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!