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Courage from the Outliers

Michelle Butler Hallett's latest novel is Constant Nobody, and we've got three copies up for giveaway right now.

Don't miss your chance to win!

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I’m often plagued by self-doubt when writing, when trying to serve a story and give it what it needs, however strange, upsetting, or just plain weird that might be. Sometimes I borrow courage from aesthetic and thematic outliers.

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A Stone Diary, by Pat Lowther

A Stone Diary is such a strong collection, one that takes many risks with subject, themes, and form with confidence and control. Lowther’s often slant perspective is compelling, almost hypnotic—in “Craneflies in Their Season,” for example, and “It Happens Every Day.” Many of the poems examine violence, intimate and state-induced, from “I.D.” to “Chacabuco, The Pit.” Violence is still something of a taboo subject for women writers now, let alone in in the 1970s. I admire how Lowther portrays violence: harrowing, yet never gratuitous, allowing space to acknowledge, consider, and recognize the full truths of being human.

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Misfits, Marvelous Worlds and Magical Creatures in YA Fantasy

The Changeling of Fenlen Forest is the debut novel by Katherine Magyarody, the story of a girl who tracks her lost unicorn fawn into a strange land where people thing she is a changeling who too closely resembles a missing girl. Can Elizabeth find her fawn and solve the mystery of her doppelgänger? 

In this list, Magyarody shares other titles in which misfits find adventure. 

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Adventures don’t just happen to princesses and Chosen Ones…they also happen to lone wanderers and misfits at the edges of villages. These books take readers into gripping, taut stories where the heroes navigate strange worlds and tight-knit communities, often discovering strange animals along the way (and not just the human kind).   

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Book Cover The Dollmage

The Dollmage, by Martine Leavitt

The old Dollmage ("wise woman") of Seekvalley needs an heir. To protect her village, she watches over a set of dolls who must be carved and cared for and interpreted…but her power is weakening. Although she predicts the day her heir is born, she does not know if the destined child is Annakey or Renoa. The Do …

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The One-of-a-Kind List

There are some writers who write books close to home, writers who celebrate the domestic, the ordinary, the way that a singular sliver of sunlight can shine off a china plate. The kind of authors who write about dust motes, you know? 

And then there are the authors on this list whose weird and wonderful books get at the more peculiar, singular elements of human experience. Truly these books and their characters are one-of-a-kinds. 

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No TV For Woodpeckers, by Gary Barwin

About the book: In the pages of Gary Barwin's latest collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers, the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. No stranger to poetic experimentation, Barwin employs a range of techniques from the lyrical to the conceptual in order to explore loss, mortality, family, the self and our relationship to the natural world.

Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us—that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. He reveals how we construct both self and reality through these relationships and also considers the human in relation to the concepts of " …

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