Prose & Conversation: Richard Thomas & Leah Rhyne Talk About Books

TalkingSkulls.1-1024x685Here is the complete list of all of the Prose and Conversation columns that
Leah Rhyne and I have had over at LitReactor. Hope you enjoy them!

PROSE & CONVERSATION

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – November 20th, 2014

Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson – September 18th, 2014

Tampa by Alissa Nutting – June 30th, 2104

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – April 23rd, 2014

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum – February 21st, 2014

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville – January 16th, 2014

The Shining & Dr. Sleep by Stephen King – December 5th, 2013

My review of The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock is live at The Nervous Breakdown

The first time I met Donald Ray Pollock was at a reading he did opening up for Chuck Palahniuk in St. Louis. It was a wild night, and I dragged my younger brother Bill out with me—he’d never seen Palahniuk read before. The event was packed, and the audience couldn’t have been more hip, more alive, more excited. I was there to see Chuck, but I’d picked up Knockemstiff a month before, the interlinked stories set in Ohio, and had been blown away. After Chuck got done tossing blow up dolls into the crowd, answering questions, and signing books, the crowd thinned out. When I was done getting my book signed, I wandered over to the short line in front of Don and had him sign my copy of Knockemstiff. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy, very kind and gracious. He was getting his MFA too—him at Ohio State University, and me at the low-res program down at Murray State University in Kentucky. I had no idea that he would go on to win many awards for that book, but it was the start of a conversation, a relationship, with one of the most talented and generous authors I know. Don has always made the time to support me and my work (he blurbed my story “Victimized” an esingle at Amazon, and would have blurbed my debut novel Transubstantiate if my press hadn’t screwed up). I was thrilled to get this from him:

“[‘Victimized’ is] as tough, ass-kicking and twisted as fiction gets. Imagine a Dear John letter that Hitler might have written to Lucifer right before he blew his brains out. Then crank things up ten notches.” –Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil All the Time builds on the rural depression and debauchery that is in Knockemstiff, taking these misfits out on the road where killing is a sport, and the various delinquents go about their dark lives with a sense of dread and desperation. Read the full review over at The Nervous Breakdown. Don is one hell of an author. Pick up both of his books, I recommend them highly.

I didn’t list other voices in my review of TDATT, but I thought of people like Benjamin Percy, Ron Rash, Willam Gay, Flannery O’Connor, Denis Johnson, and Daniel Woodrell, to name a few.

Review of Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City by Michael Bible is now live at The Nervous Breakdown.

My review of Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City (Dark Sky Books) by Michael Bible  is now live up at The Nervous Breakdown. Great little chapbook, very entertaining, a lush read. Bits of Hunter S. Thompson, a touch of William Burroughs, maybe Denis Johnson if he was lost in the desert, and a sprinkle of Tom Robbins for laughs. Dark Sky is doing some great things. Oh, and Barry Hannah loves this guy too (RIP Barry). Well worth it.