Chapbook Week: An Inventory of Abandoned Things

My seventh review for Chapbook Week is An Inventory of Abandoned Things by Kelly Ann Jacobson.

As the title suggests, each story is about an item that pulls you right into the setting. The narrator is navigating a pregnancy and long-distance relationship while trying to get used to the Florida ecosystem, so there are some creatures creeping along in this book. As with Girlmine, I was so impressed with how place is a character in this book. Each story transported me to the exact location and immediately had me feeling everything that was going on, so it’s definitely a book to study as I work to improve that aspect of my own writing.

You can get a copy of this chapbook from Split/Lip Press.

Chapbook Week: Shiny Insect Sex

The sixth title of Chapbook Week is Shiny Insect Sex by Stephanie Lane Sutton.

The vivid stories in this collection are a blend of science and gender, and I loved how each story pulled me into a new world and taught me something about what’s around me. One of my favorite stories is “Survival Town, USA,” but I can never resist “The Shy Male Seahorse Aborts For Me,” with its stunning opening line:

“When our eyes meet, the space between us fills with his brood.”

This tiny book is part of the INCH series from Bull City Press. Get your copy HERE.

Chapbook Week: Abstinence Only

The fifth title for Chapbook Week is Abstinence Only by Meghan Phillips.

I first heard Meghan Phillips read early-ish in the pandemic, when all events were on Zoom and you felt exhilarated that you could see authors that were normally too far away. After her first reading, I went to so many more because I was drawn to her writing style in general, and these stories specifically. This collection is one you’ll want to re-read often. The double standards between the females and males in the stories are infuriating but realistic, so it’s refreshing that Phillips brings it into focus and adds some twisted humor to the matter. I can’t pick a favorite, but “V-Card” is high on the list, along with the innovative logic puzzle format of “There’s No Good Reason Not To Wait!”

The print chapbook is sold out, but you can get a digital version from Barrelhouse.

Chapbook Week: The Quiet Part Loud

The fourth book for Chapbook Week is The Quiet Part Loud by Tyler Barton.

This chapbook was one of the first Split/Lip Press books I read when I started working for them in 2020, and I was blown away. The stories cover that time period between the teenage years and adulthood, when you should maybe know better but still do random shit anyway, and it’s fun and exhilarating even if part of you is embarrassed. The characters are all people you’ve known, or people you were. Each story sucks you in but leaves you wanting a little something more—just enough so you randomly think of the characters like they’re old friends and wonder what they’re up to now.

You can get a copy of this chapbook from Split/Lip Press.

Chapbook Week: Girlmine

The third entry for Chapbook Week is Girlmine by Erica Soon Olsen.

The “Daphne” stories are among my favorite because of the way the well-known character orients you to an extent, then completely turns what you know upside down. The sense of place in every story is perfection, and I couldn’t help but notice it as it’s something I struggle with in my own writing. “The Iron Ranger” is especially spot-on in terms of location and description.

This tiny book is part of the INCH series from Bull City Press. Get your copy HERE.

Chapbook Week: Love Letter to Biology 250

My second title of Chapbook Week is Love Letter to Biology 250 by Chella Courington.

The stories in this chapbook blur the line between biology and everyday life, often in a surreal, almost magical way. Each piece gave me a pleasant flashback to college biology courses, which is amazing because I didn’t enjoy the class at the time. I only wish I had Courington’s innovative framework back then so I could search beneath the facts for stories.

Each piece is great, but my two favorites are “Et Cetera” and “Smack.” You can get this flash fiction chapbook from Porkbelly Press.

Chapbook Week: The Swell of Seafoam

I’ve been reading a lot of amazing fiction chapbooks lately and want to highlight them. First up is The Swell of Seafoam by Keely O’Shaughnessy.

I met Keely when I worked as a Priority Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine and got to know her writing from there. This micro-chap contains five pieces of flash fiction “from amongst the waves.” The sea almost takes on a character role in these stories, along with parents, siblings, stepsiblings. They touch on how complicated familial relationships can be, paralleled with the mysteries of the ocean.

I love all of these stories, but this line from “Floatation Therapy in the Subjunctive Mood” sticks with me:

“[…] what if, once he was gone, I didn’t have to feel my body expand as I buried my face in the pillows letting out big, heaving sobs […]”

This micro-chapbook is part of Ghost City Press’s summer series, and you can get a copy HERE.