Because I read a lot and I have a compulsion to finish books I start, I sometimes find myself at difficulty with a loss for words to describe how bad or insufferably bland a Kindle download might be. I am confident that there must be something, some kernel of thought, that inspired a person to launch their ill-formed ideas in an attack on unsuspecting readers. How can I avoid falling into such a trap, one most of my own making? Just like with TV (turn it off) I should be able to close a bunch of assembled pages disguised as a book. I have not yet been able to do so. The best thing I can do, the first line of defense, is making better choices in my downloads.
I was delighted to find From the Start, a Literally Literary Anthology, Volume 1. I have followed the Literally Literary website for several months. When an email announcing new stories arrived, I would immediately skip to the next email. An email announcement from Literally Literary was to be savored; it deserved my full, slow, attentive reading. Opening any link in the email would take me to an intriguing, creative, excellent piece of work that would engage my attention. Sorry, Mr. Employer, I feel a bit out of sorts today, see you tomorrow. With From the Start, I might have to be absent for more than one day.
Volume 1 contains 108 works of poetry and prose in 276 pages. It was published in August 2019 and sells as a Kindle book for USD 2.99. It is available as a Kindle Unlimited free read. Heath Houston and staff mentioned that they “ wanted it to be a community of readers and writers, not just publishing, but encouraging, promoting, and bolstering writers.” I will offer very few examples and comments to show why I think this collection is good value either as a free read of purchase.
Poetry exists that I like, but when things get too abstract, I go on to something else. I did not understand much of the poetry I found in this collection, almost 20%, but I still recommend the collection highly for the poetry I followed along with the excellent prose.
I read the book from front to back, no skipping around. I didn’t like everything but in the first 22% of the novel, what follows are the selections that impressed me. There are many, many impressive selections after this point, but in the interests of keeping my review manageably short, I selected several stories/poems only from earlier parts of the collection.
The Bridge of Lost Souls by Indira Reddy ***** The narrator is looking for a bridge between the living and the not yet settled dead. The bridge might be a muse restoring beliefs in lost lore. So, a writer writing about inspiration, how does it get better?
Gamayun and the Leviathan by Michael Stang ***** Read this one for the beautiful language.
Little Red Rides Again by Elle Fredine ***** It was small backwater town with a content population. Visitors might come by, and they might safely leave, but it was essential tourists accept the village on its surface, as it was represented by the residents. Look deeply at your own risk.
The Women In My Stories by Rebeca Ansar ***** This poem presents the author’s plan for establishing equality and assimilation.
Transactions by Ambrose Hall ***** In a tale of temporary, purposeful possession, she feels unappreciated. She is suffering all the pain, making all the connections. Paul and Jimmy could at least appreciate her and pay her more attention. But none of them ever do.
Touch Starved by Indira Reddy ***** I like the way this cry for a simple, human contact is expressed.
Mother Existence ***** She never felt the love she had felt from her mother from any man. Mother’s love was perfect. Who had demanded she exit from the life she had while still connected with her mother? Nobody asks a newborn the question. Ready or not … Then we must face the consequences.
Rêveries by Giovanni Sonier ***** A plea to Mother Nature to be fair, nurturing, and not self-indulgent.
Collision Scene by Heath Houston ***** This is the best of the collection I have found so far, but I am only at 18% of the novel. This love story is an example of the Butterfly or ripple effect, and an in-depth examination and analysis of a few seconds in time.
Silver by Noha Medhat ***** Sometimes the sword, in metaphorical terms, is mightier than the pen.
Seventeen by Lisa Sellge ***** In defense of a sister’s innocence.
Sarcoma by Theo Beecroft ***** An incredibly detailed, excruciating account of a boxing match which comes to a surprising ending. Told from the perspective of one boxer, this is a story worth reading to a satisfactory, although surprising (to me), ending.
As of the date of this posting, there are only two reviews, each of them five stars. So, I make three. Fans of indie publishers and experimental writing in prose and poetry should look at this and promote it with comments/reviews. I have discovered writers for my watch list of good things to read soon. I highly recommend collections such as this which give writers exposure.