Bibliohio: Recommended Reading from the Heart-Shaped State

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

“Praying Drunk,” Kyle Minor (Sarabande Books, 2014)

Why you’ll love it:

“This is a book, not just a collection. DON’T SKIP AROUND,” Kyle Minor instructs at the opening of “Praying Drunk.” These stories have something to tell you, and you’re going to listen to them, dang it. Boys are beaten for being small, and family members die too soon or need help with their dentures. Minor’s voice is unflinching and urgent, plunking us into scenes of woundedness and beauty.

See for yourself:

“There is nothing but sadness in Nashville, except maybe this one thing we both can say but don’t say aloud: My brother loves me, and I love my brother. No more deaths, I don’t say. No more suicides...All night we lie fifteen inches apart on the beanbag chairs and don’t say anything at all. I want both of us to be all right. I want all of us to live forever.”

—from “There Is Nothing But Sadness in Nashville”

“The Rusted City,” Rochelle Hurt (White Pine Press, 2014)

Why you’ll love it:

There are bad things happening in the poems of “The Rusted City” — unfortunately, these bad things are all too ordinary. Throughout this “novel in poems,” Rochelle Hurt shows us a family crumbling, a town coated in rust and two sisters that we desperately want to protect. Amid all the destruction, “The Rusted City” celebrates what survives.

See for yourself:

“When they arrive swathed in ash, the roller coaster is folded in half,/ a writhing lattice of ruptured tracks, gangly as a giant insect./ Hugging an arched belly of metal cars, its corroded arms are/ crossed already—the death pose, the smallest sister knows.”

—from “The Roller Coaster is Burning, the Favorite”