Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Michael J. Wolfe

Book Your Stocking 2018

Book Your Stocking: December 11

Thank you for returning to today's Book Your Stocking. Every December day of 2018, avid readers are sharing the one book they'd be glad to find in their winter stocking this year. Please welcome Michael J. Wolfe back to this year's edition. Read his last year's book recommendations, here.

Half-Light: Collected Poems
by Frank Bidart

It would delight and no doubt astound me to find in my stocking Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart, because 

  1. throughout the years his poems have always been around but not close enough; I’ve never owned one of his books; 
  2. What could be better than waking up on Christmas morning to a giant book of gay poems with a beheading gracing the cover?
  3. My stocking is so tiny and barely fit for a gift-card that for this 700+ page book to be in my stocking would mean something impossible would have occurred overnight, and I’d very much like to believe in that possibility as well as in the magic in Bidart’s poetry. 


Michael J. Wolfe
About today's reader: 

Michael J. Wolfe lives in L.A. where he is currently developing a documentary series based on queer history. He can be found online at WolfeWrites.com.


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Jack Kaulfus

Book Your Stocking: December 10

We've officially entered week two of the holiday season. This is the second year of Book Your Stocking, a series in which avid readers recommend the books they've most loved in the past year and would be delighted to find in their own stockings, socks, or slippers. 

Today's contributor is Jack Kaulfus, whose book-list I meant to feature last year, but I lost the list through the crevices of email and discovered it too late. Luckily, Jack agreed to share the list this year. Please welcome author Jack Kaulfus!


Half an Inch of Water by Percival Everett
One of my favorite books by Everett is Wounded, which is about all my favorite subjects: queer cowboys, horses, and the intersection of cultural violence, racism, and environmental disasters. I was thrilled to see Everett return to this territory, and am happily making my way through these wry, emotionally hefty stories.

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
This book has really stuck with me. For all its humor and character-driven drama, it's also a fast-paced mystery that tackles mental illness, cultural oppression, and gender identity. I listened to it, and it was a terrific recording with a excellent voice actor at the helm.

His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet
If you're like me and you secretly want to move to Wales and never return, this book will do until you can get your hands on some more Welsh fiction.  Even though it does take place in Scotland in 1869, it's got murder, peat bogs, and a schoolmaster named Gillie. It's a fictionalized dossier detailing the stories of a few people involved in a terrible family murder. The varying points of view deftly examine issues of class, education, and gender, making it a fantastic, layered mystery.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Reading this book was like watching a movie. It took a little longer, but not much, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about this particular multiverse since. This may be because I'm sci-fi soft and need my quantum physics to be couched in a dysfunctional family, but this one is two thumbs up for that day you can't afford Netflix anymore but you feel like some Black Mirror.

Her Body and Other Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
Kind of horrific, kind of funny, kind of inappropriate, complicated, multi-layered, super-feminist. Like every good book should be.

Marlena by Julie Buntin
I'm so happy this book exists. It's a meditative, page-turning, satisfying story about a beautiful mess of characters in a lot of snow. I barreled through it in the way that you can when you're actually enjoying each sentence.

Large Animals by Jess Arndt
Unabashedly queer and grounded in the visceral, Large Animals is a treasure of original writing, images, and ideas. Carefully crafted around characters who are struggling with some of the most basic questions of being, these stories always seem inches from going off the rails. That element of uncertainty under the control of Arndt is exhilarating and ultimately completely satisfying.


Jack Kaulfus
Jack Kaulfus is the author of  the story collection Tomorrow or Forever (Transgress Press 2018). Jack lives in Austin, Texas with their spouse, Bianca. Learn more about Jack, their writing, and upcoming appearances at jackaulfus.com. Follow Jack on Facebook.


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Ann Tweedy

Book Your Stocking: December 9

One of the best ways to spend a Sunday is with Ann Tweedy. Lucky for everyone, Ann is here today to talk books, wishes, and stockings. 

Please welcome Ann to today's edition of your favorite wintertime book-suggestion series.


We're On: A June Jordan Reader

We’re On:  A June Jordan Reader
, June Jordan, ed:  Christoph Keller and Jan Heller Levi.

In my stocking this year, I’m hoping to get We’re On:  A June Jordan Reader (Alice James Books 2017).  I love Jordan’s poetry—her grittiness, her advocacy for racial justice and for sexual freedom, her plain spokenness.  As a bi poet, I consider her one of my foremothers and feel empowered by her explicit linking of bisexuality and freedom.  Jordan was extremely prolific, publishing over 20 books in her lifetime, so We’re On doesn’t include all of her work.  But 500 pages of poetry, prose, and letters will get me well on my way to becoming more intimate with Jordan’s work and poetics.

About today's reader:

Ann Tweedy
photo by Karen Wolf
Ann Tweedy is a poet and lawyer for Indian Tribes who currently lives in Pierce County, Washington.  She is the author of The Body’s Alphabet (Headmistress Press 2016), which won a Bisexual Book Award and a Human Relations Indie Book Award and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Golden Crown Literary Society Award. Visit her website to learn more.


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Shellie Faught

Book Your Stocking 2018

Book Your Stocking: December 8

There is no better time for reading and wishing than winter. Luckily, Book Your Stocking combines both. All December long, writers and readers are sharing the books they most would love to discover in their stockings, socks, or shelving units this holiday season. 

Today's contributor, Shellie Faught, is making a direct request to both an author and ALL forward-thinking publishers, for exactly the book she would like to find . . . sooner than soon. Please welcome Shellie to the series.


Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer
The book I would be thrilled to find in my stocking does not yet exist -- a collection of short stories by author Kendra Fortmeyer. Her fiction is a delicious blend of surrealism, humor, heartbreak, and compassion. 

Her debut young adult novel, Hole in the Middle, is smart and beautifully written (and would make a fantastic addition to any teenage girl's stocking). 

Kendra's stories can be found on her website (http://kendrafortmeyer.com/fiction/) and "Asymmetry" will be released next season on the podcast, "LeVar Burton Reads" and can be heard and read on Podcastle, but a bound collection would be lovely for a stocking. 

Maybe in 2019? 

About today's reader:
Shellie Faught

Shellie Faught lives in Austin, Texas, and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. Her fiction has appeared in Black Fox Literary Magazine and her debut novel -- a quiet story about Satanic Panic -- is forthcoming . . . someday. Learn more about Shellie and her writing at her website: shelliefaught.com


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Bonnie Brunt

Book Your Stocking 2018

Book Your Stocking: December 7

'Tis the season for solitude and reading. Also, in many climates, socks, stockings, and other warm-foot coverings. As such, the best thing to do with a stocking is clearly to hang it from a knob, a door, a fireplace, a heater vent, or a shelf and then to put a book in it. 

Realizing the need for book suggestions to put in said stocking, all December, writers and readers are sharing the one book that they want to discover in their sock. If you aren't near their socks, the next best thing is to put the book in your sock or in the sock of someone you really like. 

That's what we do here every day of December on Book Your Stocking. So, without further ado, please welcome today's avid reader, Bonnie Brunt, with her book-wish. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (cover art)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (2017)

I would be so pleased to find this book in my stocking because I have wanted to read it for a long time. The premise is fascinating: the parallel paths of two half-sisters born in different African villages, one of whom was captured and sold into slavery, the other who married an Englishman. I am eager to read this story.


Bonnie Brunt
About today's reader: 

Bonnie is a mom, traveler, word-nerd, a speaker of Spanish. She's also a lover of nature, books, movies, and the arts. Formerly a Spanish instructor, she now serves as Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Spokane Falls Community College.


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Regi Claire

Book Your Stocking: December 6

For as much of December as we can fill, writers and readers--nay, book lovers--are sharing the book they would love to find in their winter stocking this year. So far, contributors have shared a book scheduled for publication, a book that may not be a book, a book discovered on the radio, and now, today's book is a book that somehow fell between the spines of all the other books she's read so far.

I'm happy to welcome writer Regi Claire back to this year's edition of Book Your Stocking.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1994)

A little ashamed of this inexplicable gap in my literary education, I admit to never having read Chinua Achebe’s acclaimed novel Things Fall Apart. It is one of several twentieth-century classics I have for a long time been meaning to seek out. Now, sixty years since its first publication, I hold my Christmas stocking wide open to receive this book with grace, and gratitude.


About today's reader: 

Regi Claire
Regi Claire is a Swiss-born novelist and short story writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has had work included in Best British Short Stories and is a two-time finalist for a Saltire Book of the Year award. Learn more about Regi, her books, and upcoming events at www.regiclaire.com


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Donna Miscolta

Book Your Stocking: December 5

Book Your Stocking 2018
You love books. Your favorite person loves books. You have a burning desire to love books. You have a book list ten miles long composed of book titles you must read now.


This is the place to be to revel in that love of books and to add another 1/4 mile to your to-read list. All December, writers and readers are sharing the book that they'd love to find in their winter stocking, whether they've read it, wish to read it again, or just discovered it.

Today's book recommendation is a discovery. Please welcome  Donna Miscolta who found a voice from the radio and traced it to a new book, just released this November.

Insurrecto by Gina Apostol
This is the book: Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

This is how I found it:
One morning in November, I turned on the radio and dropped into an author interview Scott Simon was conducting on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

I sat in the car, alert to the voice of the author whose intelligence, passion for her novel’s subjects, and humor and goodwill transfixed me.

Later, I went to the NPR site to read the interview with Gina Apostol and to find the passages that had most riveted me. 

Like this one about Elvis and who he belongs to:

The thing about Elvis is that I — you know, I didn't like him because he was my mom's favorite. But it was only a few years ago that I realized that all these songs that my uncles, when I was a kid, would sing — this is in the '70s — would sing for, like, long long long guitar-strumming fests, were actually all Elvis songs. So I actually thought Elvis was Filipino for a long time. ...

And this one about Americans’ history that goes beyond liberator:

I think it's important, for instance, for an American to recognize its multiple histories. You know, this history of wanting to be the liberator in the Spanish-American War period, but also recognizing the inhumanity that came from that war. So there's this tension of the two.

And this one about the kind of book it is:

…it's a Filipino book, it's an American book…

And this one about her intention as a novelist:

So I think as a teacher, it's just — given the difficulty of our times, it's also kind of liberating for me to do the work that I do as a novelist that's not at all separate from the ethical reader that I want, and the ethical citizen that I want in my classroom.

Shouldn’t we all read this book?


About today's reader:
Donna Miscolta
(photo by Meryl Schenker)

Donna Miscolta’s story collection Hola and Goodbye, winner of the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, was published by Carolina Wren Press in 2016. It won an Independent Publishers award for Best Regional Fiction and an International Latino Book Award for Best Latino Focused Fiction. She’s also the author of the novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced published in 2011. Recent work has appeared in The Fourth River, Cascadia Magazine, Moss, Blood Orange Review, and Seattle Review of Books. She writes a monthly blog at donnamiscolta.com.


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Julia Drescher

Book Your Stocking: December 4

Book Your Stocking 2018
Welcome back! Every day of December, writers and readers are sharing The One: the book that most captured them this year, a book remembered, a book found, a book wished for . . . a book that would utterly please them should they find it in their winter stocking. 

Please welcome back poet Julia Drescher, who is recommending today's book.


Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions by John Akomfrah (Author), Jean Baudrillard (Author), Judith Butler (Author), Tina Campt (Author), Ernest Hardy (Author), Dave Hickey (Author), and 6 more

I am not sure this book would fit in anyone's stocking!! (which is part of the reason I am so happy it exists! - it is a serious undertaking to figure out how to even read this book *physically*). Merely one reason why I love this book: it approaches an alternative to the whole problematic of the 'single artist' in such wonderful ways--the collaborative "casebook" construction (i.e. texts/artists that are/have been in some way present in/to Jafa's work interspersed with stills from his work etc.) is just amazing and so moving--like a library without walls (or something:)...

Here is a really good interview with him:


About today's reader:
Julia Drescher

Julia Drescher lives in Colorado where she co-edits the press Further Other Book Works with the poet C.J. Martin. Her book of poems, Open Epic, is available from Delete Press. 


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Kendra Fortmeyer

Book Your Stocking: December 3

Book Your Stocking 2018 
Well, friends and folks, we've reached the changing of the seasons and, thus, the festivities, customs, and traditions that winter brings. Here at What She Might Think, that custom is Book Your Stocking. All December, writers and readers will share books they would be delighted to discover in their winter stockings--or in their sock drawers, really . . . or dryers, which would be a lovely tradition: to find a book in your sock, wherever your sock may be. If you try that with family or friends, let me know.

This year on Book Your Stocking, writers will share The One: the book that captured their imaginations this year, whether that's an old book remembered, one they lost track of, one they are craving to read, one they did read and now love, or even a book that doesn't exist but how magical life would be if it did exist and appear in one's stocking--and so on: so many books, so many possibilities, so many socks and stockings to fill and unfill.

Please welcome the first contributor of the season, Austin, Texas author Kendra Fortmeyer.


As a Jew, I have no idea how Santa works -- I'm pretty sure he's a time traveler, right? I hope so, because that would allow him to leave the perfect book in my stocking: Gita Trelease’s debut Enchantee, which is forthcoming from Flatiron in February 2019.

This book – a YA fantasy set in Paris during the French Revolution – has everything: a bloodthirsty dress, a desperate heroine bound to save her sister, the birth of balloon aeronautics, the gilded intrigue of Marie Antoinette’s Versailles, a cameo by Marquis de Lafayette, magic powered by sorrow... it’s rich, luscious and intoxicating, a perfect winter read.

Kendra Fortmeyer

About today's contributor:

Kendra Fortmeyer is the author of the magical realist young adult novel Hole in the Middle, and a bunch of weird short fiction. Her work has won the Pushcart Prize and appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, LeVar Burton Reads, One Story, The Toast, Lightspeed, and elsewhere. Find her at @kendraffe or kendrafortmeyer.com.



Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Willow Springs, I'd nominate you for a Pushcart if there were an application

Willow Springs, Issue 82
The Pushcart Prize is an annual award bestowed upon written works published in small journals the previous calendar year. Most journals vie for the awards by nominating works for the prize, and submitting them to the Pushcart Committee for review.

This is the time of the year when you'll begin to see nomination announcements from editors, journals, and writers themselves. This is one such announcement. My story "Valentine's Day," published in the Fall issue of Willow Springs (Issue 82), has been nominated for a Pushcart by those-behind-the-pages of the magazine.

Willow Springs is a long-standing magazine based out of Eastern Washington University; every issue is created, curated, and run by writing students in the Master of Fine Arts program.

"Valentine's Day" follows three brothers on a night several years after their father's sudden death. It's a long story, at the 50-page mark; so I'm not only honored that they published it, as most journals shy from long works, but I'm also honored that they have risked nominating it since works awarded the Pushcart are published in an anthology, and so, again, space is surely considered by the committee when selecting the best works for an anthology that isn't a million pages long.
First page of the story Valentine's Day by Erin Pringle
Valentine's Day by Erin Pringle,
published in Willow Springs Issue 82

But, listen, my dear reader, luck's on your side no matter my Pushcart fate; you and all your favorite people can read "Valentine's Day" by ordering Issue 82 of Willow Springs ($8).

Additionally, you can subscribe to the journal ($18/year). Of course, when you subscribe, you're actively supporting the arts, culture, and the written pursuit of reality--not to mention ensuring the ongoing opportunity for graduate students to learn the craft of journal curation, creation, and publication. Willow Springs publishes non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and interviews. It's also one of few remaining markets that pays its contributors in cash-money (as opposed to payment in the form of a copy of the journal).

Now, I'd like to speak directly to everyone at Willow Springs. Thank you for supporting my work through publishing it and, now, nominating it for such a prize. Even if you don't consider it a risk (good on you), it was. And much of writing, if not life, is battling people, institutions, and groups who swerve from risk or interpret it as a wilderness that should be a hedge. Thankfully, confidence is contagious and yours plays no small part in my ability to write more today. Thank you for all the time, energy, and focus you have given and give the journal, its contributors, its writers, and our culture. May another group of readers and editors bless you with the same support and confidence as you go forward with your writing, editing, and arts careers.

P.S. Learn more about the Pushcart Prize at their website.
P.S.S. Follow Willow Springs on Facebook to learn about past, present, and upcoming issues.