MORTY IS DYING TO GIVE YOU MONEY FROM HIS MONEY BAG!
Click here or on Morty to find out how to enter our fiction contest.
Cash Prizes! No entry fee! You hold the copyright!
Why? Because Morty loves you.
By B. Diehl
Review by Jarad Johnson
In his second volume of poetry, B. Diehl offers us a serious and cerebral exploration of depression, among other things. The poems are thought-provoking and at times read like a personal diary entry. What I really enjoyed about the poetry was that it felt like it wasn’t written for anyone in particular; that is, it reads like someone’s own personal thoughts, which I think makes it more relatable than if it was pandering to a specific audience. John Stuart Mill said that poetry is, “feeling confessing itself to itself in moments of solitude and embodying itself in symbols which are the nearest possible representations of the feeling in the exact shape in which it exists in the poet’s mind.” If I were to sum up the collection, I would probably go with something similar to that definition. It’s very much internalized and self-reflective.
Here are some books that we think you may find interesting. Julie's picks illustrate how the theology of the apocalypse came to be, along with a compelling critique of the worlds worst books. Morty picked a mind-bending fairy tale, and Jarad picked a book that imagines a dystopian society in which women have no rights. So...have fun I guess? (It seems like that kind of weekend.)
Just click on the image of the book to if you want to buy and you're off to the apocalypse, or some dystopia, or a weird fairyland. Have fun! Stay safe!
No Crystal Stair is the real story of the first prominent black bookseller in New York City, Lewis H. Michaux. The story is told in a biographical style and focuses on the middle aged and elderly portions of Lewis’ life, and on the surface, it seems rather odd to market this book in the young adult novel; however, I believe that the publishers made a smart decision. Many young adult books are driven by a sense of revolution and social justice, just as Lewis is. Lewis also had a deep passion for imparting black history to people of all ages, but especially young people. I feel that he would be deeply pleased that his story is being marketed to young adults.
Here's what the chickens are reading. Julie, Jarad, and Morty have all run across some items that made them think, or laugh, or cry and they'd like to share them with you so that your brain can have all the same sort of exercise.
This week, Julie chose a book that illustrates the dangers of demagoguery and fascism, something we should constantly be reminded of. Jarad chose a love story that proves that to survive high school, you don't always have to be on the straight and narrow, and morty chose a novel that looks at just how much bullets destroy.
-What to read:
Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
-Why read it:
This heartwarming love story, which is now also a film, centers around a closeted gay character trying to survive high school. Its an adorable rom-com that not only celebrates diversity, but also proves its necessity. If you bogged down by the ugliness of the world, this book will surely brighten your day.
-What to read:
In The Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson
-Why read it:
This book is incredibly timely. Erik Larson, the author, follows the career of the US ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937, when he lived in Berlin with his family. The ambassador and his family slowly become aware of the growing threat of Nazi fascism. The book is interesting because it shows how rapidly people can be swallowed up by the needs of a demagogue who plays on their emotions without even realizing it.
-What to Read:
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
-Why You Should Read It:
A thoughtful look at how a gun and its bullet cut a trajectory through two families and an entire community. It has the Vonnegut black humor and pulled back perspective that make you rethink all the things you thought before. If you haven't read this one...I know it's old....but I'm dead so whatever...check it out.
Sweep- Volume 2
Review by Jarad Johnson
In this second three volume novel, we see the main character, Morgan Rowlands, a witch who has just discovered her abilities, progress in her training while at the same time trying to come to grip with a shocking betrayal. I enjoyed the first volume but didn’t find enough to say about it to formulate a review. This second installment had more depth and plot development, so there is more to say. For the most part, it is an enjoyable read; however, there were times when I felt the cliché of the love triangle, and the main characters’ whining was sometimes overplayed, but that it made it a little more realistic, since the novel centers around teenagers. However, the ending was the most problematic for me; one of the main antagonists is suddenly and miraculously gone, and it seemed a little rushed and hurried. Overall, though, it was a good read, and the plot kept me going.
Here at Sacred Chickens Blog, we have, strangely, come into a small amount of money. Let’s not discuss how it happened or what we had to do to get it. Water under the bridge. Being the generous souls that we are, we’ve been wondering how to share it with you. After much discussion and, truth be told, a momentary bout of fisticuffs, we have come to the conclusion that we should have a contest with actual cash prizes. We had some other prizes in mind, but our legal team advised against all of them. Submitted works should be unnerving, unsettling, questioning the status quo. Other than that, feel free to exercise your creativity in whatever capacity you see fit.
There are a few things you should know. First of all, there is no entry fee. We understand that writing is not always as ...remunerative...as one might like. So as not to cut into your beer, ice cream, or therapy funds, we're going to cut you a break on that.
The prizes will be $500 for first prize, $200 for second, and $100 for third.
Julie, Jarad, and Morty will not be judging this contest. Friend of the chickens and award winning writer, Jeff Weddle, author of Bohemian New Orleans, and When Giraffes Flew, will make the final calls. In fact, you will be submitting your stories to a third party, who will then submit them blind to Jeff.
We will publish our winners but we never hold onto any copyrights. Those are yours.
If cash prizes interest you, you can follow the link below. If cash prizes don't interest you, what the heck is wrong with you? Win it and give it away to charity if you like.
The Contest Rules can be found here.
If you have any questions about the contest in general, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a question about your particular entry and where it is in the pipeline, you should contact Paul at email@example.com
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968
By Ryan Walsh
Released March 6, 2018
Review by Roy Peak
When I was quite a bit younger and living in my first apartment I had a Sunday morning ritual. I would clean house while listening to two albums: Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. This went on for a number of years, eventually shifting to Monday when that became my one regular day off.
For some reason, in my mind, these two albums complemented one another. They were both completed within a year of each other—one by one of America's most important songwriters, the other by Ireland's latest in a long line of poet-mystics. Both of these albums had a similar sound to them. A trifle flat-sounding, not much in the way of studio trickery in either of these, which is interesting since they both came from an era where many bands were going nuts with multi-tracking and psychedelic ambience. Both of these albums were rather sparse in instrumentation, yet full of meaning and potence. Lots of words backed by mostly acoustic instruments. These songs weren't country, nor actual folk music, but still very rock 'n' roll in their approach—albeit a severely mutated and on the loose version of rock 'n' roll, which seemed to almost come from an alternate universe where Elvis, the Beatles, and electric guitars didn't exist. Also interesting is the fact that both of these albums were crafted after their respective artists had gone through great turmoil. Dylan was recovering from a serious motorcycle accident, while Morrison was trying to restart his career after getting out from under a heinous recording contract with mob ties which had left him broke and stuck in the states. He was living in Boston for a short time before he recorded Astral Weeks, writing the songs and working with the varied musicians who would influence the sound on that album. This is where writer and musician Ryan Walsh—a most definite Astral Weeks fan—decided to use that information as a jumping off point for a book that is chock full of intriguing anecdotes about the Boston music scene in the late 1960s.
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 references and ties together such amazing stories such as the discovery of LSD, the filming of The Thomas Crown Affair, the Velvet Underground's residency at the Boston Tea Party concert hall, Mel Lyman and his cult of acid-crazed non-hippies, a television show which was decades ahead of its time, and Walsh's own search for the lost tapes of Morrison and his band as they worked out the intricacies of the songs that would make up Astral Weeks as well as several of Morrison's later albums.
Walsh has done his homework here as every account is well researched and he interviewed everyone who would talk to him about events that occurred fifty years ago, including such Boston luminaries as Jonathan Richman, Peter Wolf, David Silver, Morrison's former girlfriend—Janet Planet, Morrison's former Boston-based band members, and even one of the mobsters who was holding Morrison's contract hostage—who explains to Walsh that the real reason Morrison left New York to hide out in Boston was "because I broke his guitar on his head."
We get unbelievable and obscure details in this book: Did you know that Chevy Chase played in prog-rock bands in Boston before becoming a comedian? Or that the city of Boston televised a James Brown concert in the hope it would stave off any potential riots the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? What about the fact that a sixteen-year-old Jonathan Richman hung out with Lou Reed so much that he began to talk just like him, which apparently irritated Reed to no end. We get interesting tid-bits about the mystical side of Boston: spiritual photography, the popularity of planchettes. Is it a mere coincidence that both Van Morrison and Jonathan Richman wrote songs with the word "astral" in the title, or was there a spiritual reason, involving the town of Boston which inspired them both?
This is a hard to put down tome of information from first-time author Walsh, full of dizzying stories and wild anecdotes, which never fails to intrigue. Part detective story, part celebration of all things Bostonian, part wild ride through a wild time in America's history.
Walsh, when you're done with the book tour for this one, do me a favor and start working on 1967: A Secret History of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding. If there's a story there, you can find it, and I'm dying to read it.
Roy Peak has played electric bass in more bands than he cares to remember for more years than he can remember. He wrote the theme song for the Utica, New York radio show "Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn" on WPNR-FM. His solo debut album, All Is Well, has been called "Loud, cacophonous, and beautiful by a truly unique artist." His short fiction has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and he writes music reviews for the King Tut Vintage Album Museum of Jacksonville.
I've been reviewing books for some time now, and these are the ones that have stood out the most to me.
1. Strange the Dreamer- Laini Taylor
A beautifully written novel, and a wonderfully mythological epic that's completely immersive. Fantasy and escapism at it's best.
2. The Other Typist- Suzanne Rindell
Another wonderful novel that takes place during the roaring twenties, features jazz music and speakeasies, but has dark and obsessive undertone.
3. Conspirata- Robert Harris '
A thrilling historical novel set in Ancient Rome, centering around the life of the legendary Marcus Cicero.
4. The Natural Way of Things- Charlotte Wood.
A gripping feminist horror novel that asks us to examine how we treat sex scandals.
5. Words on Bathroom Walls- Julia Watson
A heartfelt novel detailing the life of a teenager battling schizophrenia in Catholic School.
6. The Captive Prince Trilogy- C.S Pacat
A thrilling fantasy epic and love story between two princes of opposing nations, a series rife with political intrigue.
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!