The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 276

Mid-Summer 2016

Our Favorite New Books
In the first half of 2016 we found some new
novels, polemics, biography, and psychological treatises
that pleased us in style, execution, and the usual pizzzazz.
Here are a dozen or so.

Solving the Problem of On-Campus Guns
"I generally occupy myself
at faculty meetings by drawing doodles,
or by taking a little nap.
Amy took the occasion of that meeting
for a little target practice."

Inventing a Better Mousetrap
"This stout volume is a pure delight,
giving us a peek into the minds of self-described inventors,
- - - daring, unstoppable, part looney - - -
assuring us that problems could be solved to bring
profit and acclaim to all with their can-do, change-the-world,
damn-the-torpedoes stance"

One Wild Bird at a Time
"Do birds magically tend to flock
to the homes of birdheads through some kind of strange
transmission that the rest of us are unaware of?
The only creatures who want to nest at my house are skunks
and drunks. What does that say about me?"

The Word Detective
"Every few pages, he will take a rest,
plucking a word-jewel from what he has just written
lead us through its origins, its lore, and any peccadillos
that may be hiding in its shady history."

Heroes of the Frontier
"Eggers is one of those writers
who pulls you right in from the very beginning,
won't leave you alone, even when he's telling
of a woman who would rather not be in anyone's radar."

The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering
"Airplane Food is a vast processing plant
where Pop spends his shifts cracking eggs for
plates of ready-made airplane food.
That is until he kills a threatening little thug named I Murder
by throwing him into a vat of boiling eggs."

"In the Framingham Heart Study,
a scan of the head-bones of 2,000 people
with no clinical diagnosis of stroke discovered that
over 10 percent of these healthy participants had had strokes
sometime in their lives.
These are called
silent strokes."

Hitler, Mussolini, and Me
"He obviously doesn't get it:
treating these two with humor - - -
no matter how scatological - - -
is an insult to the living and the dead."

Great Reviews from the Past
Prayer Warriors
"How would it be to accept everything,
especially his family's non-acceptance?
Leave them to their world; stop trying to convert;
stop telling them how wonderful his gay life."

Two of Our Prized Reviews

Been There, Done That
"He married Debbie Reynolds, the girl next door.
Their's was the ideal marriage, at least to the media.
'I've often been asked what I learned from that marriage,' he says.
'That's simple: Don't marry Debbie Reynolds.'"

The Million Dollar Mermaid
"Jeff was standing in the middle of the bedroom
in a red wig, a flowered chiffon dress,
expensive high-heeled shoes, and lots of makeup.
She screamed. And screamed. And screamed."

Halstead's syndrome

Blue People

Student Protest
"We further demand that the University remove
Washington from its name, in view of
General Washington's infamous record as
a general, a militarist, a slave-owner, and the evildoer
of innumerable microaggressions. His name must be eliminated."

My Sister

Part I
"She who never thought seriously about sickness,
nor her body, nor death,
is thinking on them now,
thinking hard on them."
Part II
"They gave her a special ribbon,
with a silver moon on it,
which she hung on her neck,
which hung where the new silver moon
of the tracheotomy hangs now."

Great Readings from the Past
Frog's Legs
"Somehow the safety of children,
a subject of obsessive, passionate national concern today,
simply didn't bother anyone I knew.
Maybe this was good for us.
Maybe it made us brave and carefree.
Or maybe reckless and foolhardy.
Or all of the above."

Viking Breath
"How does it feel to be the Cultural Attaché
for the North Pole, the ice
of the voiceless?
No encyclopaedia will give you shelter.
As life drifts by, the waters ache
and pallid faces stare from every porthole."

In Our Stairwell
"In the evenings,
a bunch of youths
dwelt in our stairwell.
They drank vodka,
pissed up the wall
and jeered humankind."

In a Whale's Belly
"The whale's stomach supplied Jonah's organism
with a perfect combination of proteins,
fats and carbohydrates. Of course,
it was stuffy in there, and it smelt fishy,
but in general Jonah found his situation
quite bearable."


The Vivisection Mambo
has just been published in quality antique typeset style.
It consists of 125 poems of the new Neo-Realist School,
many appearing here for the first time.
In a starred review, Kirkus called it
A fine anthology of some of the best contemporary poetry around.

The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
was published over two years ago.
It contains 200 or so of what we believe
to be the best articles, readings, reviews and poems
from this magazine --- from our very first years to now.
If you subscribe to RALPH, you get a free copy of this anthology ---
which was listed by Kirkus as
"One of the Best Books of 2014."

All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

b. 1985 - d. 1989
Our predecessor magazine received
enthusiastic encomiums from media writers at
The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times,
The San Francisco Chronicle,
and on
National Public Radio --- among others.
You can now find links here to all thirteen riotous issues.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

With your $25 subscription,
you help perpetuate honest,
noisy, pesky book reviews ---
plus ensure the survival of
this rare if odd online literary journal.
You will also receive
a free copy of our anthology,
the two-volume Best-of-Ralph
which, is, in the real world, they say, priceless.

T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Reviews, Poems & Essays
Suggestions for would-be contributors --- and payment schedule.
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Mho & Mho Works
A Dozen or so Books from Our Foundation's Publishing Arm
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.
More Than 250,000 Unique Visitors Annually
886,246 Page Hits in 2015

Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176

       Visit Our Previous Issue        Visit Present Issue       Visit Our Next Issue