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  • These Books Will Change Your Life - Not Quite So Stories by the David S. Atkinson, Naked Me by the Christian Winn and I'm Not Supposed To Be Here And Neither Are You by the Len Kuntz.

    We have been read and travel and not work and read and we are heading west and we will be words and readings and authors and we thought that we needed to read those authors. We started with the Cari Luna and the quite marvelous Revolution of Every Day, and then we kept pushing, and reading and traveling, and now we are Not Quite So Stories by the David S. Atkinson, Naked Me by the Christian Winn and I'm Not Suppsed To Be Here And Neither Are You by the Len Kuntz and leaving so soon, and this, more words, more everything.

    Atkinson is absurd, swirling bizarro riffs on family, work and home, even homes that may decide to move away on their own. The warped sensibility is true, though more than that he is committed to the story, and its tenor, never wavering, or showing his hands, his world is off and weird, but you never doubt its his world. We are not sure how this works, or what it might look like to attempt such a thing ourselves, but we found a clue in the story "The Onion She Carried," which is yes, about a woman and a onion she carries. At one point she thinks to herself, "Things were boring again," and in this we thought, we understand Atkinson's objective, never be boring, not to himself, or the reader.

    Kuntz is fiction as flash, stripped and fast, with dazzling painful stories, full of hurt and violence, lost parents, and their lost kids, and as the teacher from "Soul Patch" reminds us, "Every family is damaged." These are Kuntz' people, the damaged and imploded, grasping for answers, and searching, as Kuntz is doing himself, one story after another, building, and compounding, and ultimately telling some larger story, or possibly just one long story comprised of the fucked-up quotidian moments that make for a life, even when those lives need to be healed.

    Naked Me is something else, and something similar, short stories filled with lives lived, drenched in longing, and confusion, and the need to understand why people leave, how we lose them, why shit never gets to be fixed and as Winn writes about one lonely character, "...maybe he was missing his own youth and wishing time didn't move on as it did." But time does move on, and things are missed, though sometimes found too, as Winn reminds us in his closng story "False History." We live, we lose, we die, but sometimes there are glimmers of hope, fathers dancing, love rekindled and mother who smile.  

    And so we head west, filled with stories by authors not only in full command of their work, but sure to change your life.