Season’s readings: coming soon to Call of the Siren

As the calendar year nears the end, media book departments have one goal in common: to produce lists of books to give as gifts and for one’s own reading pleasure. Piles of books, endless lists, captions, the mad rush to meet deadlines … ah, I remember it well (too well!).

Not to be outdone by the mighty moguls of literature-dom, Call of the Siren will be providing you with reviews and interviews this month on the following fantastic titles:


The Camellia Resistance: A.R. Williams’ novel of a dystopian future presents a vision of a world in which physical intimacy is imperiled by biological and political agents. Dystopia is such a well-plowed (over-plowed?) field, and yet Williams gives us a scenario that’s uniquely, thrillingly her own.


The Eighth Day: It’s not always possible to have enough time to read a novel, but there’s always time to savor a good poem, especially those in Geoffrey Hartman’s new selection. Take five minutes — or even just two — to clear your mental palate with the songs and observations of this superior lyric voice.


xo Orpheus Bernheimer

xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths: It isn’t the myths that are new in this anthology edited by Kate Bernheimer, it’s their retelling/reimagining by some of the best contemporary writers around that’s exhilarating and intriguing. In their hands, old myths are anything but old news.


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The Art of Youth: In his latest study of artists, novelist/critic/essayist Nicholas Delbanco investigates the springs of creativity in three individuals  — Stephen Crane, Dora Carrington, George Gershwin — who achieved so much in so short a span of time.


One of the great joys of no longer belonging to one of those large media outlets is freedom. I can pick only the books that are worthy of attention, only the books that speak to me. To have that kind of flexibility is a real gift during the holidays and at any time of year! Stay tuned, my friends.


12 thoughts on “Season’s readings: coming soon to Call of the Siren

  1. First time visiting — Jilanne sent me! I like what you say about freedom and reading books that speak to you. I have to agree. I have finally given myself permission to quit reading books that don’t interest me. Up to that point, I definitely forced myself through some garbage.

  2. I’m glad that Jilanne pointed you in my direction. Welcome! For many years I was obligated by my job to cover some books that were hard to get through — and I think there are plenty of people who feel like there are books that they must read because everyone’s talking about them. I’m usually a slow reader, and I realized I’d waste most of my reading time (and my life) if I had a syllabus imposed on me by whatever people are buzzing about in lit circles.

  3. please please tell us about XO Orpheus – this seems like the type of book one of my sisters would LOVE! I remember her reading the myths in ancient Greek as a teenager, and then any related books (novels, reviews, adaptations) in any available language. I know about myths because of her re-telling them at dinner time. She’s hosting us for Christmas! Perfect present, here we come!

  4. Hello OG and B, editor Kate Bernheimer is a very fine folklorist in her own right, so I have a hunch that this book will be very good. It’s sitting on my desk, waiting its turn. From a quick glance, many of the contributors are recasting old myths in modern settings, something which I especially enjoy (hiding within the narrative of an all-time favorite book of mine, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, is Odysseus’ long efforts to get back to Ithaca). I will keep you posted!

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