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Visceral: A Book List, Part II

Today we follow up Part I of our focus on visceral books: books we feel in our bodies as much as our brains, books that can range from shocking to arousing to graphic ... and more. These books often stay with us long after we've turned the last page. We're pleased to present a compilation of these books, complete with publishers' descriptions and review excerpts.

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Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson: Book Five of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Midnight Tides is the most visceral of the series. After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King of the Hiroth, There is peace—but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has enslaved all its less-civilized neighbors with rapacious hunger. All, that is, save one—the Tiste Edur. It seems only a matter of time before they too fall, either beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword. Yet as the two sides gather for a pivotal treaty neither truly wants, ancient forces are awakening. The impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle …

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This Is Fiction: Corinna Chong on Writing as Thievery

Book Cover Belindas Rings

My first novel, Belinda’s Rings, hits bookstore shelves this month, and while I’m still in a state of ecstatic disbelief that people—even strangers—will actually read and maybe even enjoy my novel, a small part of me is wound in a tight spool of worry. With readers come questions, including, in all likelihood, the most frequently asked question of all: Where do you get your ideas?

I dread this question—not because I don’t value it, but because I’ve never been able to think of an eloquent or even accurate way to answer it. So I’ve decided instead to steal one from John Vigna, whose answer to this question remains the best I’ve ever heard. (Sorry, Mr. Vigna, but it’s the price you must pay for being so admirably well-spoken.) Mr. Vigna described how ideas don’t exactly strike him like bolts of lightning the way many of us have been led to believe they do through the glamorized stories of artists and creators that we see in literature and film. Instead, ideas are more like features of the landscape—they are everywhere, and all of us can access them.

Yes, I thought when I heard those words. They told me something I didn’t know I believed until that moment. Ideas are everywhere, all the time. The decision to eat toast with marmalade for breakfa …

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8 Male Writers I’d Want At My Side In A Bar Room Brawl: A List by John Vigna

Suppose you find yourself standing in a Calgary bar, perhaps Ranchman’s, mouthing off about your beloved Vancouver Canucks who’ve just eliminated the Flames in the playoffs (unlikely as that might be) and you’ve been shouting to be heard—the music is loud after all. A large southern Albertan ranchman hears you. He’s wearing a big white hat that shadows his eyes. His belt buckle winks in the light and you notice it’s a shiny Calgary Flames logo. You exchange a few words, but he’s not interested in talking. Instead, all hell breaks loose. Beer bottles smash on tabletops, you and the cowboy slug each other, the unmistakable stench of man-sweat and confusion floods the room. As the deafening cheers from onlookers—now the women are in on the fighting—spur on the cowboy, you consider dropping down under a table and curling in the fetal position. At this point, it’s about having the right guys to watch your back. In no particular order, these writers and their books might just help you walk away from that bar and live to fight another day.

Book Cover The Sisters Brothers

Patrick DeWitt, The Sisters Brothers: When passing through town, try to avoid picking fights at the local watering hole, but if you can’t do that, find this guy—he knows fights, he knows bars. DeWitt, author of …

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