1. Families Are Formed Through Copulation by Jacob Wren
Self styled as “a book designed to convince the reader not to have children,” this is a beautiful collage of dialogue, tract, ideas, parables, monolgues, and the like from Canadian director, writer, and filmmaker Wren. Like all the books Pedlar Press has released that I’ve read (notably Ken Sparling), this book is singular for its sound and mannerisms: there is no other object you could want to have like it. It is it. And it sticks. The book worries over its sales rank on Amazon, mourns dead music, contains telephone correspondence with lost relatives, mourns more: “Some days there are a few things to do and those days are a little bit better than the others. Every once in a while I faintly remember just how ambitious I used to be.” And yet the sum is not morbid, more than a true haunt, a neon-colored wow box, a fun and frightening object of tricks and mannequin talk. Highly recommended.
2. The Morning News is Exciting by Don Mee Choi
Like every new Action Books title, I clamored for this until I had it, and rubbed it on my face. I read the book while on a stationary bike, it took me 343 calories of riding. There are a variety of voices crammed exquisitely into one mouth here, some in translation, in mourning, some snagged, many mothers, ecstatic or hammered. The trouble speech together, and in calmer moments selved, all seemed to me in the gym room in a circuit of what seems to be a lid of skin between making a child and a child leaving the body to walk in humans, bodies on bodies for continents under confluences of Nation, methods of moving among and through and around it, gross and wet and big and small. “No one is alarmed. After the experiment, I wipe. Mother has mishandled meat again. Bitch. The door has to be wiped again.” It, like the above, contains a variety of forms, letters, collages, quiet, instructions, news, diarists, fear bleat. If you like bodies and being in pretend burn trauma, you’re gonna go bajoinkers for this. I did, and had the sweat all over me.
3. Souls of the Labadie Tract by Susan Howe