Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Breath - A note from your Editor

This past week we kicked off something new here at Read Furiously. It's something big, something awesome, a brand new ongoing project we're all incredibly excited about. It's called the One 'n Done series, a collection of short works by some of the most talented writers you'll be seeing all over the place in the not too distant future. It'll feature everything from short stories to novellas, one-act play to comic one-shorts, poetry collections to works of non-fiction. The series has some of the best storytelling out there, tailored specifically for those Furious Readers who might not have as many hours to read as they'd like... but still want something worth their time.

Now when breaking ground on a project this big it's important to lead with your strongest hand, and let me tell you, we certainly have. The first volume was just released this past week and we're not holding anything back. It's called Breath by S. Atzeni, and I had the pleasure of acting as editor on the title. Not only does that mean I got to be one of the first people to read the story, it also means I get the honor of introducing it to the world.

Surprisingly though, I'm at a little bit of a loss for how to do it. Breath isn't a story you can easily explain in a few simple sentences. Breath a story you have to experience to be fully appreciated. I could tell you how beautiful the prose is, or how wonderfully Atzeni uses magical realism to craft a very moving story. But that doesn't really do it justice. You have to dive in for yourself and read lines like: "She wanted to “yell” or to “cry out,” but she was afraid it would take too much work (she also didn’t have the time). So she chose to “scream,” riding purely on instinct, but reveling in the psychological implications." to truly feel the impact. You have to get lost in the beauty of Atzeni's writing to understand just how amazing the story is. It floats back and forth in time, pulling you into a world so eloquently constructed you become completely immersed in the characters and their struggles. It becomes real.

Even after the final page Breath will stay with you, coming in waves, moments will replay themselves over in your head and new layers to the story will be revealed. Having read the story dozens of times now, even I still feel as though I've only scratched the surface of what this it has to offer. And perhaps that's the real magic of Breath, for as moving a story as it is, the impression it can leave is even more powerful.

So while I may have struggled doing justice to the story, I still encourage everyone our there to pick up a copy and experience Breath for themselves.

You can pick up a digital copy here:
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thank you, World Book Night

This morning I had very sad and unfortunate news waiting for me in my inbox: World Book Night U.S. will be suspending their operations.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with World Book Night, it is a program in which people can apply to be "givers" and hand out 20 copies of a book (chosen from a list provided by publishers to World Book Night) to non-readers on a particular night in April. The point of this program is to be part of group that hands out millions of books, for free, all in one night. Did I mention this program is free to the giver? If a giver's application is accepted, all one has to do is show up at an appointed "drop-off" location (whether it is your friendly neighborhood Barnes and Noble or a local library) and pick up a box of twenty FREE books to hand out. Again, did I mention this was an opportunity to hand out FREE books for FREE at NO COST to the giver?

I suppose this is where programs like World Book Night U.S. go "wrong." Since the program has to depend on the kindness of publishers and donations from others, the costs got to be too much for this wonderful program and they had to say goodbye to the program.

Why this program? Why should World Book Night U.S., which gives back to so many people, suffer due to lack of funds? Is it a self-fulfilled prophecy that when the going gets tough, we have to cut all arts, music, and reading programs? All of these questions are rhetorical, for I never expect an answer in time like this. However, I do have a question that could be answered: Now what?

In honor of what this program did for us, in only three short years, I ask all of you, our furious readers, to continue what World Book Night U.S. started. I have something taking shape in the back of my mind for Read Furiously, but that will come later. One day, in April (maybe around the 21-24, which is the usual World Book Night festivities), take some time to give a book in this program's memory. In honor of the authors and their publishers who participated, the booksellers and librarians who helped organize the book drop-offs, the people at World Book Night and World Book Night U.S. (who, by the way, are working for FREE throughout the summer to complete the vision of this year's World Book Night) who worked hard to create this experience for all of us, and - naturally - to the readers who were passionate enough to send books and to the readers who benefited from this act of kindness. Give a book to someone and wish them a happy World Book Night. Give a book to someone and say, "I hope you enjoy this." Perhaps that someone will pass the book along to another person. Or perhaps this person will remember this kindness and pass along another book to someone else.

The key, furious readers, is to celebrate reading which is what World Book Night did. On behalf of furious readers everywhere, thank you World Book Night U.S. for your work, your passion, and your FREE books.

If you are interested in viewing the World Book Night mission, you can visit them here

In the meantime, happy summer reading season! As always, I am reading well, reading often, and reading furiously and wish you same.
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