Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire

Pages: 102
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Format: Paperback
Published by Monthly Review Press

I bought this for my research paper, sometimes I do research papers as an excuse to read non-fiction I’ve been wanting to read. But that’s sort of a lie because I did write a paper on Genghis Khan and I had to read Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World which was boring, the way he wrote it was, I don’t understand why his telling is so popular. And the font was so tiny I would need a magnifying glass, especially at that time because my glasses were way past my prescription, when I got my new glasses finally, the world was so clear and sparkly. My main point is that non-fiction is a genre of literature that I find hard to read due to the way it’s written, I usually prefer historical fiction that is well researched. How do you know if a historical fiction book is well researched and not biased? Does this historical fiction novel sound like a White supremacist wrote it? Are there gadgets and clothing being described that don’t fit the time period? That’s something you can briefly Google, but Google shouldn’t be your main historical source. This is a whole different topic altogether, but it’s also one of the reasons why I’ve been wanting to read more non-fiction, to learn in more accurate and pinned down terms.

Before I even talk about this, here is the definition of Discourse:


communication of thought by words; talk; conversation:
earnest and intelligent discourse.
a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.
Linguistics. any unit of connected speech or writing longer than a sentence.

I honestly wasn’t sure what that meant at first and it’s something that I quite commonly see for books about topics that pertain to society. And colonialism is something that affects us in ways we’re not even aware of sometimes, especially if you’re not a privileged White dude. 

I honestly feel odd reviewing this, because how do you review this? I know colonialism affects me in my life too, maybe not in a very obvious way, but more in my self-hatred as a kid that still continues on even now. As I became exposed to social justice and began learning about racism in a way you would never learn in school, I notice even amongst family members and people I go to school with, even I have perpetuated it at some point, we all do, things such as Colorism, Anti-Blackness. You notice internalized racism in yourself and everyone else. And what causes that? Some of those things are colonialism and White supremacy. But you as an individual have to learn, take it all down or deconstruct it, in order to overcome it, and it’s a lifetime’s amount of work. 

Discourse on Colonialism is a brilliant starter to learn about how it affects people and how the colonizers treat the colonized. It’s not necessarily handy for learning what colonialism is, but it’s handy for knowing how it affects people, especially Black people. 

This book is literally the first book I’ve ever read where I didn’t skip the introduction or notes written by Robin D.G. Kelley. He writes his analysis of the book and talks about Aimé Césaire’s life and his start of the Négritude movement. So that part was interesting because I know absolutely nothing about this guy. I haven’t  heard of him til I found and bought this book. And his life sounds fascinating to me.

Césaire was a poet and this was also translated from French and came around in 1950. The writing is beautiful and witty, probably because Césaire writes beautiful poetry I would like to read sometime soon. His writing is delicate yet strong and sarcastic. I’m not sure if it’s because of the time period, the French language, or because he’s brilliant, But this is what I’m talking about, this non-fiction is the type of non-fiction I like. A narrative from the author’s mind. Especially when he brings in other writer’s works and critiques them and calls out their racism, he is a powerful writer. Of course, I had to underline a lot of sentences, not only for research, but also because I liked them. And well, this is a very popular non-fiction book so what I’m saying isn’t much different. It’s brilliant and fills the mind.

Rating: 5/5

Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis by Peter Kuper


Pages: 86
Genre: Graphic Novels, Magical Realism
Format: Hardcover
Published by Broadway Books
Borrowed from the Library

I read Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis during either my junior year or senior year of high school. It wasn’t particularly mind blowing for me. Kafka has a really dark, sort of dry, sense of humor. He writes surreal stuff as a sort of medium to I guess figure out his fears and insecurities. Despite that this story didn’t really affect me at first, I realized that it is one of the greatest stories when it comes to that point of finally realizing no matter what you do, you’re eventually going to be forgotten. Even by your own family members. 

But this isn’t the novella, this is a comic book version of the novella. The story is basically the same thing, except the dialog and storytelling is more contemporary and understandable. It gets rid of the wordiness of the literature of that time.  

I found the comic book at my college library and was only interested purely because it was based on the Kafka story. And I just wanted to kill some time and take advantage of the comic book section in the library. So I did just that. I gotta say, this is actually really good. The artwork is dark, gothic, dreary, completely fitting for the story.  I will admit that the artwork was odd to me at first because I honestly didn’t imagine the characters as what was portrayed in the comic book. Except the father, I imagined him being large and grouchy much like the comic book. What I found brilliant about the artwork is that the author somehow managed to take their personality and make them human. The main character’s human form was a thin, tired, but gentlemanly man (great adjectives) that  was meek, yet not gentle enough to let people step all over him. His father like I described before was drawn as big and grouchy. All of the women were drawn as innocent but distressed. 

The comic’s story flowed much like the actual story, there was nothing missing, and it managed to get everything through and stay true to the story. But then again this is a novella, so there isn’t really much to leave out anyway. It is what it is. A beautifully done comic of a bleak story about your own family getting rid of you as you change into something they don’t want. You becoming useless in your own loved one’s eyes and devalued as you become incapable of being a provider, a contributor to society. 

Rating: 4.5/5

A Good Marriage Directed by Peter Askin

Directed by Peter Askin
Released 2014
Country: United States
Language: English

Stephen King movies are a hit or miss for me. And this one missed me so far that it flew over my head and I ran back and picked it up and tried to gnaw it until it fell it apart. A breathing, yelping fest. A slow cliche dying to be heard in its deep depths of I’ve seen it all before. I know this makes no sense. And I think it makes better sense for me to just read the short story collection it was included in.

The &NOW AWARDS 3: The Best Innovative Writing: Edited by Megan Milks (ADVANCED READERS COPY)

Pages: 331
Genre: Experimental, Anthology 
Published by Lake Forest College Press
This was received from the publisher for an honest review 

It took me a really long time to read this, because what is it? An anthology. Not a short story collection, but a collection of authors and their stories. When I received this for review, I was pretty thrilled because all of the familiar names, one I’ve been wanting to read. There were at least two I knew and read already. And the rest were familiar names with work I never got my hands on yet. 

This whole anthology is dedicated to innovative writing, the most experimental of experimental writing. Some of them are brilliant, sometimes using imagery, and some of them fried my brain with their oddity, almost unreadable, but that’s what this anthology is all about. It’s all about using writing in ways you would never think of, thought of but feared the audience, or to purposely throw off the readers. Keep the writing for yourself and your soul and give the readers a hard time to own it. 

I will admit that I loved the poetry more than the stories in here. There were a select few stories that I loved enough to persuade me to check out their other works. There were some that disappointed me, the Dennis Cooper one, but this anthology mostly consists of samples of these authors works.

What I really loved about this anthology is not only it’s a variety of experiments, but it’s diversity also. Writing from all backgrounds and walks of life. Words in different languages and formulas. Different genres ranging from non-fiction, various poetry forms, and hybrid stories that blur between non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Writing morphed by technology and coding to form more literary art. What’s not to love in this anthology? I will admit that it was a bit tiring to read because of so much switching and non-linearity, because you know, it is an anthology, but it will definitely make you add new books to your Birthday/Christmas/Three Kings Day/Lunar Year wishlists. 

Authors I liked with works I want to buy/read:

Lucas de Lima

Ji Yoon Lee

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

Kate Zambreno 

Carmen Giménez Smith

Brian Oliu

Amber Sparks & Robert Kloss

Tytti Heikkinen, translated by Niina Pollaari

Jeff VanderMeer

Christopher Grimes

Matt Bell

Gina Abelkop

Daniela Olszewska

Kim Gek Lin Short

Carina Finn & Stephanie Berger

Rating: 3.5/5

King Shit by Brian Alan Ellis


Pages: 60
Genre: Bizarro, Comedy
Format: E-book
Published by House of Vlad Productions
(I had to censor the SH word so I can post this on Amazon. Unless they changed their rules. Because I couldn’t  post C.V. Hunt’s Hell’s Waiting Room)

EDIT: Just realized I confused Brian Alan Ellis with Brian Allen Carr, the short story collection I’m referring to was Vampire Conditions. Sorry. 

Well this was free and it’s short. It’s is very true for most people that when you download a book for free off Amazon, you’re not always going to read it anytime soon. Sometimes never. But this was short once again and the artwork seemed quite amusing.  I saw in the description that said something along the lines that it was illustrated, I actually thought this was a short comic. But it wasn’t, it was a novelette or a novella. Which is fine, I’m just saying that this isn’t a graphic novel, if you’re a doofus like me you would interpret that wrong. This is also my first reading of Ellis and I have his short story collection sitting in my Kindle, waiting to be read. Soon.

So basically, the story is about a drunkard whose first name is Elvis. It’s called “King S***,” because Elvis was considered the king of music and the guy named Elvis is a piece of s***. He’s always drunk and basically a nasty person. He spends his time doing nothing and just screwing around. This is pretty much the plot of the story. Some banter here and there, some nasty remarks about others, wandering around drunk, and causing chaos here and there, and getting a well deserved black eye. Some of the stuff in here was surreal and illogical and it all felt like some old cartoon my parents probably grew up watching, an uncensored one. 

The drawings are lovable, there is a little drawing that sort of indicates what would happen in the next chapter or illustrates a summary of what happened in the chapter. A small little face or object usually with some ugly gross stuff. King Sh** is a short comedic piece that you can read in one sitting.  It’s the tale of some of the world’s biggest losers. No hero, no anti-hero, just a general failure maybe. 

Rating: 3/5

Matt Meets Vik by Timothy Willis Sanders (ADVANCED READERS COPY)


Pages: 162
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Alt. Lit
Format: E-book
Published by  Civil Coping Mechanisms 

This was received from Heavy Feather Review to review and this review  was originally published on Heavy Feather Review! My second published review that isn’t on this blog! 

Saga: Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


Pages: 160, 144
Genre; Science Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Paperback
Published by Image Comics
Borrowed from the library

Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone is talking about this series, but even before I saw this getting crazy popular on the internet, I’ve heard of this. And I’ve been eyeing it for quite a long time, just waiting for that moment to pick it up. The first time I picked up the first volume, I had to put it down and forget about it because I had a meeting thing for an English paper with a professor, I guess that would be called a conference? You know what I mean. So I couldn’t be late and the first time reading this book wasn’t as immersive because I kept checking the clock on my phone.

The second time I picked it up was last Tuesday and I checked it out from the library. And boy,  it was the best thing I did for that time because I was getting into the “reading is a chore,” funk. I had time, it was free time, I had to switch places, from the Solar Lounge that is so noisy, to the cafeteria, and finally back to the library. And when I finally got my nose into this, the world would end and the moon will fly over my head, and I will not notice a thing. And I hope my school library gets the other two, or I will have to get it on my own. 

The story, well, it’s a Romeo and Juliet space opera, but instead it’s between two different alien species and their home planets and the ones they settle on throughout their journey, isn’t a fan of it. So they’re getting chased down, and I only read the first two volumes, so of course there’s more to it. But the narrator is the adorable horned and winged baby the two main characters gave birth to. This baby is the reason why her parents are getting chased down. There is definitely a social commentary thing going on.

The plot, it jumps around a lot between characters, and it doesn’t bother me, but I hope as the story gets longer, there isn’t going to be more characters and viewpoints to the point where it gets ridiculous. That was one of the things that sort of turned me off of Orphan Black, despite that they were mostly the same woman. I enjoyed the show, but I haven’t been watching it and the third season is coming. The multiple character perspectives won’t turn me off completely, but I will start to get confused. 

The artwork is brilliant, lovely, colorful, and the creatures are so out there, they are just so lovingly amusing. Great adjectives huh? But really, I always love a quirky Sci-Fi. Although, I admit that some facial expressions looked kind of funny or stiff? I don’t know. There are some comic books where characters make facial expressions that aren’t even humanly possible, like Jun Abe’s Portus. But the characters in there are more human than the ones in here. The ones in here, everyone’s an alien. So I guess you can throw that rule out. There are even people with TVs for heads. The characters are wonderful, they are diverse, and the dialogue is fun and dirty (as in tons of foul words.) But this series is generally a good read.  And I highly suggest it to those that lift up their eyebrows whenever they see something weird or those who are fans of stereotypical nerdy stuff like Stars Wars but with a fresh new twist.

Rating: 4.5/5

Fear Like a Habit by Mallory Smart


Pages: 36
Genre: Poetry
Format: E-book
Published by Maudlin House

Sometimes, even if it a bit overdone and too angsty, I do love to read existential crisis poetry written by people my age or in their 20s. The college kids, the ones who sit at home silently crying to themselves, wanting to roll around their bedroom floor, because they have a Biology midterm to study for and they’ve been procrastinating it for too long.  And then after you finish that midterm, you realize that you’re graduating from a two-year college with a Liberal arts degree and you still haven’t figured out what the hell you want to do with your life. Something in tech? Something in the medical field? Something in the social field? Then you realize or you think you realize, that you’re actually not good at anything. (In reality, that’s a lie.)
            This short chapbook takes place in the Industrial City. In this industrial city, people are drone-like, fogged up in their minds, and going with the flow, but not actually feeling or doing anything. I knew right away Smart was talking about some urban area, like the area I used to live in, which was Brooklyn, New York. But most likely she’s talking about Chicago, but honestly I can sort of see this Industrial City in any bustling city.

“Voices thick with alcohol and deceit.
Every pupil layered red.
The apathy was in age,
And the outpaced youth were in crisis.
Overlooked waters of Valhalla bequeathed by progress,
Yet the smog whimpered suggestions of pain
and remorse.”
She also writes about capitalism and how materialism makes us dull Earth dwellers.

 “Money was the new death,
and it’s being consumed humanity like
some allegorical stone of war.”

Nostalgia kills and sentimentality thaws out all strength we thought we had.

“The nameless lives in nostalgia.
The faceless breathes anticipation.
Regimes deaden the soul.
And they don’t know whom to blame anymore.”

Our fears are sometimes way too powerful to function as what society deems normality.

“The prodding siren in your head.
The infantile curiosity that never leaves,
Yet we can never trust.
The feeble attempt to grapple with mortality
and own.”

Poetry about loneliness and hopelessness with a dystopian imagery similar to George Orwell. For some odd reason, I also thought of David Lynch’s Eraserhead, since I’ve read other reviews of this chapbook. I thought of the Industrial City as a sort of abandoned factory looking landscape, much like the setting of Erasherhead. But then I read the chapbook finally and found that it was indeed Chicago, but if I had some dark drone music in the background, it probably won’t be much different. There weren’t any cars in the movie, based on my vague memory of it. But Fear Like a Habit is a great debut, it’s introspective and honest, a nice combination of the depressive, angst-ridden Alt.lit and the mental meanderings of beat poetry.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Final Abdication of Elisa Lam by M. Kitchell and Sean Kilpatrick

Pages: 28
Genre: Poetry
Format: E-book
Published by Solar Luxuriance

Their chapbooks have a limited a limited quantity, this one is no longer in print but there are free PDF downloads, just click on: Out of Print titles

I’ve been reading, but not blogging, but don’t worry, it’s not dead. Although, despite that I haven’t been blogging much, Lilliputian Press has been pretty dead. It’s not easy managing two blogs. It’s also not easy reviewing chapbooks or poetry. So here’s Sean Kilpatrick and M. Kitchell. I’m familiar with Kitchell, but not Sean Kilpatrick, I believe I saw his name somewhere,  but never even seen his work. He’s not talked about much? he should be talked about more.

This is sort of a chapbook duology. It’s all poetry written about the  death of Elisa Lam. You can read all about Elisa Lam on the wiki page. I honestly feel like they haven’t searched hard enough and they’re hiding something. Like come on? How is that an accident?

Sean Kilpatrick’s poetry seems to speak from either the killer’s perspective if she was murdered or her thoughts before she died. The words do sort of have a “watching from above,” feel to it. Or maybe they are just his general thoughts and feelings wrapped up in poetic form (I read it again to put some quotes in this.) I will say that his half was my favorite, it felt like the creepy whispering in the fog, the serial killer intents. I’m talking about paranormal horror movie stuff, I hope this doesn’t get misinterpreted. I don’t know, but this part fits the unsettling circumstances of her death. Mysterious, unknown, and sends chills up your spine. Oh yeah, his part is called “Elisa Lam Deposition.”

“Have I not laid kingdoms at
your feet? Are their screams
not plenty?

I’ll shove a palace in my hat

before you skip a tune.”

“I was auditioned alive.
The truth is you spared me?

I disintegrate on cue.”

The second half is “Invisible Light Agency,” which is M. Kitchell’s part. This one is a bit more direct and focuses more on Kitchell’s reaction towards her death. And I’m not really sure why, but I feel like people are a little too fascinated with her death. Is it because they want to know why or how? Because it is true, her death is very similar to a horror movie. My thoughts towards her, all I can think of is, this innocent woman’s life, who does have a lot of troubles, ended and no one seems to know or care to search harder and find out who murdered her. 

If people say that the video is tampered with, then there is definitely something behind it. And nobody working in the hotel noticed the elevator acting weird and asked her anything? Was it just really early and no one was around? This is one of the reasons why I don’t go to an elevator by myself if there is a guy in there. M. Kitchell’s part is the “why?” of this chapbook. There are some stanzas that are references to evidence around her murder, one of them I just found out about: FECTO CUNT HER SUMA / (PERFECT OBEDIENT CUNT)It is Latin for that. I wasn’t sure what that meant and I looked it up and apparently it was the words of a piece of graffiti in the water tank. I don’t how people are finding pictures of that though. You know what? That’s probably proof that she was murdered, because who would write that other than a sadistic serial killer? I just wanted to add that. Unless that was there before, but who would go into a water tank to do grafitti? This hotel that she was in was also where the Black Dahlia Murder happened and various other cases of murdered woman. Like seriously, I’m getting slightly pissed off that this keeps happening and no one has found the killers. He also writes a bit of a poetic or lyrical essay? Okay, poetic prose, questioning her end.

” The question is what’s important.

When the elevator door shuts the camera has
already forgotten the body & movement of
Elisa Lam. The hover of the entity. The dance
performed with and to the void. If I could
shut my eyes to stop watching I would see the
details that I’ve already forgotten. Whispering,
WALLS, I’m lost inside the gesture, as if to
reach for form in blindness contra the passivity
entrusted against absence. Spread out the lines
of text. The suddenness of an elevator door. The
flicker: black wall / white hallway (repeat).

Hymn to complacency.”

““the resisting body is
the subject of performance”
(& when the body is absent
it is gesture that speaks)
& the echoes

down corridors, hallways”

Rating: 4.5/5