Thursday, December 28, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Polly Buckingham

Book Your Stocking: December 28

As New Year's Eve draws nearer, you might be mulling over the you of 2017 and the you 2018 could bring--from resolutions to recharging, from musings to wanderings--and how much control you actually have over the transformations. 

Because I've returned to reading this year, I look forward to all the change the books this coming year will bring. --How all of these writers sharing their words, thoughts, wishes, fears, and ideas will affect my own. It's slightly exhilarating. 

And joining us today is another reader who is sharing her own book lists, to-give, and to-read, which are also lists of stillness and change, I think. 

Please welcome today's reader, Polly Buckingham.


Giving List

(When you read something and say, "wow, there's nothing else like this"--and also you're delighted and moved)

Love’s Last Number is a stunning, all encompassing collection, shiny and sad, wise and generous: think owls, King Arthur, and Mahler in a clef-shaped canoe. This is Howell's 10th collection.

Despite the darkness, these stories, linked by an earthquake, are ultimately not so much hopeful as they are spirituality enlightening. 

Wishing List

The master who claimed two adjectives must be hard earned--these stories were long hidden since the the Nazi Pogrom after Babel's unfortunate early death. I've read a handful of the stories: tight and weird and vivid and dark. I look forward to reading them all.

I've read four of five Crace novels, all spectacular, fable-like, weird and beautifully rendered. This one looks more speculative than the others.


About today's reader:

Polly Buckingham
Polly Buckingham is the author of The Expense of a View (Katherine Anne Porter Award winner) and A Year of Silence (Jeanne Lieby Award winner). She teaches creative writing at Eastern Washington University and is the editor of Willow Springs and founding editor of StringTown Press.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Shawn Vestal

Book Your Stocking: December 27

Every day of December, readers have been sharing their giving and/or wishing lists. Although it may be after the official day of unwrapping, these days are often the best for the warm-quiet of reading and removing oneself from the crowds. And should you prepare a New Year's reading list, or gift books for that day, if not all year long, here is another wonderful list of possibilities for you and yours.

Please welcome today's reader, Shawn Vestal.


 This is a list of the books I enjoyed most this year. Whether that makes any of them a good gift is another question.

1 – Ill Will, Dan Chaon – This is for the person on your list who yearns to be wrapped in a brilliant and relentless straightjacket of dread and mystery. Beautifully plotted and written, Ill Will invades your idle thoughts and haunts your dreams. Merry Christmas!

2 – Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead – A wrenching story about American slavery, with an ingenuous and deftly managed conceit: What if the Underground Railroad were really an actual underground railroad? 

3 – Don Quixote – I’m in the middle of reading this now, and while there is much to admire, it’s also a great value because it might take six or seven years to finish.

4 – The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood – I somehow never got around to reading this until lately. A potent futuristic parable about patriarchy and the sexual purity brigade that’s well-suited for the political moment. I love Atwood, and this one just bristles – from the individual lines to the social commentary.

5 – Norwood, Charles Portis – This is for the person on your list who loved True Grit. If there is a person on your list who hasn’t yet learned to love True Grit, I’d give them True Grit
6 – Can’t and Won’t, Lydia Davis – Formally, Lydia Davis just beats the living hell out of the short story: She stretches it, squeezes it, flattens it, drains it of drama and injects it with a new modes of drama. This book is a delight for those who relish that sort of thing. 

7 – Zero K, by Don DeLillo – I stopped reading DeLillo for a few years, and this was a welcome return to those metallic DeLillo sentences coldly navigating the global catastrophes.

8 – Breaking and Entering, Joy Williams – The next book on my to-read list. I don’t know anything about it, except that Joy Williams wrote it. Which is enough.


About today's reader: 

Shawn Vestal
photograph used with permission
Shawn Vestal is the author of Daredevils, a novel that won the Washington State Book Award in 2017, and Godforsaken Idaho, a collection of short stories that won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for debut fiction in 2014. His short fiction has appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Ecotone, The Southern Review, Cutbank and other journals. His essays and non-fiction have appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker web site and other publications, and he writes a column for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., where he lives with his wife and son. He is a graduate of the MFA program at Eastern Washington University, where he now teaches.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Book Your Stocking with April Cypher

Book Your Stocking: December 26

After a day's break so that you could find what books appeared in your stocking, we return with more books that readers are giving and wishing for this holiday season. So, if you find yourself wandering the bookstore aisles soon, here are a few more titles to add to your winter reading list.

Please welcome today's reader, April Cypher.


To Give:
The Book of Bones, Gabrielle Balkan
Euphoria, Lily King
The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass
The Beggar Maid, Alice Munro


To Get:


About today's reader:
April Cypher
photograph used with permission

April Cypher grew up in Southwest Montana. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Missoula, Montana, where she is at work on her first novel.


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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Maya Jewell Zeller

Book Your Stocking: December 24

Christmas Eve!! That's what today is, and Book Your Stocking sweeps in again to save your day, especially if you're a last-minute book-buyer and this is your last minute.

Please welcome Maya Jewell Zeller who is sharing her reading wishlists and giving lists.



Giving list 

Patterns and In Between, both by Mita Mahato


Maya Jewell Zeller,
photograph by Ellie Kozlowski
(used with permission)
About today's reader:

Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts (a collaboration with visual artist Carrie DeBacker); Yesterday, the Bees; and Rust Fish. She teaches poetry and poetics for Central Washington University, and lives in the Inland Northwest with her family.


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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Alvaro Rodriguez

Book Your Stocking: December 23

Here we are, readers, in the last weekend of frantic window-shopping or the cool calm before the blizzard of family, friends, and memories that uplift and drown us. Perhaps you will find some time to order a book off today's list of books, or find one in the bookstore or library today, and hopefully the silence will find you in the low light of your reading lamp.

Please welcome today's reader, Alvaro Rodriguez.



American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Buddha - Osamu Tezuka
Chasing Comets - Ernest Dempsey
El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Maus - Art Spiegelm
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Persepolis - Marjane Sartrapi
Rust - Jonathan Waldman
The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov
The Martian - Andy Weir
Watchmen - Alan Moore
Y: The Last Man - Brian Vaughan

About today's reader:

Alvaro Rodriguez,
photograph used with permission
Alvaro Rodriguez is from Bogota, Colombia and uses writing to communicate with the world through speeches, poems, and essays. One of his great passions is life because he has walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that taught him to see the world in a very different way.

Alvaro is an eager reader of science, poetry, fiction, and politics. Additionally, he has a great appreciation for art, languages, music and semantics. He enjoys taking part in poetry readings at Barrel and Keg in Salem, Oregon, and his poem "My Normal Week" is forthcoming in Willawaw Journal.

He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Albany, Oregon where he specializes in the study of Corrosion.


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