Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on June 10, 2007 · Page 44
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page 44

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Rochester, New York
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Sunday, June 10, 2007
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Page 44
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For more Living coverage, including reviews and calendars, go to DemocratandChronicle.comentertainment DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE BOOK REVIEW AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT ROCHESTER'S WRITERS Kristen J. Tsetsi: The Rochester writer is founder and co-editor of Tuesday Shorts, a literary microfiction blog (www Miranda July's stories are filled with characters who are endearingly odd and lonesome .myspace.comtuesday shorts) that has published brief stories by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Carol Snow and Gary Cadwallader, among others. Debut novel: Home-front (Penxhere Press, $16.94). CONNIE OGLE MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS The sad, weird characters in Miranda July's devastatingly personal stories are awkward misfits with lonesome hearts. They could be anyone, and they will admit to anything, including a half-baked plan to meet Prince Wil with bizarre and tantalizing honesty. "People tend to stick to their own size group because it's easier on the neck," explains the narrator of The Shared Patio as she stakes her claim to a living space. But communication is difficult any way you slice it. As one-half of the couple in Mori Plai- Synopsis: When Mia Sharpe's boyfriend deploys to Iraq, she finds her equilibrium threatened by sensationalist media reports, on? mere more her boyfriend s mother, a disgruntled soldier's wife and a than you. fetoiies by ffvwarxict I depressed Vietnam veteran. I Backlist: Nineteen stories I ,v ; published online and in print, f. ' i They Three at Once Were One, whose motel-desk-clerk protagonist is also waiting for news about a soldier in Iraq, won the 2006 fiction prize from the online literary journal Storyglossia and was nomi liam m a pub and an attempt to teach swimming in a living room using bowls of water. Or worse. "There are three main things that make me a drag," confesses the narrator of The Man on the Stairs. "I never return phone calls. "I am falsely modest. "I have a disproportionate amount of guilt about these two things, which, makes me unpleasant to be around." And yet there's something curiously uplifting about these oddballs, who remain optimistic despite their limitations. "I was too aware of .the intervals between the pats and couldn't find a natural rhythm," frets a woman trying to offer a reas sir says after realizing she and her husband can only communicate as movie extras who silently pretend to chat and nod and smile and touch: "We waited with our heads down. His hand remained on mine, but lifelessly, and as lights were adjusted around us, I had time to wonder how many more takes were left. There could not be enough." Some stories are as slight as monologues; others are more fully formed, and in them, sorrowful wisdom resonates. "We were kites flying in opposite directions attached to strings held by one hand," says a young woman in the marvelous "Something That Needs Nothing," which appeared in The New "- - j , ; tMillM lllllllii.iM M No One Belongs Here More Than You Author: Miranda July. Publisher: Scribner. Pages: 224. Price: $23. nated for a Pushcart Prize and the Million Writers Award for best online fiction. It might surprise you to know: I'm not a "war" writer or a "military" writer. I write what interests me. A series I was posting on my MySpace page, From the Desk of Bipsy Flutterpants, is a satirical look at our society with a teenage narrator. On the Web: www.kristentsetsi.com, www .myspace.comkristentsetsi and www.kristentsetsi .blogspot.com. And more local authors Bush's Bloody Fiasco in Iraq Spawned by Greed, by Ed Claesgens (BookSurge, $20.99). Critique of the current war based on more than suring touch on a partner's back during a workshop in It Was Romance. There's something funny about this dilemma, but July isn't laughing like a mean girl Her offbeat sense of humor warms the characters' wry understanding of their misfortunes. The idiosyncratic July has been compared to Lorrie Moore. Her prose is pared down, and the voices sound similar sometimes, but she makes every word breathe Yorker. The story's narrator embarks on a new life with the best friend she secretly loves. But the situation does not work out as she had hoped, and she finds herself living alone and working in a peep show. What happens next is unexpected, though, and that's true of July's quicksilver fiction, too. It's always surprising, and it takes pains to remind us that, somehow, we all belong somewhere. "7 1,000 hours of research. Claesgens, of Irondequoit, ran a machine shop before retiring. The Lost Diary The Other Side of War: Vignettes of a World War II Combat Soldier, by David P. Mancini (DPM Publishing, $17.95). Re-creation of a diary Mancini kept during World War II while fighting in the Pacific with STEPHEN OSMAN Los Angeles Times "I feel myself sort of barely within the bounds of reasonable behavior a lot of times," says author Miranda July. Mancini NEW THIS WEEK the 19th Infantry, plus illustrations he sent to his family during the war. The Victor artist and businessman is retired after a career in advertising and printing, a lins, $25.95). Maupin, whose Tales of the City series chronicled the gay community and friends in San Francisco in MISSING PAGES ! WHUCI TES"Vjjjj TALF.9 Or THE CITY movement, but also World War II, Vietnam and more. Now in paperback Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, by Tom Holland (Anchor, $15.95). The movie 300 dramatized the pivotal Oral history Missing Pages: Black Journalists of Modern America, by Wallace Terry (Carroll & Graf, $16.95). The recent book The Race Beat shone a spotlight on the role of black journalists during the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and '60s. Maupw i the 1980s, insists this is not the seventh Tales novel. However, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver is again at the heart of the story and Fiction The Maytrees, by Annie Dil-lard (HarperCollins, $24.95). Lou and Toby Maytree live a happy bohemian life in Provincetown, on Cape Cod, until Toby leaves for Maine with another woman. Two decades later, they return to ask for Lou's help with hospice care. Says Publishers Weekly, "In short, simple sentences, DiUard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as a poet to create an enthralling story of marriage particular and universal, larky and monumental." Michael Tolliver Lives, by Armistead Maupin (HarperCol- YOUR NAME HERE. Each week we'll shine the spotlight on a local writer and list as many new local releases as space permits. Send us a short description of your book with the complete title, publisher and price. Also include your name, where you live and a daytime phone number. You can send the cover of your book and a photograph of yourself. Submissions cannot be returned. E-mail to Roc-lnfoDemocratandChronicle.com (use Local Books and the book title in the subject line, and attach any images as 300 dpi JPEGs), or send to: Local Books, Democrat and Chronicle Living section, 55 Exchange Blvd., Rochester, NY 14614. . You can also submit information online by clicking on Forms at www.DemocratandChronicle.com. 5th-century battle at Thermopylae between a small band of Spartans and the invading Persian army. This history puts that battle in context, spanning the Greco-Persian wars and suggesting the deep roots of East-West conflict. This book gives the story straight from the source in interviews that Terry, a journalist himself for The Washington Post and Time magazine, conducted before his death. The 19 reporters included covered not only the civil rights other characters from 28 Barbary Lane appear, including transsexual landlady Anna Madrigal, now in her 80s. (Diane (Prince Furniture & Gifts Now in our 27th Year! y$L Hme Equity LoanSolutions at We have a full line of all yourt,water garden needs Reliant Community Lredit Union rreiormea ronas, rumps, f liters, , v , v 61 to 120 months M low H 7.25apr' Pond Liner 59$ sq. ft. Fish Food, Up to 60 months 6.80APR' Chemicals, .Fish! Plants &more?'V 00 121 lo 179 months mIowm Oxygenators 11.39 3$4vf"r " ' Free water garden classes i J yJ H. - . . . j nw fr start anrl maintain a nnnn. i 7.50apr' no points no annual ( no application fee avoid closing costs' Wednesdav Evenings at 6:30 h ' " V. Now Accepting fine consignment furniture i j ci j-l r Also available... 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