Worthy Books

The Books Everyone Should Love

(and We Hope You Will)


Copyright © 2016 Sue Clancy

Sue Clancy is a professional fine artist and illustrator with affection for the visual story. She is represented by 3 different commercial art galleries. Her illustrations have most recently appeared in Oregon Coast Magazine, Raven Chronicles and The Tishman Review. When not cutting and gluing handmade paper to make her artwork she can be found reading a library book alongside a dachshund named Rusty. More of Sue’s work can be seen at www.sueclancy.com


Life In, Life Out by Avital Gad-Cykman


Matter Press announces the release of its ninth title, Avital Gad-Cykman’s Life in, Life Out. This spirited collection of flash fiction deals with war and resistance, parenthood and childhood, passion and longing. There’s the slant of exile in it, as it reflects the author’s situation: an Israeli, living in Brazil and writing in English. These thirty-four stories have been published in places like W.W. Norton’s Flash International Anthology, Los Angeles Review, Salon, and Prism International. Avital’s work has also appeared in Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and Michigan Quarterly Review.


My Life at First Try by Mark Budman


This semi-autobiographical debut novel chronicles the life of Alex, born in Siberia in 1950, and his dreams of becoming a writer and of meeting Annie, his distant American cousin. As a child, Alex observes a group of foreign tourists do something that non-drunk Soviet adults seldom do: they laugh. Alex yearns to become one of them—a free and happy foreigner. Those aspirations quickly fade as Alex begins to encounter the absurdities and constraints of living in a society where conformity is institutionalized. Hilarious and sometimes sobering, the book’s short chapters chronicle making it through the army, mastering the English language, sex, and meeting the girl of his dreams. In 1980, Alex and his young family finally get the chance to move to America. There he realizes that he is finally a foreigner—not the happy foreigner of his dream, but an alien. Ultimately, Alex finds his own place in the world, despite the fact that having the right “to vote for an elephant or an ass” does not necessarily guarantee self-fulfillment.

Calling New Delhi for Free by Susan O’Neill

Calling Cover

Technology first rocked our world when a lightning bolt zapped a bush at the entrance to a cave, and First Man crawled out and stuck his hand into the mystical blaze. Centuries later, we still find technology fascinating, mysterious, distracting, vital and Wow! Shiny!–and it still fries our grasping, hapless human hands, not to mention our grasping, hapless human brains. These short essays are all about that tender point where the finger meets the flame, where the ecstasy and the pain live–and where the sweet, dark humor so often lurks. Most of them simply examine the craziness of everyday life. Some spring from weird travel experiences. Some pick at politics, niggle at religion, worry at war. They’re set in Starbucks, in my kitchen, in Viet Nam, in India, on a Russian train and a Greyhound bus; in Massachusetts, Indiana, Brooklyn and Times Square; in WalMart and Golden Corral, and at the second inauguration of Barack Obama. All have been published somewhere before. In all the pieces, there is a tie to technology, be it as strong as an anchor cable, or as tenuous as a spiderweb. This gives me a lot of leeway–because what, in this modern world, *isn’t* tied to technology? A final disclaimer: you certainly don’t have to be tech savvy to enjoy this book. You just have to be a human being with bandaids on your fingers. Which pretty much describes us all.

Flash Fiction International

Flash Int'l

86 of the best very short stories from around the world, almost all contemporary though with a few classics, too. Chris Merrill, director of U of Iowa International Writing Program joins Shapard and Thomas as coeditor. Sherman Alexie, Linh Dinh, Randa Jarrar, Franz Kafka, Stuart Dybek, Alberto Chimal, Qui Xiaolong, Natalie Diaz, Naguib Mahfouz, Bess Winter.



I’d Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them by Jesse Goolsby

IdWalkJesse Goolsby, whose flash “Highfives and Pitchforks” was published in Vestal Review in 2010, has his debut novel, “I’d Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them,” coming out June 2nd from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.



Simple Pleasures by A.W. Marshall

AWM Book Cover 2 jpeg

Simple Pleasures marks the debut of A.W. Marshall’s curiously addicting fiction.  In Marshall’s stories hearts can literally be touched, actually–grasped, and a rolling Head can terrorize a town. Here the power of sex both attracts and repels: lovers fall off a dizzy perch among branches, a plunge that alters the lives of others for decades; the accidental glancing touch of two strangers binds them to an increasingly disorderly life of physical pleasure; and the confluence of a cache of pornographic drawings and mistaken identity allow a man to escape his dreary life.  Surprises appear at nearly every turn in these intriguing, original stories, and Marshall orchestrates them beautifully.
—Philip Graham, author of How to Read an Unwritten Language and The Art of the Knock

Condensed to Flash: World Classics edited by Mark Budman and Susan O’Neill


“Condensed to Flash: World Classics” is a work that brings new life to the old classics. It’s an anthology for people who love concise writing that is intense, entertaining and educational. It’s an anthology that brings you the familiar in a new way.

Most classics are far from dry and boring stuff that was left to lie half-forgotten on the dusty back shelves of a school or college library. Still, it’s not a secret that they may lose some of their appeal to busy generations raised with computers and social media. This anthology to the rescue. Although condensed, our stories maintain the essence and allure of the classics while being short, fun, contemporary, engaging, yet deep and witty. Yes, flash literary fiction is even more cool and compelling than zombies, vampires and however many shades of grey are out there.

This anthology features variations on the themes of world classics, each condensed to 500 words or fewer. They are not summaries or CliffsNotes, but literary stories that stand on their own. As Jules Verne said, “You are going to visit the land of marvels.”


RIFT by Kathy Fish and Robert Vaughan


A stunning collaboration from Robert Vaughan and Kathy Fish, two masters of flash fiction, who’ve blended their work together in a vibrant explosion that is all of these things: evocative, heart wrenching, rare in the wild. The stories in RIFT explore the gamut of human connection and conflict, where emotions run deep beneath the surface. Divided into four sections: Fault, Breach, Tremor, and Cataclysm, writers Fish and Vaughan thread together their tales of strange encounters, mishaps, accidents, and disrepair. The world of RIFT is riven, tumultuous, and haunting. In here, danger lurks and the fallible human heart lay exposed and vulnerable. Fish and Vaughan leave their readers spellbound, mystified, and eager for the next story.

Edited by Paul Alan Fahey


THE OTHER MAN is an artistic collaboration by and about gay men and their relationships. If you’ve ever been the other man, had him invade your life, or if you’re just plain curious about this beguiling, sexy and unpredictable creature, then this anthology of personal essays is for you. Twentyone of our most acclaimed authors–many Lambda Award Winners and Finalists, such as Rob Byrnes, Jeff Mann, TomMendicino, Erik Orrantia, Felice Picano and David Pratt, write candidly about either being the other man, suffering the other man or having their relationships tested by infidelity.

Brevity by David Galef

In Brevity, David Galef provides a guide to writing flash fiction, from tips on technique to samples by canonical and contemporary authors to provocative prompts that inspire powerful stories in a little space. Galef traces the genre back to its varied origins, from the short-short down to nanofiction, with examples that include vignettes, prose poems, character sketches, fables, lists, twist stories, surrealism, and metafiction. The authors range from the famous, such as Colette and Borges, to today’s voices, like Roxane Gay and Bruce Holland Rogers. A writer and longtime creative writing teacher, Galef also shows how flash fiction skills translate to other types of writing. Brevity is an indispensable resource for anyone working in this increasingly popular form. For more information, see www.davidgalef.com/brevity.


What She Was Saying by Marjorie Maddox Hafer

In these powerful stories, What She Was Saying softens the already thin line between hope and hopelessness, between perseverance and despair, between what can and cannot be said. A finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter and Eludia book awards—as well as a semifinalist for Black Lawrence Press’s Hudson, Eastern Washington University’s Spokane, and Leapfrog Press’s book prizes—What She Was Saying gives voice to the lives we all need to hear.


FUNHOUSE by Robert Vaughan

FUNHOUSE by Robert Vaughan (Unknown Press) is brilliant, slippery pieces of flash fiction and longer form prose from the author of Addicts & Basements, and Rift(with Kathy Fish). Robert Vaughan is unrivaled in his ability to surprise, stimulate and explore. A magician with a typewriter. He returns here with stories to hypnotize in the Tunnel of Love, beguile in the Hall of Wonders, spin you around on the Tilt o’ Whirl.





THE MISSING GIRL by Jacqueline Doyle

In these dark and edgy stories, Jacqueline Doyle has made a dispassionate study of the degradation of girls and the twisted hearts of those who harm them. Most chilling is the ease with which these characters fall prey to violence and how quickly depravity finds its way past the surface of ordinary situations. Prepare to be very disturbed.
—Elizabeth McKenzie, author of MACGREGOR TELLS THE WORLD and THE PORTABLE VEBLEN (2016 National Book Award Finalist)






A New Dawn, by Sudha Balagopal 

At forty-eight, Usha has never dated. Like all good Indian girls, she married the man whom her family chose. Twenty-three years after success-driven Raja brought her to Phoenix, he leaves her a widow. Alone and aching, she does the unthinkable–registers on a dating website. Through pitfalls and blunders, Usha navigates new territory, discovering what she wants from life and love.

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