Monday, January 8, 2018

Rapid Review: Open Epic by Julia Drescher

I read Open Epic (Delete Press, 2017) last week, and am re-reading it for the first of many times. Julia Drescher allows language to move to the edges of definition, slipping meaning in ways that is pleasurable and/always compelling to read. I always feel so at home when I'm with poetry, no matter how much it asks me to examine, and let go of, my expectations of what language can do, does, within and outside of itself. It is the most trustworthy teacher I have found, and Drescher is one of those brave, unflinching poets.











Were also in
danger then

The hunt must
Keep its

Distance must
In such larger danger

Whisper


(from Open Epic by Julia Drescher; learn more about the book here: http://deletepress.org/julia-drescher/)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A History of Family, Creativity, and Sisterhood: A Conversation with Author Donna Miscolta

An Interview with Northwest Writer Donna Miscolta

Hola and Goddbye by Donna Miscolta
published by Carolina Wren Press
Donna Miscolta,
photograph by Meryl Shenker



I had just begun reading Hola and Goodbye when I met Donna Miscolta in Missoula, on a panel at the Montana Book Festival this past autumn. The audience, we, and our panel talked about unhappy endings, reality, to be or not be a woman writer, death, words, fairy tales, folk tales, and more. I continued to read Hola and Goodbye, which is a blend between novel and story collection--a narrative, then, that follows a family from the 1930s to the present-day, after they first move to the United States. Each chapter is a story of a family member's life on the advancing generational timeline.

My reading experience of Hola and Goodbye was one of reveling in the unwinding history and the constant, yet fleeting, connection such a narrative provides, as characters age, live, have their own children, and then are seen through the eyes of their grandchildren--generation after generation. Such books provide a perspective on the world that reminds us of our simultaneous connections to each other, mortality, and the fading of those connections.

I enjoyed knowing a story that promised another story, and the constellation of lives that every one character's story contained. And when I had finished the book, I did what I've always longed to as a reader, begged the writer to let me interview her. Thankfully, she agreed.

What follows is my interview with author Donna Miscolta.

About Donna Miscolta: Her short story collection Hola and Goodbye was selected by Randall Kenan for the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman and publication by Carolina Wren Press in 2016. It won the Independent Publishers gold medal for Best Regional Fiction and an International Latino Book Award silver medal for Best Latino Focused Fiction in English. She is also the author of the novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced (Signal 8 Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, most recently in Moss and Blood Orange Review.

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Q: Your book Hola and Goodbye is a deep examination of a family whose story begins with Lupita and her husband beginning their adult lives in the United States. I understand that you wrote these stories over a long period of time, over a decade, which seems to account for the depth and complexity of the work. How did you achieve the patience that such a project seems it would require?
DM: I was writing these stories while I was working on my first novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced, so it was more like two decades spent drafting and redrafting these stories. Whenever I needed a break from the novel or when an idea for a story occurred to me, I would turn my focus away from the novel to these shorter works that offered a more immediate sense of completion and accomplishment. As for patience, I always knew it would take a long time to complete a manuscript, and though I would sometimes wish I was done already, I think I was accepting of the protracted and seemingly endless process. A lot had to do with working a full-time job, and at the time I started writing, my two daughters were very young. The moments I squeezed in for writing each day amounted to a half-hour or even an hour after the kids were in bed. 
I’m a slow writer. I’ve never experienced that zone of mad and furious creative frenzy. I’m very much a plodder, but a disciplined one. So, I think that was the key for me. Just going at it every day, knowing that eventually I’d come to the end. Thank you for your comment about the depth and complexity of the work. I think that came over time. I was learning more about craft, taking workshops each summer from writers I admired and continuing to read as much as possible to see how others constructed their stories and novels. This allowed me to both think deliberately about the elements of fiction and to learn to trust my instincts as well as my experiences as a reader.
When the de la Cruz Family Danced
by Donna Miscolta
Q: Do you find families themselves interesting or was this family interesting to you in a unique way?
DM: I find all families interesting. I like hearing about and reading about other people’s families. Writers, I think, are necessarily voyeuristic. The family I wrote about intrigued me for a number of reasons. The circumstances were similar to those of my own family – the immigration from Mexico, the loss of Spanish over generations, issues of identity and belonging. In fact, several of the stories arose from an anecdote or event I’d heard or observed in the lives of my family members. 
Of course, once that seed of truth made it onto the page, it bloomed into fiction. That was the fun and fascinating part – seeing how my own underlying emotions about family merged with how the characters and conflicts arose on the page. I felt both a loving and questioning eye on them, at their bonds with each other, at their betrayals of themselves or their dreams, at their intentions and the outcomes that fell just short or failed altogether.
Q. One of the assumptions, or perhaps myths, about families is that they provide connection, comfort, and safety. Many of the members of this family seem to experience their family as the tension and conflict in their lives, whether it's the immediate or extended family. The mothers don't always love their children, or maybe they do, but they don't find their children interesting--to the extent that one mother is repulsed by her daughters because they are so far from the "ideal" female. The women seem in sort of a damned-if-they-marry-for-love and damned-if-they-marry-for-stability. Family seems to be a myth they followed as fact, and now that they see the myth of it, use the idea of family in order to maintain their lives as they simultaneously wish to flee. Even Lupita, the matriarch, by the end of the book is used as a prop for the myth as her grandchildren set their babies on her lap and take pictures. Would you say your book is a rebellion against the myth of family, or confirmation of the myth, or how would you characterize the book's relationship to family?
DM: I think it’s a reflection of the messiness of family, due I think, to the mismatch between expectations (or myth) and reality. And, also, the expectations that culture and society place on social roles, particularly for women. I don’t think it’s a myth that families provide connection, comfort and safety. They can do that and at the same time cause embarrassment, discomfort, and pain. There are some families so dysfunctional that they are a menace to the well-being of some of the members and that’s sad and horrifying, and the only answer for survival is escape. 
But the family in Hola and Goodbye doesn’t reach that level of dysfunction. Theirs is more a normal dysfunction, if that makes sense. Love can be confounded and muddied by thwarted dreams, lost opportunities, and confining social roles. All of this can be exacerbated by underlying values from an immigrant culture that may not fit easily in the adopted culture. When the mothers in these stories don’t appear to love their children, it’s often an issue of them trying to love themselves in a world in which they feel undervalued and even unloved.
Q. I think your book reveals that family becomes more difficult to experience, whether that's being a member of one or rejecting one's place in one, when the family shares a cultural identity not shared with the majority of families whose values and myths shape what everyone's supposed to want. This seems to be one of the tensions in the book that every character is dealing with directly or indirectly. Could you speak to this, maybe in terms of your own childhood experiences or your observations of your own mother or as a mother yourself? It just seems like such a complex situation, being part of a family and then becoming the mother of one, too, when there are so many tensions and identities at play.
DM: Yes, that’s a very good observation, and I alluded above to that a bit – the complexities that culture and tradition bring to the already fraught family relationships. I think we often are very deliberate about making choices that differ from our parents and I think we can be a bit unforgiving or at least critical of the decisions they make on our behalf.  For instance, the Spanish language didn’t make it past my mother’s generation. My mother and her siblings saw no need to speak Spanish to us. They saw it only as a means to communicate with their mother. For a while I think we too considered it as a relic of some other time and generation, but eventually we saw it as something denied us. 
On the other hand, I think my generation was intent on having lives different from our mothers – college and independence, things that were not available to them because of economics and attitudes. With my own daughters, I made it clear early on that college, travel, and independence were givens. I think my mother was a little disapproving, or at least questioning, of my parenting. Our differences were generational but also reflected our respective distances from the immigrant experience of my grandmother. Families are organic things, always transforming and adjusting and sometimes it’s hard for some members to understand the others. We’re all moving at different speeds and in different directions.
Q. Rosa resonated deeply with me and is probably the character I will remember most because it seems like she had one shot at the life she wanted, and when her white boss uses the power dynamic against her, and shames her, she turns back to the cultural and gender expectations she'd been trying to avoid or surpass--and that, in turn, seem to crush her. By the end of the book, she returns to the narrative in such a surprising and sorrowful way. I guess I feel compelled by her story because no one seems to understand her. What drew you to creating Rosa? 
DM: I think Rosa’s story is the story of so many women – women who want more from life than it’s willing to give. Life can be a bully. Or rather poverty, racism, and sexism are the bullies in life. And so many victims are denied opportunity and accomplishment because even friends and family participate in that bullying. Some make peace with it, some seek revenge, some are destroyed by it. For Rosa, it was a little bit of all these things. I was happy to bring her back in that final story, “Sunday Dinner.”
Q. Which character did you feel a deep affinity with, and in what way?
DM: It’s hard to say. As I was writing each story, I felt deeply engaged with and attached to the main character of that story. A character who appears in several of the stories is Lyla, so I think that must indicate maybe not an affinity I have with her, but a fascination. 
In fact, since I’m now writing a novel about the twins from “Strong Girls,” Lyla as their mother is necessarily a part of the novel, and I’m really having fun further exploring her character, her relationship with her daughters, and her sense of self. She’s a woman whose dreams of success were dashed early, as were her attempts at living those dreams through her daughters. There’s a lot of pain and ambivalence in her, but also at her core is a love for her daughters that she really is incapable of expressing.
Q. The last two stories of the book seem masterfully placed. Did you write these for the purpose of ending the book? I have a difficult time deciding what order to put my stories in, and find myself searching for tips, reflecting on other books, albums, and so forth. So, I'm always interested in how other writers decide how to organize their stories. What was your method with this book?
DM: After I wrote the first few stories, I realized the collection would be a generational thing. I wanted to contrast the lives of the immigrant generation with the lives of the first and second generations born in the U.S. I wanted to look at what was sacrificed, what was lost, what gets taken for granted. Given the generational structure, it wasn’t too hard to order the stories. However, within each section I did have to give some thought as to which stories should come before others. 
I did write “Cursos de Verano” with the intention that it would end the book. My idea was to begin the book with Lupita having crossed the border from Mexico into the United States and end with her granddaughter, Julia, crossing the border into Mexico. The story “Sunday Dinner” was originally a quite different story, and I had placed it in the first section of the book and then later took it out because it wasn’t quite fitting. It focused on the long friendship between Lupita and Rosa. 
Eventually, I realized I wanted to close with a story like “Sunday Dinner,” but I knew it had to go beyond the friendship of these two women and focus on Lupita’s role in the family. I wanted to show how it had changed over the generations, to show how someone in our midst can be made to disappear because we are consumed with our own needs and wants.
Q. I'm always interested in a person's reading history. I remember my grandmother getting ready for bed by slicing an apple or orange, then taking the bowl and a book to bed. What memories from your childhood do you have of others reading?
DM: Though they made books available to us kids, my parents never read much, or at least, I seldom observed them reading. I think they just didn’t have time. My older sister and I read all the time. We went to the library every Saturday and when we could, we bought books through the Scholastic book orders at school. I remember my sister and me, lying on our twin beds, reading and reading and reading. Almost like a competition, something like a communing.
Q. Hola and Goodbye has been published for a year now, and you've been doing a lot of publicity events, from readings to panels to signings. Of these events, which one did you find most fulfilling, or was there a particular moment that resonated the most with you over the year?
DM: I found them all to be really fun and each rewarding for different reasons, but two were especially delightful. Once was being part of an artist series at the library in the city where I grew up. National City, just south of San Diego, is the inspiration for Kimball Park, the setting for much of my fiction. 
The National City Library was a vital part of my childhood and I have a particular affection for it, so going back there to read from and talk about books I had written was a special pleasure. The other event that really resonated with me was a panel I participated on at the Los Angeles Latino Book and Family Festival. There were three of us on the panel: me of mixed Mexican and Filipino heritage who had grown up hearing Spanish but didn’t speak it, a writer who had recently arrived from Mexico and was not quite fluent in English, and a bilingual Salvadoran/American. The audience was largely bilingual. It was fun how the discussion slid back and forth between languages. Also, the make-up of the panel reminded me of the level of Spanish vs. English fluency of each of the generations of the family in Hola and Goodbye.
National City Library
Q. Do you have another writing project in the works?
DM: I have two novel manuscripts in progress. The one nearest completion is called The Education of Angie Rubio, but I may change the title since several published works with similar titles already exist. The novel depicts the lessons about life, race, and identity a Mexican-American girl learns while growing up in the sixties and seventies. Two of the chapters have been published as short stories in lit journals – “Help” in The Adirondack Review and “First Confession” in the Santa Ana River Review.  
The other novel project is based on one of the stories on Hola and Goodbye. I mentioned earlier that I’m taking the twin girl wrestlers in “Strong Girls” into adulthood. The novel will explore such issues as body image, self-hood, and sisterhood.

Q. Who are three writers everyone needs to read?
Virginia Woolf, writing
DM: I think I’ll answer that by talking about three (or more) writers that have been important to me in terms of my development as a writer and a reader.  In my early twenties, a good fifteen years before I decided I wanted to be a writer, I read quite a bit of Virginia Woolf. What struck me was the emotions she could evoke in her writing by detailing, through the poetry of her language and the shape of her sentences, the seemingly small moments that were in fact substantial, weighty things.  
Several years after I began writing, I happened upon Nobody’s Girl, an early novel by Antonya Nelson. Her flawed, quirky, often unsympathetic characters appealed to me because they seemed so thoroughly human. Also, the humor that infused the scenes underscored the complexity of the characters and their relationships with one another. I’ve read many of Nelson’s books since Nobody’s Girl. 
I’m a fan of humor in stories – the subtle, organically educed kind more so than the overt hijinks kind – which is why one of my favorite books is So Far from God by Ana Castillo. It’s also a story steeped in Chicano culture and history, magic realism, and feminism – all of them integrated into and in the service of the story. 
Her Body and Other Parties
by Carmen Maria Machado
One other book I’ll mention is one that is recently out and which I reviewed for the Seattle Review of Books. It’s Carmen Maria Machado’s story collection Her Body and Other Parties. It’s innovative, inventive, lush with beautiful language, and daring. It inspires me to look at my own work and consider new ways of approaching subjects that interest me.

Recently in response to a question posed by someone on Twitter regarding craft advice, Machado had this response:
Read. Read read read read read read read. Read outside of your comfort zone. Read your favorites over and over. Read genres that are new to you. Read the classics. Then, imitate what you read until you're not imitating anymore.
It’s advice worth heeding from someone worth reading.





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Donna Miscolta,
photograph by Natalie Miscolta-Cameron
Continue reading interviews with Donna Miscolta:
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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book Your Stocking All December

Book Your Stocking: December 31

Many of you have begun, or finished, packing away ornaments, rolling the recycling to the curb, and wondering what project you could make with this year's Christmas cards, and so it is that time here, too, at Book Your Stocking. 

What began as my sharing my book wish-list and wanting to know what others might want, quickly became a lovely reading series here, albeit an impulsive one. Every day of December, different readers have shared what books they would give, and what books they would enjoy reading this coming year. Many of the readers are writers themselves, with their own books, so be sure to read their bios and visit their websites to learn more about their writing and what's next.

Please enjoy reviewing all the books that have appeared on this year's Book Your Stocking, and I look forward to next year's books and stockings. Thanks for following! All names below are linked to their individual recommendation and wishing lists.

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Holiday Season 2017

December 1 Erin Pringle
December 2 Tom Noyes
December 3 Sharma Shields
December 5 Kathleen Callum
December 6 Julia Drescher
December 7 Marilynn S. Olson
December 8 Chelsea Martin
December 9 Ira Gardner
December 10 Michael Noll
December 11 Donna Miscolta
December 12 John Kenny
December 13 Stephanie Noll
December 14 Christie Grimes
December 15 Regi Claire
December 16 Amelia Gray
December 17 Melissa Stephenson
December 18 Michael Martone
December 19 Michael Wolfe
December 20 Ann Tweedy
December 21 Abby Freeland
December 22 Rajia Hassib
December 23 Alvaro Rodriguez
December 24 Maya Jewell Zeller
December 25 Merry Christmas
December 26 April Cypher
December 27 Shawn Vestal
December 28 Polly Buckingham
December 29 Laura Robey
December 30 Barbara Simmons
December 31 Reprise

See you next December!

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Barbara Simmons

Book Your Stocking: December 30

Last night, we went to the bookstore because we had received reading gift cards from family. We spent a good long while moving through the aisles, searching for titles and remembering titles we'd long wanted and shelved in maybe-later. Many other people seemed meandering for similar reasons, the bustle gone out of them, but the brightness of quiet and solitude suited them better. And, thankfully, we have one more day of December before the series' reprise, and one more day of book wishes and book gives. May you add these to your own list, mental or pencil, and take them with you into the aisles of your own reading places.

Please welcome today's reader, Barb Simmons.

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To Give 



To Receive 



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Barbara Simmons,
photograph used with permission
About today's reader:

Barbara Simmons teaches English and is Director of  Composition at Spokane Falls Community College. She lives in Spokane with her husband and two daughters.

















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Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Laura Robey

Book Your Stocking: December 29

Welcome back to Book Your Stocking, the holiday reading series in which readers of all stripes recommend their favorite books and share what books they'd like to become their favorites, if someone would do the honors. The official gift-giving day has passed, but New Year's Eve moves ever closer, and seems a very good excuse to give words, and find words, that draw us back to ourselves and the ideas of others. 


Here's a new list of wishes and gifts from today's reader, and my childhood friend, Laura Robey.


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My Wish List 


I am going to continue working my way through all of the Newberry Award (and Honors) books. This year, I decided that I would like to own them all because that is the kind of treasure I want to keep. As a reading challenge and as a fun hobby, I began looking for the books at garage sales, used book stores, and library sales. Yeah, I could go online and find them, but the discovery and the actual reading of a well-loved edition simply makes me happy. 

Anyone who has spent anytime with me knows that I throughly enjoy quality children’s literature. I think it is the most overlooked genre. Although YA is certainly receiving plenty of attention now, adults who only look for a reading “challenge” are missing some of the most thought-provoking literature. Re-reading a book from your childhood is an intensely emotional experience that deserves time for contemplation and discussion.

Speaking of which, I have throughly enjoyed sharing my collection with my four daughters. I am able to read aloud to my 7-year old and share with my three teens. “Mom, do you have anything good to read?”  I simply take them to my growing Newberry Collection! 

After all that talk about simple books (from American authors no less), my other Wish List Item is a large leap. For the past few years, I have been drawn to the intimidating world of Russian Literature. Notice I said drawn to…I have yet to dive in. I attempted but quickly realized that I lack the language, historical knowledge, and cultural understanding was holding me back. I haven’t had the time to immerse myself in any of that but I am getting closer. So my goal this year is to spend time with Leo Tolstoy, specifically his short stories

My Gift-Giving List

Hard-Cover Gift Book for Anyone (And my go-to Baby Shower Gift)
I read this book for the first time earlier this year and “haven’t put it down yet.”  I purchased the audio version which is read by the author. It is my go-to to fall asleep, listen to in the car, and well, anytime I just need quality words. 

For My Seven-Year Old
A shared audible library with me
Sharing books this way has given me accountability in reading quality and classics. Playing alone in her room or laying in bed at night are her main listening times. For me, it is while driving or walking the track. Through audiobooks, we are spending time with the same “people” and in the same places, even when we are not together! Does she understand it all? Certainly not, but her vocabulary is increasing, and we have plenty to talk about. Our favorites: Little Women and Black Beauty. I just asked her which ones are her favorites and she is still listing, “Wizard of OzLittle HouseThe MoffatsMary Poppins…”


For My Teens
Yes, it is a religious self-help book so I am completely aware it isn’t for everyone. The book is meant to be read a chapter-a-day for 40 days. We read it together to begin our school day during the first quarter of the school year so it was it wasn’t exactly that. Rather it was a jumping off point for some serious discussion. The subtitle of the book  is “What on Earth Am I Here For?” and I can’t think of a more important time in your life to seriously contemplate that question! It gave me such insight into the way their brains/hearts process life. In addition to encouraging service to others and truly knowing yourself, it was filled with affirmations: You are valuable. You have unique gifts and abilities. You are necessary.  



For My Husband 
I read this book for the first time this year as I was trying to finish up last year’s goal of reading all of Steinbeck. (((Sigh.)))  I LOVED IT. I forced myself to read only a little each day so that this thin, little book would last me longer. Pretty much all I want right now is a camper…and to retire and travel. Since that isn’t going to happen for “a while” (see above mention of the 3 high schoolers and the 1st-grader!), he can read it and dream along with me until that time.


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About today's reader:

Laura Robey is a homeschool mom of four who lives in central Illinois. Her two oldest daughters joined the family through international adoption as teenagers, whose native language is Russian. (Hence the interest in Russian Lit.) In her spare time she reads, works part-time, taxies her children, and sings to her cat. She casually and rarely blogs at WhereLoveStarts.blogspot.com





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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.

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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.


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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.

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 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.


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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.


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


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To Get:


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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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