What holds people back from reading these days? I hear it all the time: “I love books, but I’m too busy” or, “I used to read, but now with the kids I can’t get much further than the first page.” Whenever I review and give away a book of short stories, I see many similar comments from readers who love shorts because they’re able to get something artistic back into their lives in the small amount of time they’re able to eke out. If you hang out on carp(e) libris reviews, chances are you wish as I do that you had hours of every day to devote to artistic pursuits, whether it be reading or slapping paint on a canvas. But if all you’ve got is a minute or two, all is not lost to you.

A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women is just what the muse doctor ordered. These stories are truly short short; all under 1,000 words each, some no more than a paragraph or two, and each one brilliantly written by one of four highly creative women. This book is divided into four sections or “chapbooks” highlighting the work of one of the writers: Amy L. Clark, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, and Claudia Smith. All four were nominated for Rose Metal Press’s first annual short short chapbook contest, Claudia Smith being the winner.

If you like the unusual, if you like to see the mostly unspoken fragments of life brought forth in an uneasy yet entertaining manner, if the art part of your mind is starving for attention, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness will bring you brain food in small but fulfilling pieces. These are not wishy-washy shorts, oh no! They cover all the uncomfortable ramblings, the hidden and forbidden fragments that have rammed through most of our lives, either wanted or unwanted but there nonetheless. As a whole, this book pulls us together into a secret sisterhood of “I’ve been there and darned if I didn’t like it either.” If I had to pick one word that describes all these stories, it would be “powerful.” I was fascinated and inspired by how much all four authors were able to fit into each story, as I am sure you will be too.

Now that you’re properly aching for this book, I’ve got one extra copy of A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness to give away. Enter to win by midnight EST, June 6, 2008.

1.) Leave a comment telling me something about the level of art you’re able to fit into your day, if any. Are you able to read a lot? Do you search for ways to feed your creative brain? (Something more than “I want this book” is kindly suggested.) Here’s your shot at creativity for today; if the randomly chosen winner doesn’t reply to my email telling them they’ve won, I often choose the #2 winner based on their comment.

2.) or Subscribers are automatically entered into this and all future giveaways. Just enter your email address in the little white box on the upper part of the right hand column. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail.)

3.) or Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back.

Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win!


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  2. I began working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way series several years ago. Among other things she requires writing at least 3 “morning pages” each day upon arising. To my surprise I found myself enjoying the task and continue to do it (O.K., not always 3 pages these days). My home-schooled son, Ben, meets me every morning at The Conker Cafe and reads aloud while I make us breakfast (we’re self-employed at home–not the restaurant business). I read aloud to him and The Mother on many evenings, presently To Kill a Mockingbird. And–cardinal rule–I carry a book with me everywhere I go because you never know: waiting rooms, traffic jams, coffee shop stops. . . . My latest “tote-around” a great old Victorian pot-boiler: Ellen Wood’s East Lynne. Just discovered you this morning from your Passager Books connection. So much for “nobody’s reading any more”. Keep up the great work.

  3. I’m one of those people that doesn’t have as much time to read as I did before we had kids.

    We have been doing a lot of camping with the boys over the last two years, and I always drag a few books with me, and I usually come home without reading anything.

    My son has to read 20 minutes every day for school, so now we have reading time together. It’s the best time of the day!

  4. I eat breakfast, feed my son his breakfast and read at the same time. I run to my book when he goes down for a nap. I try to get my reading time in each day! Sometimes I only get through a few pages of a book, but that’s how it goes. This books sounds like a great “I only have a few minutes” book.

  5. I read everyday, and visit my art galleries, once a month. Also, I attend musical events and watch a lot of indie movies and documentaries each week. Art is always in my life, I am an actress :)

  6. Good Evening, You are really making me think on this one! I am glad you talked about what chapbooks are because I could have guessed by the “chap” part, but glad to know it means sections. I learn so much from you! Different days mean various art themes and time! I love to make cards and collages, but my craft room is a mess and I get aggravated because I can’t find anything. Reading is right up at the top of my artistic persuasions and I am also beginning to review books for some authors! Some days, I do get quite a bit of reading in and others none! Guess I need to start making the time for myself and my creative side. Please enter me in your drawing for this different sounding short stories book. I love a class I had taken in college about short stories. Many thanks, Cindi

  7. I’m reading less than I used to since I took up knitting. I try to set aside about an hour on most days specifically for creative activities, but I also try to fit in bits of creativity between other things whenever I can. I listen to music while I’m doing chores.

  8. I am able to read a lot. I have about an hour metro ride to work every day where I can read, sometimes I read during my lunch hour and my husband and I read together about an hour before we go to bed.

  9. Everyone says it, but mine is the same. I love to read but just don’t find the time. I like reading in bed at night but lately I go to bed so late it just doesn’t work. I do read my devotions in the morning before I go to work. I’m not sure if you consider that art but that is my story.

  10. Honestly it may not seem like art but blogging is my creative outlet. I can do it with my kids running around the room, I can do it quickly, I can pause in the middle if I need to. I also love to read but get more frustrated when I am constantly interrupted. I do read everyday though after the kids are in bed.

  11. Reading is the most enjoyable part of my day since it is relaxing and I lose myself within the pages of a book. Escape and dreams are part of reading and this provides me with realms I can picture.

  12. I try to read at least at some point every day, usually before bed is when I can fit it in. Blogged ya:
    Great giveaway, thanks!

  13. Short short fiction is a challenging genre (I’ve published some myself). I’d love to see these people’s take on the form.

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  16. A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness – Review & GiveawayJune 3, 2008 in Book Review and Giveaway

  17. I read daily and I also create digital art on regular basis.

    I have blogged about your contest here .

    I also subscribe to your blog through Google Reader.

  18. Oh, good. I was confused. Totally count me in!

  19. Barbara Baker

    I love to read and try to do it quite often. Right now I am reading “Your best life now; for moms” and it is great, but it is a book that you go back to often. I am so interested in this book and would love to win…

  20. When I have short attention span I do read short stories. I find more and more authors are taking to short story writing. Recently I was sent two books which are collections of short stories.

  21. I keep a book with me at all times, hoping I’ll be able yo sneak in a page or two.

  22. The closest I come to art is a picture book or magazine.

  23. As a female freelance writer I’m always interested in the works of other women.

    You also asked how much ‘art’ we incorporate in a day. Personally, it’s an everyday occurance for me. Many years ago I had a dream that was so vivid and life changing, I told my dream to a very gifted artist. She drew what I had explained to her I’d seen in the dream. Once she gave me the drawing, I had it double matted and framed. This is something I look at daily! It’s a constant reminder that I’m never alone. It’s next to a painting I brought back from Romania. This painting, too, I see daily. It’s a reminder of all those in that nation that I came to love as much as I love my own family.

  24. Patricia Schraier

    I’ve found a way to fit art into my life by becoming a website designer. There’s room for enough creativity to satisfy my artistic side.

  25. I read every night before I go to bed. I try to read about once a week (mainly history) during the day if I have some afternoons free. I am crafty and like to make things. Right now I am learning to sew.

  26. I am addicted to reading, and the short story is one of my favorite forms. I look forward to this volume.

  27. This sweepstakes has been featured on Sweepstakes Advantage, http://www.sweepsadvantage.com. The Web’s Largest Directory of Free Online Sweepstakes. Good Luck to Everyone!

  28. Elizabeth Mays

    I am a big scrapbooker and so that’s my big creative outlet. I absolutely love it! I’m so sentimental so being able to use photos in an artistic way is the best. I also enjoy doing logic puzzles and crossword puzzles to keep my brain active. I like to keep challenging myself since I’m no longer in school. I read every night before bed even if it’s just one quick chapter before I collapse. I love the idea of this book being composed of short stories. Sometimes that’s all I have left to give a book at day’s end so the thought of being able to complete a whole short story or two every night is exciting!

  29. count me in

  30. I try to allow for at least one hour per day of enjoying or doing something artistic or reading though a lot of it is done online. Sometimes, this just involves checking out friends’ and strangers’ photo albums online as I do not get out much and live vicariously through others.

  31. I am just about finished with Miranda July’s short stories, “No one belongs here more than you” and realize how much I adore the short story format.

  32. Cheryl English

    Reading is fundamental. I read the paper every day, magazines, books. I research and read on the internet every day. On weekends, where I live they have Art Walks once a month. I go to all of the shops to view their prized art works. Phenomenal way of expressing one’s inner being. Just love to read and look through the eyes of artistic ability, at it’s best.

  33. Reading has become my renewed passion….calms the craziness!!

  34. christopher h

    i read as often as i have time

  35. I don’t have alot of time to read, so it would be good for me.

  36. I used to be an avid reader, but not I don’t have much time to read anything except for the nightly bedtime stories that I read to the kids. This book sounds pretty intersting, and I would love to be able to read something for myself. I especially love that it is literature written by women. This book of short stories would allow me to enjoy the pleasures of reading again in the little “me” time that I have.
    Thanks for the contest!

  37. My brain has felt restless of late but I really don’t have the time to get through some 400 page novel, so these shorts are just what I need! And the whole sisterhood theme in bits and fragments which is how I think anyway since I have such a short attention span!

  38. I like the unusualness of the book! Count me in please.


  40. dianna murrah

    Love Books written by women, & it sounds very interesting…

  41. I read all summer – that is the beauty of being a teacher with summer’s off – the only problem, I don’t get to read very often during the school year, but I really make up for it in the Summer!

  42. I give myself time at the end of the day to enjoy a best-seller.

  43. I’m a busy grad student who is also an aspiring author. I fit art into my day by writing poetry (rather than fiction, which takes longer) when I can, and by reading before bedtime. Thanks!

  44. My creative outlet at the moment is trying to get all our “old” (pre digital) photos into scrapbooks – my goal is to do at least one page a day – some days I’m successful, other days not so much!

  45. Short bright novels add a zest for life and keep the mind and the spirit stimulated. many Thanks SW

  46. Buddy Garrett

    I have very little time to read but I take advantage of the time I have to read. I read short stories and I try to read one book a month.

  47. Charlene Kuser

    I have a short attention span
    so I would really enjoy short
    stories.Thanks for the giveaway

  48. I like the fact that this book contains short stories. Great for a short time in the garden sunshine.

  49. I really enjoy short
    stories.Thanks for the giveaway.

  50. I read a lot and blog about it in my blog. When the mood strikes, I also write short poems as an outlet for my feelings and my creativity.