Mini Reviews: Collections

I finally have some reviews to share!

I’ve read a number of collections over the past several months so I’ve gathered a few of them together today. Whether you’re into essay collections, fictional short stories, or some poetry, I think you’ll find something to enjoy here.

Book cover for Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed. Illustration of a Brown girl's face. Her eyes are closed and she has bright pink lipstick. Her face is surrounded by pink, red, and white flowers.

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed edited by Saraciea J. Fennell
Genre: Essay Collection

In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, bestselling and award-winning authors as well as up-and-coming voices interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx diaspora. These 15 original pieces delve into everything from ghost stories and superheroes, to memories in the kitchen and travels around the world, to addiction and grief, to identity and anti-Blackness, to finding love and speaking your truth.

This was a really wonderful collection and I was glad to see names I recognized (Mark Oshiro! Elizabeth Acevedo!), some authors whose other books are already on my TBR, and many new-to-me voices I’m now excited to seek out.

These essays and poems are honest and insightful. Some are painful and some humorous, while others are both. There’s a lot to learn from the authors’ personal experiences and much to relate to for readers with similar experiences as part of the Latinx diaspora. I especially liked that there were many essays from authors on being Afro-Latinx as I have read less from this perspective and, based on the authors’ essays, it’s a perspective that’s been left out of many discussions around Latinx identity.

Very glad for the introduction to so many authors and to add their other work to my TBR!

Book cover for Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Simpson. Cover features a page filled with handwriting.

Islands of Decolonial Love: Stories & Songs by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Genre: Short Stories

Found on reserves, in cities and small towns, in bars and curling rinks, canoes and community centres, doctors offices and pickup trucks, Simpson’s characters confront the often heartbreaking challenge of pairing the desire to live loving and observant lives with a constant struggle to simply survive the historical and ongoing injustices of racism and colonialism.

Still thinking through this one and I’m glad to have come back to Simpson’s writing, my first time with any of her fiction. The stories here each stand on their own but they form a beautiful collection, with connected themes and settings and similarities among characters. The stories are so heartfelt and a lot of them made me laugh as I was reading on my commute.

This is definitely one I’ll want to revisit, perhaps with the audio version so I can hear the stories told in Simpson’s own voice.

Book cover for I Wish I Could be Peter Falk. Yellow text over a photo of a purple armchair beside a small table with a lamp, all set in from of a light blue background.

I Wish I Could Be Peter Falk by Paul Zits
Genre: Poetry

He has outlived his usefulness. He is stressed, over-produced, and in crisis. He is searching for a role in modern society. So he is turning to Benedict Cumberbatch, green nylon bombers, and Rambo: First Blood Part II. He is turning to GQ, graphic knits, and Idris Elba. He is practicing his faces, his trances, his channeling, and his shopping. He is looking for something to impress, for a statement, for the suit with a reservoir of potential. He is dressing to out-alpha them all, and he is falling short.

I was excited for this poetry collection, first because of the funny title but also because of the summary that talks about it tackling toxic masculinity. However, I felt pretty lost with these poems and if the ‘toxic masculinity’ theme hadn’t been pointed out in the blurb I likely wouldn’t have picked up on it, and even with the hint I’m not sure I get it. Perhaps if there’d been more space to develop, both with longer poems and a longer collection altogether, this could’ve been expanded on.

There were some funny lines and I liked that parts of the poems were drawn from celebrity interviews. I may be interested in seeking out more from this poet but this collection wasn’t for me. Thanks to ZG Stories for a copy to review!

Do you prefer essay, short story, or poetry collections?

I received a copy of the noted book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Cover images and blurbs from Goodreads.


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