Review: Gnarl Writes a Book: Sort of… by Shaun McGrath

Note: The writer of this article was given a free copy of this ebook by the author himself.

This is seemingly a semi-autobiographical parody of a hobbyist writer trying to write books and the millions of distractions life throws at one while doing so. Making a living owning a farm, and taking care of chickens with the wife.

The scenery changes and the issues that arise are amusing enough. The writer himself falls asleep and starts dreaming of a sci-fi scenario, which intertwines itself loosely into a a dragon-slaying fantasy world, and then onto a ship sailing the sea. When the author snaps back to reality they find themselves going back into their unfinished stories from years ago, and trying to merge them into their current projects.

Reading some of their other work, confirmed my suspicion that on on a level, this story is wish-fulfillment for the author themselves. However, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

An amusing 4 star light light read at only 76 pages. Despite some formatting issues, I was able to read this comfortably.

It is available for 2.99 as an eBook here:

Restless Town by Madison Scott Clary (Audiobook)

This review is for the audiobook version of Restless Town by Madison-Scott Clary. She had been generous enough to briefly give it away for free on her web store, and I felt I should give it a listen, despite me owning it in physical book format already.

Madison (sometimes going under the alias, Makyo) has often experimented with interactive narratives. One of the short stories in this collection “You’re Gone” was initially one of these experiments. 

Makyo presents her stories in the audiobook in a way that reminded me of a kind of church sermon, which isn’t too surprising considering her other work. As well, I took note that each story is presented with appropriate content warnings before the stories start. 

Each of these stories in the book is set in Sawtooth, Idaho. I would not be surprised from listening to the author’s delivery of this audiobook, that the stories themselves may be partially autobiographical. 

The story “Disappearance” is somewhat of a fantasy many queer people such as myself might feel as if they’d want to do. In the story, the main character disfigures their appearance, and over several months documents their new life. 

“You’re Gone” made me cry. A story about the loss of a life partner, and then dealing with a family who doesn’t want to acknowledge their relationship.

  Presented are a wide range of relatable queer experiences, from coming out as and embracing your true self, to coping with obsessive compulsive disorder, to dealing with vague BDSM party negotiation. Makyo’s sincere delivery of the lines, made me cry along with them, grabbing me by the heart. I honestly wanted to hug them as I kept listening.

Restless Town can be purchased in a variety of formats (physical, ebook, and audiobook) directly from the author’s website, here.

Todays Read: Melody of a Street Corner by Sean Rivercritic

This is a tiny update unfortunately, but I hope to start doing actual reviews soon.

This is the second Goal Publications “Pocket Shot” book that I have read. I am not sponsored by the publisher in any way or form to write this post.

A pocket-sized 46 page read I read while waiting on a Zoom call. Having read the description, I knew I had to check it out as it is set in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a place close to where I spent my childhood summer vacations, Grand Haven.

Roland is an abandoned youth, left by their parents outside a grocery store. There, Roland grows up under the wing of his mentor, a busking homeless fox violinist named Christophe. After Christophe passes, they soon find themselves both without a father figure, and without a place to play their violin.

A comfy 20 minute read in a tiny book. I like the size of these. They’re a change of pace and as well, the shape and cover art make one curious about the contents.

This pocket sized story can be bought in physical form here at Goal Publication’s website, as well they also offer the story as an eBook.