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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron
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A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present
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Review: The History of Vegas

The History of Vegas - Jodi Angel

Jodi Angel's first collection of stories, The History of Vegas, is full of grit, surprise, and exceptional talent. That's all great, but there's a problem with writing such shocking stories in such a skillful manner: the reader begins to expect it.

The History of Vegas begins with one bang, then another. These are stories that pull you in and then punch you in the gut. At first, an unexpected reader may open their eyes wide with shock, go back and reread a passage or an entire page or two. These are fabulous stories that are original and memorable.

Seriously, the only problem with this collection, assuming you don't have extremely conservative leanings in which everything about this collection is a problem, the only problem is that awe becomes an expectation after two or three stories. You may not know what will happen, but you know that something forceful is coming, and this blunts the impact significantly. Also, some readers may not care for the abrupt ending many of these stories have, but I found that trait to be important to the jolt of the ending.

I look forward to reading Angel's second collection, but I think I may give it a little time so that maybe my expectations lower a bit for the first couple stories. By that time, I'll be ready for another gut-punch.