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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
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.
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
Jesse 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
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.
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. Twenty–one 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.
by Katharine Weber
Paul Dry Books (September 4, 2018)
“STILL LIFE WITH MONKEY is a brilliantly crafted novel, brimming with heart. Pairing poetry with wisdom, this is a story about what it means to live, love, and grow.” —Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
“Katharine Weber goes deep with the extraordinary STILL LIFE WITH MONKEY, a rich and compelling meditation on the question of what makes life worth living. Her characters are vividly, achingly real, including the tiny, furry one at the novel’s center. I kept thinking about all of them long after I’d read the final words of this beautiful book.” —Ann Packer, author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier
“In Katharine Weber’s new novel she takes on one of the most challenging subjects we know–the question of how to face a life we never imagined. She does so with great subtlety, tenderness and intelligence, as well as the beautiful prose we expect from her.” —Roxana Robinson, author of This is My Daughter
“Among the many brilliances of Katharine Weber’s new novel, is the whole idea of a ‘still life.’ Painters saw unnatural stillness as a contradiction in terms, yet containing a mysterious truth. Here, too, mysterious truth – a car accident, a wheelchair (another contradiction), paralysis, and honest and beautifully-drawn people, stopped in midpassage. To this still life comes the capuchin monkey, the service animal who attends the disconnections of the spine, the spirit, and of the species. STILL LIFE is life still–the theme of this original, remarkable book.” —Roger Rosenblatt, author of Kayak Morning
“STILL LIFE WITH MONKEY is radiantly tender and piercingly sad. Katharine Weber is a magician of a novelist, one who writes about loss and loneliness with such compassion and humor that we feel enchanted as we read.” —Brian Morton, author of Starting Out in the Evening and Florence Gordon
Duncan and Laura Wheeler are a couple in conflict over Duncan’s right to die after a devastating car accident has left him a quadriplegic. Duncan was a successful New Haven architect who savored the quotidian pleasures in life. Now, paralyzed and haunted by the death of his young assistant in the accident, Duncan is no longer able to experience the world in the deliberate, graceful way that has been so defining for him, and he isn’t sure if there is enough left for him to live for when every day has become “a broken series of unsuccessful gestures.” Desperate to help him rediscover his love of life despite his profound physical limitations, Laura, an art conservator with her own relationship to the repair of broken things, gets a highly trained monkey helper—a tufted capuchin named Ottoline—to assist Duncan with basic tasks such as turning a page or flipping a light switch. Duncan and Laura are surprised by how much joy they get from this sweet, comical, Nutella-loving little creature. She nearly replaces the child they were trying to have, and Duncan’s life becomes more tolerable, fuller, and funnier. But the question of whether it is enough still remains for Duncan. STILL LIFE WITH MONKEY is a stunning meditation on grief, loss, and sacrifice. It examines whether and how recovery is possible from a completely redefining event, how much control anyone has over life’s circumstances, and, who has the right to choose between living a devastated life versus ending it. Katharine Weber is a masterful observer of humanity, and STILL LIFE WITH MONKEY is a devastating little gem of a book: an honest and brave portrait of self-knowledge, love, and forgiveness.
Katharine Weber is the author of five acclaimed novels—True Confections, Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear—and a memoir, The Memory Of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities. Objects in Mirror, The Music Lesson, and The Little Women were all named Notable Books by The New York Times, two of her novels were long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and The Music Lesson has been published in twelve foreign languages. Katharine holds the Thomas Chair in creative writing at Kenyon College.
ABOUT MONKEY HELPERS: While the Primate Institute of New England is a fictional organization that exists only in this novel, Helping Hands, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is real. A non-profit organization that has since 1979 helped adults with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairments to live more independent and engaged lives, Helping Hands provides, free of charge, highly trained capuchin monkeys to help recipients with daily tasks of living. The only organization of its kind, Helping Hands raises and trains these special service animals in “Monkey College” for several years before carefully matching them with appropriate recipients across the country. Helping Hands provides active support and care for the duration of each placement at no cost to recipients. (www.monkeyhelpers.org)
Katharine Weber will donate a portion of profits from the sale of this book to Helping Hands.
Two of the dedicatees of the novel are Kent and Farah, as seen here in the first video in this story from the New York Times, Big Love for Little Monkeys: http://nyti.ms/25CXnWK
“Katharine Weber is one of the wittiest, most stimulating novelists at work today.”–Chicago Tribune
“Weber remains a writer to be cherished, with the added, and quite rare, virtue of never writing a word too much.”–Publishers Weekly
“Weber’s skill is such that her puzzle engages the reader throughout.”–The New Yorker on The Music Lesson
“Throughout Weber’s tricky, tension-filled plot, double-crosses, murder, and art forgeries dramatize the deeper themes of love, refuge, and loss.”–Entertainment Weekly on The Music Lesson
“Weber packs humor and wit into a coming-of-age novel for modern-day young women and sisters everywhere.”–Booklist on The Little Women
“Extraordinary…Triangle is a strange, haunting and utterly compelling work that will linger long, like smoke after a fire.”―The Baltimore Sun on Triangle
“A thing of beauty…A structurally dazzling novel whose formal acrobatics have a purpose beyond their own cleverness. That is, to make readers feel anew the tragedy of the Triangle fire.”―Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air on Triangle
“Ms. Weber is able to arrange words musically, so that they capture the elusive, unfinished melodies that haunt our memories of childhood.”– Ben Brantley, New York Times on The Memory of All That
“Gracefully written, poignant and droll.”–Dallas Morning News on The Memory of All That
“A masterful memoir of the private world of a very public family.”–Boston Globe on The Memory of All That
“A great American tale.”–New York Times Book Review on True Confections
“Marvelous, a vividly imagined story about love, obsession and betrayal.”–Boston Globe on True Confections
|“Succulently inventive.”–Washington Post on True Confections|
Messiah Tortoise by James R. Gapinski
Messiah Tortoise contains ten linked flash fictions, each taking place in the same zoo. In this structurally innovative and darkly humorous collection, readers find a tortoise with stigmata marks, an agoraphobic grizzly bear, disappearing flamingos, a group of teenagers playing paintball with lemurs, and several rightfully disgruntled zoo employees. Lindsay Hunter, author of Eat Only When You’re Hungry, says “James R. Gapinski’s Messiah Tortoise is like a trip to a zoo after a pink cloud of nitrous has settled overhead. You’re elated, you’re having fun, and you’re in tune in a way that surprises you.” Ashley Farmer, author of The Women, raves “The dark, smart absurdity of James R. Gapinski’s writing jolts and delights in equal measure.” This collection is available now from Red Bird Chapbooks.
There’s a secret to finding happiness: Sell your childhood. This offbeat novel-in-flash follows twentysomething John Thomas, who wanders the country selling his childhood. Along the way, he turns the book into an instruction manual on how to begin selling your own childhood. You can download this new release for FREE right now on Amazon.
Sarah Layden’s The Story I Tell Myself About Myself, winner of the inaugural Sonder Press Chapbook Competition, is an intimate, deftly crafted collection.The fictions housed here, while brief, are delicate and deliberate, each capturing at once the vast, fleeting fragility of our existence and the singular, profound experience of each moment lived. And while these are stories of abandonment and regret, of desire, guilt and longing, there is love and good intention, faith and wonder here, as well. Layden crafts her prose with precision and a keen understanding of the nuance of language. Each story is a measured mouthful, sweet and full on the tongue.The Story I Tell Myself About Myself tells the story of all of us, the spectrum of our lives laid bare, our own reflection refracted.
“The Story I Tell Myself About Myself by Sarah Layden is a wonderful assemblage of pure storytelling genius. These fifteen stories are by turns heart-wrenching, funny, and deliciously surprising. Layden is a deft, intelligent writer at the height of her powers. Read this book, then seek out everything else she has written.” – Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life
“Sarah Layden’s excellent new chapbook is sleet and ice cracking. It’s ducks, boots, candles, and comets. It’s phone calls and packages, ham salad and ovulation. It’s so many things all pulled together with the strong, confident pen of Sarah Layden. These stories dwell in leaving and loss, displacement and memory. Layden lets the world in, breathes the world out. Join her.” – Sherrie Flick, author of Thank Your Lucky Stars
“Loss and disappointment permeate Layden’s stories, often fantastical allegories…we feel it, too, in the straight-shooting family narratives. Either way, the dead-on characterization grounds the reader…There is something familiar in Layden’s stories, and it stings.” -Thea Swanson, author of MARS and The Curious Solitude of Anise
Biographical statement: Sarah Layden is the author of a novel, Trip Through Your Wires (Engine Books). Her short fiction appears in Boston Review, Booth, PANK, Vestal Review, Blackbird, Wigleaf, and other venues. She teaches creative writing at IUPUI.