The book sets a staggering pace, especially considering how slow the journey of 8,000 kilometers progresses. Not only is the river surrounded by some of the densest jungles in the world, but for much of the year the rainforest is flooded, turning the land into a murky swamp that Stafford has to wade through for days on end.
In the hands of someone who spends more time writing about expeditions than experiencing them, the journey could have easily been exaggerated and overwritten, particularly in regards to the dangers.
Shomer is an award-winning poet and short story writer who's written six previous books, but this is her first novel. I sat down with Shomer in her Tampa home days before the global release of The Twelve Rooms of the Nile.
Publisher's Description: This guide from the writers and editors of The Stranger has the information you will actually need that no one else will tell you—for college and for the rest of your existence—including: how to not get a STD, what the music you like says about you, how to turn a crush into something more, how to come out (should you happen to be gay), how to binge drink and not die, how to do drugs (and which ones you should never do), tips on flirting with film nerds, and Dan Savage's very best advice on sex and love.
Honky Tonk (W.W. Norton, $50) is a glorious, big book of photographs, so it deserves its own beach towel. Henry Horenstein here collects 40 years of photographs of great country musicians — many of them while performing near his New England home, but many of them at the old Ryman Auditorium or Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville. There are classic portraits of Mother Maybelle Carter, Speck Rhodes, Harmonica Frank Floyd, and other entertainers, but the book also turns the camera toward the audience for a loving and leering look at the Country Music Fan. Some of them have hair that defies all laws of nature. It's a fascinating look at that time and a celebration of the closeness between artist and audience in country music. Great to see some of those faces of the old, traditional country music and contrast them with today's bland, middle-of-the-road country singers. There are still great, authentic country singers today, but few of them reach the sort of audience that the manufactured ones do.