Category Archives: #bookmail

BOOK MAIL: ESSENTIAL WILLOW ZOMBIE POLICE

Where was I? After my computer died on October 8th it threw me into a little bit of chaos and things went akimbo. All my plans to celebrate the 13 Days of Halloween were forgotten. But I’m back and moving on. I started this book mail before my computer crashed so I know I’ve gotten more books since then. I’ll add those to future book mails as I remember them.

🎃 By the way, want to win free books? I’m giving away a copy of Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe with a signed bookplate. Winner will be drawn live on Halloween and posted here. To enter, simply leave a comment for Jezzy here.

🎃 You can also win a copy of Tortured Willows by leaving a comment on the HWA Halloween Blog here.

🎃 I’ve also heard a rumor that you can get a bunch of free books on Kindle from Siren’s Call Publications here.

First in, the thing every author loves to get… a box of their own books! Speaking of Tortured Willows, my first copies came in and it was an emotional and special moment to finally hold it in my hands.

This book has already done so much for me. It changed my direction in life (which I plan to talk more about Monday) and gave me my first Amazon Bestseller banner. Most important, I gained three sisters in my fellow poets Lee Murray, Geneve Flynn and Christina Sng.

Thank you everyone for the amazing support and enthusiasm. There’s a video of the unboxing at the end of this. You can find Tortured Willows: Bent. Bowed. Unbroken. on Amazon in both paperback and ebook here.

Also in the mail, a copy of Weirdbook Annual: Zombies! from Wildside Press a collection of short stories to thrill and delight readers worldwide with memorable takes on the zombie theme that resulted is this fantastic collection of 34 original stories that are not your average tales of the shuffling undead. Find this book on Amazon here.

Gearing up for Nanowrimo, I’m loading up on writer craft books. One I snagged from the library is The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer: Everything You Need to Know About Craft, Inspiration, Agents, Editors, Publishing, and the Business of Building a Sustainable Writing Career. The title can almost qualify as a flash fiction, so I expect great knowledge from this book. It has great reviews, which you can check out on Amazon here.

Another one I’ve mentioned a few times, Edward Hirsch’s A Poet’s Glossary came in. This is the book Amy Zoellers and I use to randomly pick a poetry form to do each month for Cake & Hyperbull. Read more about it on Amazon here.

Finally, The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa and translated by Stephen Snyder. Touted as “ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR THE NEW YORK TIMES * THE WASHINGTON POST * TIME * CHICAGO TRIBUNE * THE GUARDIAN * ESQUIRE * THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS * FINANCIAL TIMES * LIBRARY JOURNAL * THE A.V. CLUB * KIRKUS REVIEWS * LITERARY HUB” and with over 2,500 four star+ ratings, I’m interested. This is from the library, but you can check it out on Amazon here.

And that’s it for this week—it’s good to be back. While most of what I share I’ve either purchased or contributed to, I’m happy to share any book in a group post like this, but I can’t guarantee I’ll review anything specific. I do pass on books I’ve read to Space & Time reviewers and interested others whenever possible.

Any mail can be sent to:

Angela Yuriko Smith
P.O. Box 214
Independence, MO 64050

BOOKMAIL: ANCIENT GIRL BOW GIFT

Happy October! I love sharing my book mail. It’s nerd show-and-tell. This week I have the final books I ordered on Okinawa and Uchinanchu culture. My book budget is busted and I have a lot to get through. I didn’t get a chance to stop by the library this week, but I know they have some waiting for me. Good thing the library is free. By the way, these are affiliate links which go towards Amazon gift cards… and more books!

The first book this week is The Girl with the White Flag by Tomiko Higa. As of today, this book has 138 ratings with a solid 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon. I think this will be another read all day and cray book, so I’ll probably wait until after I get the last of my big projects wrapped up.

From Amazon: New York Newsday called this memoir of a warhood childhood in Japan “one of the saddest and yet most uplifting books about childhood you will ever encounter.” Separated from her family in the confusion and horror of World War II, seven-year-old Tomiko Higa struggles to survive on the battlefield of Okinawa, Japan. There, as some of the fiercest fighting of the war rages around her, she must live alone, with nothing to fall back on but her own wits and daring. Fleeing from encroaching enemy forces, searching desperately for her lost sisters, taking scraps of food from the knapsacks of dead soldiers, risking death at every turn, Tomiko somehow finds the strength and courage to survive. Many years later she decided to tell this story. Originally intended for juvenile readers, it is sure to move adults as well, because it is such a vivid portrait of the unintended civilian casualties of any war. Find this book on Amazon here.

Next was The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan by Carmen Blacker and, if you read my post from yesterday, it’s already been an exciting read. I didn’t expect to find information about poetry, magic practices and haiku with a random flip through, but there it was. If the first five minute browse is that exciting, I’m interested to see what else is in this book.

From Google Books: This classic work describes shamanic figures surviving in Japan today, their initiatory dreams, ascetic practices, the supernatural beings with whom they communicate, and the geography of the other world in myth and legend. Find this book on Amazon here.

My third book of the week was Ancient Ryukyu: An Archaeological Study of Island Communities by Richard Pearson, and you can probably see why I need to slow down on my book collecting. Some of these are going to take me awhile to chew through.

From Amazon: Who are the people of the Ryukyu Islands? How could they survive and prosper on small, isolated islands? How did the independent Ryukyu Kingdom become a major player in East Asian medieval trade? Ancient Ryukyu explores 30,000 years of human occupation in the Ryukyu Islands, from the earliest human presence in the region up to A.D. 1609 and the emergence of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It focuses on the unique geopolitical position of the islands, their environment, and the many human communities whose historical activities can be discerned. Drawing on the impressive work of dozens of local archaeologists who have brought the islands’ early history to life, Richard Pearson describes explorers and sojourners and colonists who arrived thousands of years ago, and their ancient trade links to Japan, Korea, and China… Find this book on Amazon here.

Finally, I have GIFT OF A BLUE BALL: Path of a Fortune-teller in Okinawa by Jeff Tuthill. I’m actually trying to reach out to this author to see about republishing with some revising and edits. This book hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but as I paged through I can see there is a lot of solid work here. My guess is that this book needs to be a nonfiction instead of fiction. I’ll let you know when I finish reading it. If anyone knows a good way to contact authors that self-publish without web pages or active social media, please let me know. I’m hunting for at least two of them.

From Amazon: This is a historical fiction following the life of a yuta (fortune teller) in Okinawa from childhood to her death at age ninety. Kameko witnesses the horrors of war as a twelve year old in the Battle of Okinawa and survives into womanhood to locate the thief of the Royal Ryukyu headdress and reclaim the national treasure. By using her gift of sight and ability to communicate with the spiritual world, Kameko attempts to recover the crown, a promise that she makes her mother’s spirit. The reader will discover the meaning behind the gift of the blue ball and the path of a yuta in Okinawa. A story of people interacting with ghosts demonstrating how fate is influenced by both the physical and spiritual world. Although a fantasy, the novel consists of a good deal of research on Okinawan culture and belief systems, including ancestor worship. The result is both entertaining and informative for the reader, using accurate descriptions of historical events as the background for a ghostly and mysterious tale. Find this book on Amazon here.

And that’s it for this week. Thanks for all the responses! While most of what I share I’ve either purchased or contributed to, I’m happy to share any book in a group post like this, but I can’t guarantee I’ll review anything specific. I do pass on books I’ve read to Space & Time reviewers and interested others whenever possible.

Any mail can be sent to:

Angela Yuriko Smith
P.O. Box 214
Independence, MO 64050

Book Mail from September 4-30

BOOK MAIL: ALL THAT AND A COVER REVEAL

Book Mail 9/17

This week’s mail was full of heavy hitting nonfiction from the library, a rare book I finally managed to get my hands on and multiple copies of the same book sent out to different addresses. If you read last week ‘s book mail or have glanced at my social media this week, you already know which book I ordered multiple copies of. Finally, a link to the cover reveal for Tortured Willows, the poetry collect to be released October 7 from Christina Sng, Lee Murray, Geneve Flyn and myself. By the way, these are affiliate links which go towards Amazon gift cards… and more books!

So, first book up is…

Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America by Andrew Wang Remember when Andrew Wang ran for president? I was enthusiastic about the ideas he presented and personally, he would have been my pick. Maybe next time… I picked this up from the library. If I feel like I want to keep it I’ll buy a copy, otherwise I read for free. Since I’ve started doing this, I have really been able to stretch my book budget. From Amazon: Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, offers a unique solution to our country’s economic and social problems—our smart people should be building things. Smart People Should Build Things offers a stark picture of the current culture and a revolutionary model that will redirect a generation of ambitious young people to the critical job of innovating and building new businesses… In Smart People Should Build Things, this self-described “recovering lawyer” and entrepreneur weaves together a compelling narrative of success stories (including his own), offering observations about the flow of talent in the United States and explanations of why current trends are leading to economic distress and cultural decline. He also presents recommendations for both policy makers and job seekers to make entrepreneurship more realistic and achievable. Check it out on Amazon for yourself here.

The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future by Andrew Wang More Andrew Wang, and again from the library. I love the title on this one: The War on Normal People. I’m a normal people myself in spite of what you may have heard 😂 If this book winds up being really good, you will see it reviewed here in the future. From Amazon: The shift toward automation is about to create a tsunami of unemployment. Not in the distant future–now. One recent estimate predicts 45 million American workers will lose their jobs within the next twelve years–jobs that won’t be replaced. In a future marked by restlessness and chronic unemployment, what will happen to American society? In The War on Normal People, Yang imagines a different future–one in which having a job is distinct from the capacity to prosper and seek fulfillment. At this vision’s core is Universal Basic Income, the concept of providing all citizens with a guaranteed income-and one that is rapidly gaining popularity among forward-thinking politicians and economists. Yang proposes that UBI is an essential step toward a new, more durable kind of economy, one he calls “human capitalism.” Check it out for yourself on Amazon here.

Next is a book I’ve been trying to find a copy of for awhile, but I could only find it used for over $100. Paperbacks and even the Kindle edition are around $50! This last week I lucked out and found this hard back copy for $30 and some change. It’s a discarded library copy. I loan and forget a lot… this is one book on my shelf I may require a deposit on for a loan 😂 I’m very excited to finally read Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa by Susan Sered. I will definitely be reviewing this one. From Amazon: Okinawa is the only contemporary society in which women lead the official, mainstream, publicly funded religion. Priestesses are the acknowledged religious leaders within the home, clan, and village–and, until annexation by Japan approximately one hundred years ago, within the Ryukyuan Kingdom. This fieldwork-based study provides a gender-sensitive look at a remarkable religious tradition. Susan Sered spent a year living in Henza, an Okinawan fishing village, joining priestesses as they conducted rituals in the sacred groves located deep in the jungle-covered mountains surrounding the village. Her observations focus upon the meaning of being a priestess and the interplay between women’s religious preeminence and other aspects of the society. Sered shows that the villages social ethos is characterized by easy-going interpersonal relations, an absence of firm rules and hierarchies, and a belief that the village and its inhabitants are naturally healthy. Particularly interesting is her discovery that gender is a minimal category here: villagers do not adapt any sort of ideology that proclaims that men and women are inherently different from one another…. Through in-depth examination of this unique and little-studied society, Sered offers a glimpse of a religious paradigm radically different from the male-dominated religious ideologies found in many other cultures. Check it out for yourself on Amazon here, and if you ever see a copy under $50 grab it!

Finally, even though I’ve already covered it in an earlier Book Mail, I thought it worth mentioning that I purchased four more copies of Speak, Okinawa by Elizabeth Miki Brina. I sent one to my mother, my oldest daughter, my oldest son and one to keep since my original was from the library. “A searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman’s journey to understanding her complicated parents—her mother an Okinawan war bride, her father a Vietnam veteran—and her own, fraught cultural heritage.” Available on Amazon here or find it at your local library like I did.

I wound up connecting with Brina online and hopefully didn’t inspire her to get a restraining order on me from all my gushing enthusiasm. She lives in an area hit by hurricanes, but as soon as the dust settles for her she agreed to do a spotlight show with me. Did I scream like an obsessed fan and run around my tiny office when she agreed? Why, yes. Yes I did. I promise to be cool when we actually meet. Like mostly cool.

And now, for the cover reveal for Tortured Willows, the poetry collect to be released October 7 from Christina Sng, Lee Murray, Geneve Flyn and myself. Sci-fi and Scary did a beautiful job unveiling it for us with some beautiful blurbs, back cover text and links to all the authors and our foreword author K.P. Kulski. And now… you may go see the cover by Kyra Starr in all it’s gorgeous, vivid awesomeness here.

And that’s it for this week. Thanks for all the responses! I have multiple messages asking if a book can be sent to me or if I purchase them all. While most of what I share I’ve purchased or contributed to, I am happy to share things that are sent to me in a group post like this, but I can’t guarantee I’ll review anything specific. There are just too many books. I do pass on books to Space & Time reviewers and interested others whenever possible.

Any mail can be sent to:

Angela Yuriko Smith
P.O. Box 214
Independence, MO 64050

BOOK MAIL: IN SERIOUSNESS AND ZANITY

My book mail was a little more manageable this week with a poetry book, two nonfictions and a magazine. The two writing books I have set to be reviews in November for NANOWRIMO.

Whether you participate in the annual write-a-thon insanity or not, it’s a good month to brush up on literary skills. Some of the links below are affiliate links and if you purchase, I earn a commission.

Tomorrow I’m going to try something new. There is far too much literary news for me to cram into once-a-month Cake & Hyperbull show so I’m going to experiment with doing a short show every Saturday. I’ll be covering books I got in the mail, a poetry reading video Pete Kelly sent in, Tim Waggoner’s awesome recent post and news about Giving the Devil His Due, Iron Writers and SPECFAIRe. But for now, here is my book mail for the week:

Read Books All Day and Get Paid For It: The Business of Book Coaching by Jennie Nash I’ve been thinking about getting trained and certified as a Book Coach, since that’s what I seem to do all day anyways. So I first bought this on Amazon Kindle, but it’s one of the books I want to keep as a reference. The information outlined here is good for anyone working in the literary services field. I look forward to reading the paperback so I can make notes. There’s a new player in the gig economy that’s perfect for people who love books. It’s called book coaching, and you really do get to read books all day and get paid for it. A book coach is a strategic professional who guides a writer through the creative process of developing a book — helping them define the project, design the best narrative structure to tell their tale, and build both their confidence and their editorial skills as they write forward.Get your own copy on Amazon here.

The other book I purchased this week was The Eye of Tony Hicks: Poems from the Beatnik Housewife by Beatnik Housewife. This is authored by none other than my own Cake & Hyperbull co-hostess Amy Zoellers. I love her sparkly, joyful wording. Both Amy and her work are full of life and zanity (zany sanity, can I use that as a word?). You will be hearing more on this very soon. From the description: “Laundry meets Beat Club and a Missouri winter takes poetry form! It’s all here inside The Eye of Tony Hicks—through the eyes of one frantic housewife: crucial woodfires–exciting shampoo–Hollies obsession–general beat-group preoccupation–street rumbles with inner devils–offspring episodes. Unholy heaps of cake and cigarettes and beat music! All of the pleasures of the world!! Or most of them, anyway. Far too sensual. Hide under mattress on Bible study nights… Fifty years of the Hollies! Join the celebration!Get your own copy on Amazon here.

From my local library, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. How to use science to tell a more compelling story? Yes, please! “…The vast majority of writing advice focuses on “writing well”… losing sight of the one thing that every engaging story must do: ignite the brain’s hardwired desire to learn what happens next. When writers tap into the evolutionary purpose of story and electrify our curiosity, it triggers a delicious dopamine rush that tells us to pay attention. Without it, even the most perfect prose won’t hold anyone’s interest. Backed by recent breakthroughs in neuroscience as well as examples from novels, screenplays, and short stories, Wired for Story offers a revolutionary look at story as the brain experiences it. Each chapter zeroes in on an aspect of the brain, its corresponding revelation about story, and the way to apply it to your storytelling right now.” Get your own copy on Amazon here.

And finally, Locus magazine. Anyone in the literary business can benefit from staying on top of things with Locus. Since 1968 they have been publishing industry news. A nonprofit, you can subscribe PDF only or have the full glossy mailed to you. I tried to be eco and do the PDF only but the print magazine is lovely and a worthwhile indulgence. You can subscribe to Locus here.

And that’s it for this week. Thanks for all the responses! I have multiple messages asking if a book can be sent to me or if I purchase them all. While most of what I share I’ve purchased or contributed to, I am happy to share things that are sent to me in a group post like this, but I can’t guarantee I’ll review anything specific. There are just too many books. I do pass on books to Space & Time reviewers and interested others whenever possible.

Any mail can be sent to:

Angela Yuriko Smith
P.O. Box 214
Independence, MO 64050