> ALL HANDS ON: A THE2NDHAND READER (2004) | jason jordan

First and foremost, you must know that ALL HANDS ON, the2ndhand's latest release, is a great read. The large compilation features a myriad of authors from all over the country, and a few contributors hail from Chicago, which is the base for the broadsheet and online publication edited by Todd Dills. ALL HANDS ON is divided into five sections; the impeccable organization found within is one of the finer aspects of the book. Think Like a Mountain contains "near-speculative extremes in content and diversity of aesthetic," writes Dills in the introduction. Other components, such as Rock 'N' Roll and Itinerary, should be self-explanatory with regard to subject matter.

After the brief introduction by Dills and a short explanation of the different categories, the compendium commences with the brilliant Joe Meno story, The Astronaut of the Year. There are familiar elements present within Meno's short story; they range from launch countdown situations to utter realism with which readers easily identify. All in all, it's a fitting beginning and it successfully enthralls the reader just as the blastoff of a collection should. Highlights from Think Like a Mountain include Brian Costello's The Night I Told My Parents the Truth, Susannah Joy Felts' Errol, Inland, Germania Solorzano's Succubus, and of course, Paul A. Toth's inventive Think Like a Mountain.

Rock 'N' Roll opens with Matthews' hilarious Excerpts from Occupation: Rocker, the Slive Triangle Interviews, a series of random statements that expose the manner in which ludicrous rockstars conduct themselves. The former reminds me of something parody-metallers Spinal Tap might have coined. Lyrics by Jeb Gleason-Allured is a highly fascinating story about a kid obsessed with Axl Rose. Its rousing characters and black humor helps it succeed on all levels, as does Meno's Jim's a Punk Rock Loser. Perhaps my favorite piece, however, is Dills' own My Master of Puppets: Ode to Things Not Done. Citing Metallica's Master of Puppets album as a starting point, Dills delivers whimsical tales arranged track by track.

The Itinerary section follows with multiple, uh, itineraries. Of interest is Brodeur's YRARENITI NEEWOLLAH SDRAWKCAB, which details a Halloween party from end to beginning. Peruse further to encounter Jarvis' Itinerary for One of the Days That Now Runs Together. Often, the piece is laugh-out-loud funny. A Live chases Itinerary and this is where we read Adam Voith's Richie's Brother Shot Him and Dear GenerationChurch.com. Both stories are polar opposite in content while the latter is humorous and well-written.

The Tryouts section supersedes and we're immediately treated to Kostelanetz's creative 110 Milestones in a Future Life, which is interesting due to its roller-coaster emotional levels that are joyous or melancholic; surprisingly enough, those moments are all orchestrated through the utilization of one or two words, at most, per milestone. Also notable is the inclusion of Mickey Hess' Knut Hamsun, Ol' Dirty Bastard, a Teenage Girl, and Murphy's Things My Dog Sarah Has Eaten. ALL HANDS ON finishes with a blurb about each contributor and an appendix that contains an abundant amount of material.

Overall, the2ndhand's latest is a great addition to any book collection. This book houses a number of styles and authors, which are able to inflict various emotions upon the reader. Sure, it does have its filler in certain places, but the good far outweighs the bad in this anthology. With a catchphrase like "Literate apes unite!" how could you possibly go wrong?

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Indiana writer Jason Jordan has performed at the Old Louisville Coffeehouse and was the winner of Decomposition Magazine's first creative writing contest in July 2004 with his piece, Untitled.