are we about to read?

The story is from the perspective from Ray Cooper, a self-conscious economics major. Here he is bar hopping with his friends Trevor, Chip, and Claire (which he has feelings for). This page finds them in a booth at one of the local bars, after an intoxicated older man intrudes on where they're sitting.


What is your book about?

The relatable, although neurotic, journey of a college student in their early twenties, uncertain about the future.


Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what the book is about? Does it align itself with the book’s overall theme?

It drops you into the middle of the plot, but does help show the sense of humor between the characters, as well as Ray's fear of his future. It's that slice-of-life aspect that I think readers will relate to, and helps draw people into the story.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PAGE 69
DORK


“We’re having a private conversation,” Trevor said.
Chip and I knew where this was going, so we quickly downed our drinks so as not to waste them when Claire put the strap of her bag back over her shoulder, and continuing their conversation, she and Trevor stood up from the booth and we began towards the door. I had started needing to pee when the man first sat down but didn’t want to hold everyone up with a detour to the bathroom. So, I had to hold it while pushing my sleeves down as we passed the main bar.
The yellow light at the end of Main seemed miles away, but luckily Sharky’s – our next destination – was only a few blocks. Trevor was the first to speak when we reached the sidewalk.
“What an asshole.”
“It’s our fault,” Claire said. “We shouldn’t have intruded on his booth like that. That was rude of us.”
“We should go back and apologize,” I said.
“Woah, not so fast,” Claire said in a falsely alarmed tone.
We laughed at this on our way down the street, but I began to worry that I was glimpsing a possible future version of myself. If I went to grad school I would be twenty-four when I graduated, so essentially middleaged. Then once everyone I hung out with was gone, I might be driven to the point of ambushing undergrads at bars.
That’s what I was thinking of when I didn’t notice that the others were cutting diagonally across the street, so I had to wait for another car to pass before doing a straight-legged jog to catch up to them just outside of Sharky’s.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~







Will Winkle graduated from the University of Idaho with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics, so naturally, he’s decided to become a novelist. While in college Will wrote comedy segments for the show he hosted on the university’s radio station, KUOI 89.3 FM Moscow, Idaho. Currently, he is writing short stories and cowriting a one-man-show with a graduate theater student at the University of Alabama.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Stephanie Kane's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, this series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20ish odd bookish scenarios....






WOULD YOU RATHER

Stephanie Kane







Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

Feet. The more I talk, the less I write.


Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

Long stream. I hear success can be paralyzing.


Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

Well-known now. Who will be reading in a hundred years?


Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

But every sentence should begin with a conjunction! Because conjunctions connect ideas. And good writers have been starting sentences with them forever.


Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

Tattooed in microscopic letters on the back of my left knee. I can’t even listen to music when I write.


Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that compromises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

Write a book I truly believe in. Writing is hard enough; why go to the brain damage of writing a crappy one?


Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

Characters I hate. They’re less inhibiting to write and easier to kill off. A bad plot twist can send the story totally off course.


Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

Blood as ink—been there.


Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

Escape the page, because they could take the story anywhere they wanted. Writing is my escape, so being trapped in one of my novels would be hell.


Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

without punctuation and capitalization I need all the e words I can get


Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

Depends on the school!


Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

Hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas, especially if he’s buying.


Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

Writing in haiku.
I am tongue-tied enough now.
Who knows what I’d say?


Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?

50 Shades is entertaining and instructive.


Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?

A book that evokes no response is one hand clapping.


Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

Voice in my head—at least it’s private.


Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

Computer.


Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?

I tank up with caffeine, so flat on my back would be a waste of good coffee.


Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

There are worse things than having nobody show up!


Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well?

Weak content but written well. If a book is poorly written, it’s tough to stick with it to see if the story pans out. Writing and thinking are two steps in the same process. How good a story can a poorly written book really tell?




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Stephanie Kane is a lawyer and award-winning author of four crime novels. Born in Brooklyn, she came to Colorado as a freshman at CU. She owned and ran a karate studio in Boulder and is a second-degree black belt. After graduating from law school, she was a corporate partner at a top Denver law firm before becoming a criminal defense attorney. She has lectured on money laundering and white collar crime in Eastern Europe, and given workshops throughout the country on writing technique. She lives in Denver with her husband and two black cats.


Extreme Indifference and Seeds of Doubt won a Colorado Book Award for Mystery and two Colorado Authors League Awards for Genre Fiction. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and the Colorado Authors League.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Where Writers Write: Michael Don

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!



Where Writers Write is a series in which authors showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 





This is Michael Don. 

Michael is the author of the story collection Partners and Strangers (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2019). He lives in the Boston area and teaches at Tufts University and GrubStreet. He co-edits Kikwetu: A Journal of East African Literature.










Where Michael Don Writes



In the last ten years I’ve lived in six different apartments across four US states and two apartments in Nairobi, Kenya. Over this time, my possessions have been sold, given away, stored, recycled, thrown out and destroyed. Everyone says it and it’s true: moving keeps you from accumulating too much crap. I pride myself on my minimalist mentality. Sometimes I’m even boastful. Dogmatic. Judgmental of the maximalists. I’m sure it’s annoying. Watching Tiny House Hunters is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t own a dresser because I don’t need one. My half of the bedroom contains only a side table with a reading light and a few books. There is nothing on the floor except for the occasional pair of socks that are still in use. My nightmares feature Walmart and packed up U-Hauls and SWAG.  

            Now in my new Boston area apartment which is on the first floor of a three-unit 1915 Craftsman style house, my writing space moonlights as a guestroom and the laundry folding area and a storage space and it is also my partner’s office, all of which makes it impossible to live my best minimalist life.


            The room is 12 by 9, heated by an old radiator and doesn’t have a door, though there is a wide doorway that opens up to the living room. We finagled a tension rod and curtain to create some sort of barrier, but it does little in terms of sound or light. The desk, scratched up from its many moves, contains piles of books, an overflowing basket of mail, miscellaneous stacks of papers, a modem, and half-used notepads. The full-sized bed is more often than not home to piles of clean clothes waiting to be folded. A Swahili mirror from coastal Kenya sits on the floor and leans against the wall and a bookshelf. Under and around the bed are puzzle pieces and balls and toy cars and pacifiers my toddler has brought in and dropped off. The closet is full of stuff I probably won’t look at until I move again.



            In an ideal world, my writing space would be neat and tidy. Every object would have its own designated space. Many of the objects wouldn’t even exist. I’m jealous of friends with neat workspaces. However, in this fantasy world of supreme order, something would get lost. I’ve come to learn that I don’t actually like writing in a quiet and clean space. I sometimes write at cafes because I like the noise and energy of others. Perhaps similarly, I like looking around my office at all the stuff: the mirror, the books, even the mail, and thinking about the many friends from the different places I’ve lived who have visited and slept in the bed. This grounds me. As a fiction writer, this messy physical blend of work and life is a gift that keeps on giving, even if it also drives me fucking nuts.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Ani DiFranco (2020) Reading Challenge



I really love reading challenges because of the way it stretches your reading comfort zone, but I've always sucked at actually completing them.

In 2015, here at Goodreads, we kicked off our most outrageous challenge ever, borrowing The Beatles Reading Challenge from another group I was a part of, which had turned their songs into reading tasks. And 2016, we whipped up The REM Reading Challenge. (I really sucked at this one. I couldn't even complete one album, but man was it fun trying!). And then to honor David Bowie's passing, in 2017, we pulled together the Bowie Reading Challenge! IN 2018 I decided to take a break from our music theme and challenged everyone to read whatever the fuck they wanted in our RWTFYW challenge. The only rule was that there were no rules : ) And then this past year I spread my love of Guster around by taking their discography and turning it into reading tasks!

There's just something about reading challenges right??? and so..... because I am glutton for punishment, here we are again!

For 2020, I struggled when it came to deciding which musician to feature. Maybe someone celebrating 20 years of music? Or someone I discovered in my twenties and had loved ever since? But then I thought, hang on, I haven't really featured a female yet, so without another thought, I began building reading tasks for Ani DiFranco's songs. My discovery of Ani's music was an interesting one. I was in my late teens, flipping through cassettes and CDs in a Gallery of Sound store, when I noticed the album cover for Dilate. It looked gritty and grungy, which is what I was into at time time, so I asked the guy behind the desk about her, and he offered to play a couple of her songs for me before I decided whether to buy it or not. A few chords into "Untouchable Face" and I was sold!

Whether you know and love Ani DiFranco, or this is the first time you are hearing of her, what I think is most cool about these kinds of reading challenges... is that you don't even have to be a fan of the musicians to participate. You just have to be a fan of READING!!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(follow the link to create yours!)




So here's how this works:


*The goal is to cross off as many of Ani's songs as you can throughout the course of 2020.

You can challenge yourself to complete one entire album, focus on completing one decades-worth of albums, or build your own challenge by hitting your favorite song titles... it's totally up to you!


*You cross off the songs by reading a book that meets the criteria listed after each song title.

If the book meets multiple reading tasks, cool! You can apply it to multiple song titles, OR you can make the reading challenge more challenging by limiting yourself to one song title per book.


*There is a built in redundancy with some of the tasks.

They are repetitive on purpose, to give you an opportunity to read more than one type of book and still get credit for completing a task. (Sneaky, I know!)


*Please copy and paste the entire list, or your customized challenge list, into your own thread in this goodreads folder and strike through the song titles as you complete them, OR, you can simply copy and paste each song title and its criteria from the master list here as you complete it. (obviously put your name in the thread title so we know whose challenge it is).


*Do not add your list directly to the main thread.


*YOU MUST LIST THE BOOK TITLE AND AUTHOR that coincides with the song as you complete it for the challenge so we know what you read!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An example of a completed song title task in your Challenge thread would look like this:

““This Bouquet” – Read a book that features flowers on the cover - The Distance from Four Points by Margo Orlando Littell

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Aaaaannnnnnnddddddd here's the list
Broken down by album, in the order of their release






Ani DiFranco (1990)

“Both Hands” – Read a book that prominently features a body part, or has a body part in the title
“Talk to Me Now” – Listen to an audiobook
“The Slant” – Read a book that presents its subject in a unique way
“Work Your Way Out” – Read a book about working out, or that features a gym/weight loss/exercise
“Dog Coffee” – Read a book with an animal in the title, or that prominently features an animal
“Lost Woman Song” – Read a book written by someone who identifies as female
“Pale Purple” – Read a book with a color in the title
“Rush Hour” – Read a book during your commute (or on your lunch break)
“Fire Door” – Read a Fantasy book
“The Story” – Read a book solely because of its description
“Every Angle” – Read a book in multiple formats (electronic, print, audio) – BONUS POINTS if you read it in all three!!!
“Out of Habit” – Read a book in which the protagonist is struggling with a habit/addiction
“Letting the Telephone Ring” – Avoid the hype! Read a lesser known/small press published title


Not So Soft (1991)

“Anticipate” – Read a book you have been anxiously anticipating
“Rockabye” – Read a book in bed / at bedtime
“She Says” – Read a book that features a female protagonist
“Make Me Stay” – Read a book that you’re on the fence about
“On Every Corner” – Read a book in which the protagonist can’t seem to catch a break
“Small World” – Read a book that takes place in the City/Town/State you live in
“Not So Soft” – Read a hardcover
“Roll with It” – Read a book that someone recommended to you
“Itch” – Read a book in a genre you just can’t get enough of
“Gratitude” – Read a book someone has gifted to you
“The Whole Night” – Read a book in one sitting
“The Next Big Thing” – Read a book that you can’t stop gushing about
“Brief Bus Stop” – Read a collection of flash fiction
“Looking for the Holes” – Read a big buzz book you’ve been skeptical about


Imperfectly (1992)

“What if No One’s Watching” – Read a book that would be considered a guilty pleasure
“Fixing Her Hair” – Read a book by an author you hard core crush on
“In and Out” – Read a book that you can dip in and out of (poetry, flash, short story)
“Every State Line” – Read a book in which the character(s) travel or take a road trip
“Circle of Light” – Read a book you think is under-appreciated
“If It Isn’t Her” – Read a book that’s written under a pseudonym
“Good, Bad, Ugly” – Read a book that’s received a ton of mixed reviews
“I’m No Heroine” – Read a book about an anti-hero / that features an evil protagonist
“Coming Up” – Read a book that left you gasping for air
“Make Them Apologize” – Read a book by a song writer / a book about a musician
“The Waiting Song” – Read a book that’s part of series that hasn’t been completed yet
“Served Faithfully” – Reread a favorite book
“Imperfectly” – Read a used book, the more banged up the better



Puddle Dive (1993)

“Names and Dates and Times” – Read a book that features a nameless narrator or that takes place in an undisclosed place and time
“Any Day” – Free Read – read whatever you want, whenever you want and take credit for it here
“4th of July” – Read a book that takes place on a holiday / features a holiday
“Willing to Fight” – Read a book on a topic you are very passionate about
“Egos Like Hairdos” – Read a book that’s outside your norm / try reading something different
“Back Around” – Pick up a book in a genre you haven’t read in a while
“Blood in the Boardroom” – Read a book about a working stiff / pencil pusher
“Born a Lion” – Read a book that’s got a big bite
“My IQ” – Read a book that made you feel stupider for having read it
“Used to You” – Read a book by a favorite author
“Pick Yer Nose” – Read a library book
“God’s Country” – Read a book that features religion


Out Of Range (1994)

“Buildings and Bridges” – Read a book that takes place in a city or features large architectural structures
“Letter to a John” – Read a book that features prostitution / sex
“Hell Yeah” – Read a book that absolutely blew you away
“How Have You Been” – Pick up a book you had previously started and never finished.. then finish it!
“Overlap” – Read a book that’s hard to place into one genre
“Face Up and Sing” – Read a non fiction book that tackles a tough or important topic
“Falling is Like This” – Read a romance novel or a book that heavily features love
“Out of Range” – Read a book that was just a little too “out there” for you
“You Had Time” - Read a book and if it hasn’t grabbed in the first 50 pages, DNF it!!
“If He Tries Anything” – Read a book about best friends
“Diner” – Read a book about food or in which food is prominently features


Not A Pretty Girl (1995)

“Worthy” – Read a book that won an award
“Tiptoe” – Read a book that you’re hesitant about
“Cradle and All” – Read a YA / Children’s book
“Shy” – Read a book that takes place in or features a motel
“Sorry I Am” – Read a book that everyone loves but you didn’t
“Light of Some Kind” – Read a book in which the world seems to be ending
“Not A Pretty Girl” – Read a book with a bad cover
“The Million You Made” – Read an NYT best seller
“Hour Follow Hour” – If you read a book and it felt like it took foreeeeever to finish, take credit for it here
“32 Flavors” – Read a book that features food on the cover or in the title
“Asking Too Much” – Read a book that didn’t live up to your expectations
“This Bouquet” – Read a book that features flowers on the cover
“Crime for Crime” – Read a crime/mystery book
“Coming Up” – Read a book by an up and coming author
“Untitled” – Read anything and take credit for it here



Dilate (1995)

“Untouchable Face” – Read a book that features unrequited love
“Outta Me, Onto You” – Read a book and write a ranty review about it
“Superhero” – Read a book that features superheroes / read a comic book
“Dilate” – Read a book that creates an unexpected reaction in you
“Amazing Grace” – Read a book that features an adjective in the title
“Napoleon” – Read a historical fiction or history book
“Shameless” – Read a book that you’d be embarrassed to be caught reading
“Done Wrong” – Read a book with a weird twist you didn’t see coming
“Going Down” – Read a book that doesn’t live up to its hype
“Adam and Eve” – Read a book that’s been co-authored
“Joyful Girl” – Read a book that makes you feel good


The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere (1996)

“Bridges” – Read a book that could be considered a “bridge”, or a good introduction, to a specific genre
“Nevada City, California” – Read a book that takes place in, or is written by an author, from this state
“Korea” – Read a book that takes place in a different country
“Anarchy” – Read a dystopian novel
“Candidacy” – Read a book you believe should be considered for an award
“Bum on the Rod” – Read a book with a nonsensical title
“Enormously Wealthy” – Read a book from a Big 5 Publishing House
“Mess with People” – Read a book that’s told in a unique format
“Natural Resources” – Read a “cli-fi” book
“Heroes” – Read a book in which the lead character does something remarkable
“Half a Ghost Town” – Read a scary story / a book that features ghosts
“Holding On” – Read a book that you kept considering DNFing but didn’t


Little Plastic Castle (1998)

“Little Plastic Castle” – Read a fairy tale
“Fuel” – Read a book that gets you all worked up
“Gravel” – Read a book about the end of a relationship/friendship
“As Is” – Borrow a book from someone, and return it in the same condition
“Two Little Girls” – Read a book that features a child as the protagonist
“Deep Dish” – Read a book that’s over 400 pages long
“Loom” – Read a book in which the tension builds slowly / something big is looming
“Pixie” – Read a science fiction book
“Swan Dive” – Read a book that features birds or has a bird on the cover
“Glass House” – Read a book that features or deals with hypocrisy or in which one of the characters is a hypocrite
“Independence Day” – Read a book about, or that features, aliens
“Pulse” – Read a horror book / a book that scares you silly



Up Up Up Up Up Up (1999)

“Tis of Thee” – Read a book that features, or is written in, a unique or made-up dialect
“Virtue” – Read a book with a one word title
“Come Away from It” – Read a book that has a huge influence on you
“Jukebox” – Read a book that features music
“Angel Food” – Read a book that features angels or religion
“Angry Any More” – Read a book that pisses you off
“Everest” – Read a book that takes place in an unusual environment
“Up Up Up Up Up Up” – Read a book that contains the same word more than once in the title
“Know Now Then” – Read a book from your TBR that you should have read a long time ago
“Trickle Down” – Read a book that features blue collar workers
“Hat Shaped Hat” – Read a book that turns out to be exactly what you thought it would be / totally predictable


To the Teeth (1999)

“To the Teeth” – Read a book with a political bent
“Soft Shoulder” – Read a paperback
“Wish I May” – Go buy a book off your wishlist and read it
“Freakshow” – Read a bizarro book
“Going Once” – Ignore everyone’s advice and read a book people warned you you wouldn’t like
“Hello Birmingham” – Read a book with a city name in the title
“Back Back Back” – Read the oldest book in your TBR
“Swing” – Read a book that messed with your emotions
“Carry You Around” – Carry a book around with you and read it whenever/wherever you can
“Cloud Blood” – Read a book that takes place mostly outside
“The Arrivals Gate” – Read a book that takes place in or features an airplane/airport
“Providence” – Read a book that features or is about divinity / spirituality
“I Know This Bar” – Read a book that takes place in, or prominently features, a bar


Reveling: Reckoning (2001)

“Ain’t That Way” – Read a book that’s a spin on another book
“OK” – Read a book that you were just meh about
“Garden of Simple” – Read a book that takes place in the summer
“Tamburitza Lingua” – Read a book that’s been translated
“Marrow” – Read a medical thriller
“Heartbreak Even” – Read a book that you gave three stars to
“Harvest” – Read a book that takes place in the fall
“Kazoointoit” – Read a book that makes no sense at all
“Whatall Is Nice” – Read a book that makes you feel warm and fuzzy
“What How When Where (Why Who)” – Read a self help or motivational book
“Fierce Flawless” – Read a book and give it all the stars
“Rock Paper Scissors” – Read a book that features some kind of game
“Beautiful Night” – Read a book that takes place mostly at night/in the dark
“Your Next Bold Move” – ask someone to pick a book off your TBR list and then read it
“This Box Contains…” – Read a book as soon it’s been delivered to the house
“Reckoning” – Read a book with a word that ends in “ing” in the title
“So What” – Ignore your chores and plop down to read a book, and take credit where when you finish it
“Prison Prism” – Read a book that takes place in a prison or features someone who was in jail
“Imagine That” – Read a book that really surprised you
“Flood Waters” – Read a post-apocalyptic novel
“Grey” – Read a book with a grey colored cover
“Subdivision” – Read a book that is broken into “parts”
“Old Old Song” – Read a Victorian lit novel
“Sick of Me” – Take a sick day and read a book
“Don’t Nobody Know” – Read a book that has no, or almost no, reviews or ratings
“School Night” – Read a book that takes place in school and/or features students/teachers
“That Was My Love” – Read a book that uses flashbacks, or takes place in the past and present, to tell its story
“Reveling” – Read a book that you just can’t stop thinking about
“In Here” – Pick a new reading spot, and read one book there, then take credit for it here




Evolve (2003)
“Promised Land” – Read a book that promised more than it delivered
“In the Way” – Read a book that you had trouble finishing because you keep getting interrupted
“Icarus” – Read a book about a mythology or that features a mythological character
“Slide” – Read a book in a park
“O My My” – Read a book that really impressed the hell out of you
“Evolve” – Read a book that features or hinges itself on evolution
“Shrug” – Read a book that was just alright
“Phase” – Read a book in a genre or on a topic that you’re currently obsessed with
“Here for Now” – Read a book you’ve borrowed from the library
“Second Intermission” – Read the second book of a series
“Serpentine” – Read a book that features a snake or lizard on the cover or in the title
“Welcome To” – Read a brand-new-to-you genre



Educated Guess (2004)

“Platforms” – Listen to a podcast or a read a book in a different format than your used to
“Swim” – Read a book that takes place in, on, or around water
“Educated Guess” – Read a book that you chose solely for the title
“Origami” – Read an instructional, DYI book, and make/build/do the thing
“Bliss Like This” – Read a really sappy love story
“The True Story of What Was” – Read a book based on a true story
“Bodily” – Read a body horror novel
“You Each Time” – Read a choose your own adventure book
“Animal” – Read a book with an animal on the cover
“Grand Canyon” – Read a book while you’re on vacation
“Company” – Read a book while family is visiting / you’re visiting family
“Rain Check” – Read a book instead of following through with your plans for the day
“Akimbo” – Read a book that will give you nightmares / make it hard for you to fall asleep
“Bubble” – Read a book that you were super excited to start but that let you down terribly


Knuckle Down (2005)

“Knuckledown” – Read a western or a book that features a cowboy
“Studying Stones” – Read a book in which the main character or a small group of people live in seclusion
“Manhole” – Read a book that takes place underground
“Sunday Morning” – Grab a coffee and read a book on the weekend
“Modulation” – Read a book whose title begins with the letter M
“Seeing Eye Dog” – Read a book that features a character with a disability
“Lag Time” – Read a book that was written in the last century
“Parameters” – Read a book about someone overcoming / facing their fears
“Callous” – Read one of your friend’s favorite books and tell them that you think of it
“Paradigm” – Read a book that features immigrant characters or is written by an immigrant author
“Minerva” – Read a book with a woman’s name in the title
“Recoil” – Read a book that grosses you out



Reprieve (2006)

“Hypnotized” – Read a book that kept your attention the entire way through
“Subconscious” – Read a book you hadn’t realized you wanted to read until you began reading it
“In the Margins” – Read a used book that already contains marginalia and read the notes too!
“Nicotine” – Read a book about addiction
“Decree” – Read a book your friends have been screaming and shouting about
“78% H20” – Read a book that heavily features science
“Millennium Theater” – Read a play
“Half Assed” – Read a book that you felt had good intentions but was executed poorly
“Reprieve” – Read a fem-lit book
“A Spade” – Read a book that features graves, grave diggers, or takes place in a cemetery
“Unrequited” – Read a book that you wanted to love but just couldn’t
“Shroud” – Read a book about death or dying
“Reprise” – Read a book that qualifies for one of the reading tasks you’ve already used and take credit for it here


Red Letter Year (2008)

“Red Letter Year” – Read a book that’s written as, or features, a series of letters or journal entries
“Alla This” – Read a book that features religion
“Present/Infant” – Read a book that features pregnancy or a woman with a baby
“Smiling Underneath” – Read a satirical book
“Way Tight” – Read a book that’s under 100 pages
“Emancipated Minor” – Read a YA/NA book
“Good Luck” – Read a book about a character that just keeps making bad decisions
“The Atom” – Read a sci-fi book
“Round a Pole” – Read a book with an inanimate object in the title
“Landing Gear” – Read a book with an uneventful ending
“Star Matter” – Read a space opera


Which Side Are You On (2012)

“Life Boat” – Read a book that takes place on a boat or island
“Unworry” – Read a book from a genre you’ve avoided until now
“Which Side Are You On” – Read a book that keeps you thoroughly confused the entire way through
“Splinter” – Read a book that is told in multiple or fragmented perspectives
“Promiscuity” - Read more than one book at a time and take credit for them here
“Albacore” – Read a book in which the protagonist has a tattoo(s)
“J” – Read a book written by an author whose name starts with J or a character who is only known by a first initial
“If YR Not” – Read a book about a total fuck up
“Hearse” – Read a book that features a funeral home, death, or the afterlife
“Mariachi” – Read a book that delves into, or features, a culture different from your own
“Amendment” – Reread a book from your past and rewrite your review with a fresh set of eyes
“Zoo” – Read a book that had a word with the letter Z in the title



Allergic To Water (2014)

“Dithering” – Read a book you’ve been staring at for a while
“See See See See” – Read a book that has repetitive words in the title
“Woe Be Gone” – Read a book to escape your blues/worries and take credit for it here
“Careless Words” – Read a book that would have benefited from being much shorter
“Allergic to Water” – Read a book at the beach
“Harder Than it Needs to Be” – Read a book that just tried too hard
“Genie” – Read a book that features magic or magicians
“Happy All the Time” – Read a book that makes you laugh
“Yeah YR Right” – Read a book that features social media / text speak
“Tr’w” – Read a book that starts with a T, R, or W
“Still My Heart” – Read a book that just crushes your heart
“Rainy Parade” – Read a book on a rainy day


Binary (2017)

“Binary” – Read a book that is written in two parts, or contains two separate storylines
“Pacifist’s Lament” – Read a book that was written by a known pacifist or feature pacifism
“Zizzing” – Read a book you find electrifying
“Play God” – Read a book that features cloning, experimentation, or a lead character with a god-like mentality
“Alrighty” – Read a book that you’ve been meaning to get out of the way
“Telepathic” – Read a book with a character who has special powers
“Even More” – Read a book that you wished would never end
“Spider” – Read a book that features insects or has insects on the cover
“Sasquatch” – Read a book about a myth or legend
“Terrifying Sight” – Read a book that is super gory and burns itself into your brain
“Deferred Gratification” – Take your time reading a really good book