Have Words–Will Write 'Em

On Books, Writers, Most Things Written, Including My Light Verse.

Another 100,000 Galleys–On the State of Indie-Book Publishing

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In The Los Angeles Review of Books, I talk with writers, Robert Bausch, Polly Frost, Nina Vida, Molly MacRae; newspaper book editors Laurie Hertzel, Ron Charles, Greg Cowles, and freelance book critics, reviewers, and more about the state of indie-publishing.

I look forward to reading your comments here on my blog or on the LARB site.

Editors, reviewers, and even many authors believe that if you self-publish, you’re branded a sinner of sorts. You wear a scarlet S-P, signifying that you can’t get published because your work is inferior. If you promote your own work on the Internet, you must sheepishly precede the phrase “self-promotion” with “shameless.” It’s difficult to quantify the extent of the stigma, but we all know that publishing your own work has been frowned upon by writers for decades. Recently, genre authors Amanda Hocking (who writes young adult vampire novels) and John Locke (pulp thrillers) have had so much success independently publishing and selling hundreds of thousands of their own books that you’d think the self-publishing wall would’ve been kicked down and lying in a crumbled mess by now. But the stigma attached to publishing, promoting, and selling your own written word persists. Most writers, like Susan Shapiro, who’s written for the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and has conventionally published eight books, including comic novels and nonfiction though St. Martin’s Press and Delacorte, remain convinced that it’s better to get a mainstream publisher. Shapiro, who’s helped hundreds of her students get published, recently told me she would consider self-publishing, but only “if everybody else turned me down.”

Click the image below to read more in the March 17, 2012 edition ofThe Los Angeles Review of Books.

Written by Joe Peschel

March 17th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I Review Megan Mayhew Bergman’s “Birds Of A Lesser Paradise”

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Megan Mayhew Bergman is a top-notch emerging writer. In this first book, “Birds of a Lesser Paradise,’’ a collection of a dozen stories, she portrays in fine realistic prose female characters balancing relationships with their fathers, mothers, and partners, as they fight their own foibles and insecurities. Her characters are strong, sensible, but vulnerable.

Bergman’s stories take place mostly in the South – on a prison farm, in the Carolina swamp, and on the road. (A North Carolina native, Bergman lives now in Vermont.) But no matter the locale or the humans involved, there’s always an animal of some sort – a dog, a bird, a cow, a wolf – that influences her characters’ lives.

Click the image below to read my review in the March 7, 2012, edition of the Boston Globe.

You can buy Birds of a Lesser Paradise at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

March 7th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I Review “Mr g” By Alan Lightman

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To hear Him tell it, He, Mr g, awakes one day from a long sleep in the Void, and, finding himself bored, decides to create the universe, actually myriad universes. He concentrates His efforts on one He especially likes and develops it on His own, despite interference from cranky old Aunt Penelope, who worries that He might really mess things up.

Click the image below to read my review in the January 26, 2012, edition of the Boston Globe.

You can buy Mr g at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

January 27th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I Review “Smut” by Alan Bennett

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In August, Nicholson Baker blurted out a new book, “House of Holes,’’ his adolescent-like narrative of the sexual escapades of several one-dimensional characters frolicking through an extended dirty joke that might’ve aptly been titled “Smut.’’

“Smut,’’ though, happens to be the new book by British writer Alan Bennett. If Baker’s sense of humor in “House’’ is unrestrained, and ahem, smutty, Bennett’s is subtle and often wry, full of clever word play, innuendo, and decidedly British. Oh, and there are naughty bits, too.

Click the image below to read my review in the December 28, 2011, edition of the Boston Globe.

You can buy Smut at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

December 28th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I Review Paul Theroux’s “Murder In Mount Holly”

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Paul Theroux’s publishers market his new book as a comic-mystery-thriller. It’s comic, but it’s not new and the only mystery is why the publisher doesn’t hawk it as satire.

Click the image below to read my review in December 25, 2011, edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

You can buy Murder In Mount Holly at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

December 24th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I Review “Before the End, After the Beginning” by Dagoberto Gilb

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“What is it I gotta do?’’ the Mexican asks the cop who suspects him of burglary but has no actual evidence. Several cops arrest him on the catch-all charge of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, although it appears the cops are doing the most of the disturbing and all of the fighting. The unnamed Mexican narrator is not entirely blameless – he’s been fooling around with his married ex-girlfriend, and like many of the characters in these stories, has a checkered and shady past. “You were born,’’ the cop answers. “Until you die, the rest is on you.’’

Click the image below to read my review in the December 5, 2011, edition of the Boston Globe.

You can buy Before the End, After the Beginning at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

December 7th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I Review Richard’s Burgin’s “Shadow Traffic”

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Often, Burgin’s characters miss the meaning of all they’ve undergone, and they’re left with memories of regret and anguish. They’re obsessive, eccentric, sometimes sociopathic. Yet, from the smartest college man to the murderous drunk, from the drug dealer to the harmless but conflicted housebreaker, they’re mired in thought, “grappling with some of the painful riddles of the world.” They worry about money, they try to find love without much success and, of course, they worry about death.

Click the image below to read my October 9, 2011, review in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

You can buy Richard Burgin’s Shadow Traffic at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

October 9th, 2011 at 9:49 am

I Review Floyd Skloot’s “Cream of Kohlrabi”

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The book includes stories about athletes and wannabe athletes, a three-story middle section peopled with a hodgepodge of characters, and a final group of stories about the elderly and the dying. Of these 16 stories, Skloot’s most successful combine pathos with humor, farce with terror. His most convincing characters suffer from some sort of physical illness: heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other dementia that accompanies old age – Skloot himself is disabled by viral-borne brain damage.

Skloot’s best stories are about the elderly. They take place in retirement homes or under hospice care, where the characters face death sometimes with bravery and pragmatism, sometimes with delusion and optimism.

Click the image below to read my October 7, 2011, Boston Globe review.

You can buy Cream of Kohlrabi at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

October 7th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I Review “Best American Short Stories 2011”

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The 2010 and the 2008 collections of “Best American Short Stories’’ chosen, respectively, by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo and Salman Rushdie, delivered some of the truly best stories of this century. This year’s collection, picked by another Pulitzer Prize winner, Geraldine Brooks, fails to match the excellence of the two earlier volumes, though “BASS 2011’’ isn’t as weak as the 2009 Alice Sebold edition.

Click the image below for my October 6, 2011, review in the Boston Globe.

You can buy Best American Short Stories 2011 at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

October 5th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I Review “Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin”

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There’s unbeloved Arlen Specter: “kindly as a rent collector”; Mitt Romney: “quick to shed his moderate regalia,” may be “lacking genitalia”; and John Boehner: “Others in the party are insaner.”

Trillin’s the Garrison Keillor of New York City,
Often urbane, charming, and witty.
He’ll make you giggle in a hurry
But the feller’s really just from Missouri.

You can read my September 11 Star Tribune review by clicking the image below.

You can buy Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

September 11th, 2011 at 11:00 am

More on Robert Bausch’s “In the Fall They Come Back”

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Robert Bausch is an award-winning writer who’s written and traditionally published seven books. His newest novel, In the Fall They Come Back, is as good as the best novels I’ve reviewed or just read in quite a while, and that includes a couple of major prize winners.

Photo by Tim Bausch

Based on a true story, In the Fall They Come Back is Ben Jameson’s narrative, a sort of fictive memoir, of his time teaching at Glenn Acres, a small private prep school in Virginia. It’s a quiet story about a teacher’s relationship with his students. There’s Leslie, beautiful and dangerous, a femme fatale everyone warns Ben about; Suzanne, who is mysteriously damaged and mute; and George, who’s physically beaten at home and bullied by the kids at school. Ben fights with and placates abusive parents, bucks the school system, and soon faces sexual misconduct charges.

Ben tells his story with the benefit that a few years of contemplation and wisdom provide. He’s in law school as he recounts those two years of not just teaching, but “about caring a little too much; or maybe about not caring enough” about his disparate and desperate teenage students. It’s his benevolence for his students that undoes Ben and ultimately destroys one of the three students he attempts to save. Bausch does a masterful job as storyteller seamlessly moving from the mid- to late-1980s, in this wise and profoundly heartrending novel.

It’s 1985 when Ben, who’s recently finished graduate school, takes a job teaching English at Glenn Acres. He has no intention of being a professional teacher; instead he’s taken the job with the idea of eventually going to law school, but he’s happy to get the job. Ben has his 120-130 students write business letters, book reports, and personal narratives. Mrs. Creighton, the head mistress, also requires that Ben’s students keep daily journals and fold over the pages that no one will read. The catch: Ben must read everything on the folded pages. To satisfy Mrs. Creighton, Ben agrees to tell the white lie to his students. For a while, he goes through the motions of being a decent teacher. But soon, he aspires to be better than the sort of mediocre teacher he encountered when he was in school and considers making teaching his life-long work. He adopts a mentor, Professor Bible, but eventually, Ben goes far outside the bounds of Bible’s advice. He finds himself becoming more involved in the lives of his students and near assaulted by an angry parent. His girlfriend Annie says he has a “Christ Complex”: trying to fix everything and solve the problems of his students.

Bausch depicts Ben not only as wonderful but flawed teacher, but as an amazing human being. Bausch’s novel is steeped in realism—you won’t find any post-modernist techniques here, only subtle artistry from a brilliant writer who so cares about his characters that he depicts them, especially the students, succinctly, vividly and often poetically. Leslie is not just beautiful: Bausch writes about “her fine hair almost the color of a daisy’s eye, swaying in the fall breezes.” Suzanne is not just plain-looking and shy, but has “stringy hair that hung in front of her like a bright red waterfall, and she never took her eyes off the floor in front of her.” Bausch is a marvelous artist and storyteller as proven in his first novel On the Way Home (1982), and again in A Hole in the Earth (2000) and Out of Season (2005). In the Fall They Come Back,  an indie-published book, is destined to be considered among his best work.

You can buy In the Fall They Come Back at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

This is a longer version of my August 28 review in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

–Joe Peschel

Written by Joe Peschel

September 7th, 2011 at 9:44 am

I Review Hisham Matar’s “Anatomy of a Disappearance”

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Raised early on in Libya and Egypt, novelist Hisham Matar is an American-born Libyan writer who now lives in London. In 1979, Matar’s father was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Gadhafi regime and hasn’t been seen since. Matar’s first novel, In the Country of Men, (2006) dealt with a nine-year old child’s perspective on atrocities committed by the Libyan government: kidnappings, torture, public executions. The book, semi-autobiographical, was short-listed for the Mann Booker prize and was a fiction finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle’s award.

Matar’s second and newest novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, also parallels the author’s life; it speaks, again, of loss and longing in a story that is at once poetic and mysterious.

Nuri el Alfi (age fourteen through his mid-twenties) narrates this tale of his father’s disappearance at the hands of a tyrannical unnamed Arab regime. Father, Kamal Pasha el-Alfi, was a former minister in the overthrown government and the executed king’s closest advisor. The current regime sees him as a “backward traitor, ” though he’s “done nothing but call for the freedom of his people.”

It’s 1972, around the Christmas holidays. Nuri and his twenty-eight-year-old paramour of a stepmother, Mona, are in a restaurant in Montreux, Switzerland, when she reads the news that Nuri’s father has been abducted in Geneva. Soon, Mona, young Nuri, the family lawyer Hass, and the police begin a search for Father. The search is fruitless, but Nuri tries to remain hopeful, even while he’s away in boarding school.

Nuri was raised primarily by the maid Naima, who loves him like a son. Nuri returns that love. His love for Father is more complicated. He not only loves Father, a confident and elegant man who followed his own law, he wants to be him. His need for his father is intense: Nuri’s whole capacity for hope and longing are directed at his missing father.  Sometimes, though, Nuri isn’t occupied by discovering what happened to Father; he’s obsessed by the physical need to be near him. He imagines detecting a whiff of Father from the man’s watch; he smells Father’s “musky warm skin, ” ) though the man is absent. Nuri’s sexual relationship with Mona complicates but doesn’t diminish his love for Father.

Culpability, failure, and regret consume Nuri. “I felt guilty too, as I continue to feel today, at having lost him, at not knowing how to find him or take his place. Every day I let my father down.”

Later, at twenty-four and out of graduate school, Nuri tries again to track down Father. He pursues old leads, tracks down Hass, witnesses, and household servants, especially Naima. Some of those leads reveal an astonishing view of Father’s private life; others manifest insights into Nuri’s own. A heartfelt mystery of a novel, trenchant and poetic at just the right times, Anatomy is a topical and excellent follow-up to In the Country of Men.

You can buy Anatomy of a Disappearance at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

September 1st, 2011 at 9:37 am

I review Robert Bausch’s “In The Fall They Come Back”

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Based on a true story, “In the Fall They Come Back” is about a teacher’s experiences at a small prep school in Virginia…Ben tells his story with the benefit that a few years of contemplation and wisdom provide. He’s in law school as he recounts those two years of not just teaching, but “about caring a little too much; or maybe about not caring enough” about his teenage students.

Click the image below for my review in the August 28 edition of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

You can buy Robert Bausch’s In The Fall They Come Back at Barnes & Noble or at Amazon.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 28th, 2011 at 11:04 am

“Who’s in Best American Short Stories 2011”

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Here are the authors and the stories included in The Best American Short Stories 2011.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Ceiling,” Granta

Megan Mayhew Bergman, “Housewifely Arts,” One Story

Tom Bissell, “A Bridge Under Water,” Agni

Jennifer Egan, “Out of Body,” Tin House

Nathan Englander, “Free Fruit for Young Widows,” The New Yorker

Allegra Goodman, “La Vita Nuova,” The New Yorker

Ehud Havazelet, “Gurov in Manhattan,” TriQuarterly

Caitlin Horrocks, “The Sleep,” The Atlantic Fiction for Kindle

Bret Anthony Johnston, “Soldier of Fortune,” Glimmer Train

Claire Keegan, “Foster,” The New Yorker

Sam Lipsyte, “The Dungeon Master,” The New Yorker

Rebecca Makkai, “Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart,” Tin House

Elizabeth McCracken, “Property,” Granta

Steven Millhauser, “Phantoms,” McSweeney’s

Ricardo Nuila, “Dog Bites,” McSweeney’s

Joyce Carol Oates, “ID,” The New Yorker

Richard Powers, “To the Measures Fall,” The New Yorker

Jess Row, “The Call of Blood,” Harvard Review

George Saunders, “Escape from Spiderhead,” The New Yorker

Mark Slouka, “The Hare’s Mask,” Harper’s Magazine

Written by Joe Peschel

August 25th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Posted in News

I Review Fabio Geda’s “In the Sea There are Crocodiles”

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[Geda] admits, “this book must be considered to be a work of fiction… In the end, it seems a surprising authorial admission, because if we accept his premise that this is a work of imagination, it seems curious that Geda fails to do more with it.

Click the image below to read my review in the August 2, 2011 edition of The Boston Globe.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 2nd, 2011 at 11:09 am

I Review Richard Zimler’s Novel “The Warsaw Anagrams”

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The investigation often takes them outside the ghetto’s borders. They uncover murders of similarly mutilated children and suspect everyone: Nazis, Jews, Polish collaborators, apathetic Christians, or a conspiracy thereof. The mother of a murdered and mutilated girl thinks the children’s parts are being used to create a golem, a magical creature, “[t]o protect us.’’

Click the image below for my review in the July 7 edition of  The Boston Globe.

You can buy The Warsaw Anagrams at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

July 6th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

In the Fall They Come Back

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Watch for my review of Robert Bausch’s In the Fall They Come Back coming soon.

Written by Joe Peschel

June 24th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Posted in News

NBCC Chooses Lisicky Piece as Exemplary Review

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The National Book Critics Circle chose my Boston Globe review of Paul Lisicky’s novella The Burning House as an exemplary review.

You can buy the book at Barnes & Noble by clicking the image below.

Read my review at Powell’s on the “Review-a-Day” page.

It’s the second time I’ve had a review chosen as an exemplary review. The first one, also a Boston Globe review, was on Martha McPhee’s “Dear Money,” posted about this time last year.

Written by Joe Peschel

June 22nd, 2011 at 12:05 pm

What Are Your Favorite Short Novels?

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I asked friends on Facebook—writers, reviewers, critics, readers—what their favorite short novels were, short being less than *217 pages.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was the best loved. Six people mentioned it, and that doesn’t include me. I try to read it every year.

Three persons chose William’s Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow as their favorite. Likewise, three persons chose Richard Bausch’s Peace.

Short novels by Steinbeck, Joseph Conrad, J. D. Salinger, Henry James, and Ernest Hemingway were popular, too.

Here are the responses:

Amy Holman:
Sitting in the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma-Kola, by Paulette Jiles.

Lee K. Abbott:
So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell.

Ted Gioia:
Some of my favorites: The Spoils of Poynton (Henry James), The Black Swan (Thomas Mann), The Day of the Locust (Nathaniel West), The Great Gatsby (F.Scott Fitzgerald), The Gambler (Fyodor Dostoevsky) and Swann in Love (Marcel Proust).

Charles Baxter:
Ditto Lee K. Abbott’s choice: Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow.

Jan Eliasberg:
Couldn’t agree more—William Maxwell’s heart-breaking gem of a book, So Long, See You Tomorrow.

Robert Bausch:
Peace, by my brother Richard Bausch. After that, The Great Gatsby.

Allen Wier:
Ditto Bob Bausch—Peace and The Great Gatsby and R.G. Vliet’s Rockspring.

Rachel Helene Swift:
Peace is so beautiful, one of those perfect novellas that leaves you feeling like you’re clutching something precious.

Jill Jones:
The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.

Harvey Freedenberg:
There should be more of them, but here are four picks, three classics and one fairly recent (1) Gatsby; (2) The Old Man and the Sea; (3) Slaughterhouse Five; (4) Last Night at the Lobster [by Stewart O’Nan.] In the five years I’ve been reviewing, I’ve read more than a handful of novels that might have been better at fewer than 217 pp. than they were at their actual length.

To which I (Joseph Peschel) said:
I’d say that Bolano’s 2666 would’ve been better under 217 pages, but then I’d be hanged for heresy.

Stephen Fried:
A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean.

James Marcus:
Good Will, by Jane Smiley. Technically a novella, but what the hell. Also, The Beginning of Spring, by Penelope Fitzgerald, or just about anything else by Penelope Fitzgerald.

I (Joseph Peschel) asked:
What’s the difference between a short novel, a long short story, and a novella?

James Marcus:
A long short story is two anecdotes, a novella is three anecdotes, a short novel is four anecdotes and a car chase.

Jeri Kraver:
Franks Norris’s McTeague. Henry James’s Daisy Miller. Two terrifically teachable novels—so it might be the academic in me talking. Or Daniel Araon’s The Americanist.

Cynthia Haven:
Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier. And also C.S. Lewis’s less polished (but fun) The Great Divorce.

Ann Elizabeth Cavazos:
My taste is odd, admittedly. First choice would be Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, my copy from 100 years ago is crumbling but comes in at 177 pages. Now I will weep with shame and admit I have always loved S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, which comes in at 180. My copy of To Kill a Mockingbird just misses the limit. Because I read to my children, the short novels I’m aware of tend to be YA. Also love Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.

John Orr:
Cannery Row, Steinbeck.

Chauncey Mabe:
Lots of gold to choose from in that stream. The Aspern Papers, by Henry James leaps to mind. The Snows of Kilamanjaro, by Hemingway. The Awakening, Kate Chopin. At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft. The Stranger, Camus. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain. The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald. Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor (oops! Might be a tad too long). Siddhatha, by Herman Hesse… I gotta pick one?!?

which started the conversation below:

Why do you ask?

Joseph Peschel:
I noticed a GalleyCat question on Twitter about favorite long books. So, being the contrarian I usually I am, I thought I’d asked writer and critics about their favorite short books.

Joseph Peschel:
Sure, you can pick more than one.

Chauncey Mabe:
Thanks. You may have given me a blog subject for tomorrow.

Chauncey Mabe:
If I had to pick one, it might—might—be The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark.

Joseph Peschel:
Damn! I was gonna put it on my blog later!

Chauncey Mabe:
Oh, please, be my guest. There’s no end of things to write about.

Joseph Peschel:
There’s no reason we both can’t post this stuff on our blogs, is there? The more…

Chauncey Mabe:
True. Then we can compare misperceptions.

Joseph Peschel:
Should we count the small-print version of War and Peace?

Chauncey Mabe:
Yes, absolutely. Ulysses, too.

Mark Wisniewski:
You can’t go wrong with Of Mice and Men. &, yes, people tend to hate Hemingway, but there’s a lot to learn about storytelling from the few pages in The Old Man and the Sea. Then of course there’s this awesome new novel due out this October that’s right around 217 pp, titled Show Up, Look Good—wait a minute, that’s MY novel!

Kelly Cherry:
Death Comes for the Archbishop, Cather; Death of Ivan Ilyich. Can we say that Crime and Punishment is a short novel? It’s at least relatively short. Family Happiness by Tolstoy.

Joseph Peschel:
You know Kelly that greater than symbol was a boo-boo, supposed to be less than.
I mentioned the small-print version of War and Peace to Chauncey Mabe. We agreed that it and Ulysses should be counted. So, I guess “Death Comes” and “C& P” are in—if and only if they are the small-print versions. Does anyone have a magnifying glass?

Michael Shapiro:
Paar Lagerkvist’s The Sybil.

Leora Skolkin-Smith:
The Lover, by Marguerite Duras.

Paul Lindholdt:
Henry James, What Maisie Knew.

Dawn Tripp:
An Imaginary Life, by David Malouf; The Stranger, by Camus, Snow Country, by Yasunari Kawabata; The Lover, by Marguerite Duras; Ransom, by David Malouf; The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with The Sea, by Yukio Mishima; Emily L., by Marguerite Duras. (Ransom, by Malouf, is the only one that bends your rules a bit—comes in at 224, but e-x-q-u-i-s-i-t-e.)

Stephen Kiernan:
Pan by Knut Hamsun.

KC Bosch:
The Moon is Down Steinbeck.

Laura Orem:
Gatsby. It’s like holding a gem up to the light every time I read it.

Henry Cabot Beck:
Conrad, Billy Budd, Salinger’s novellas; Baby is Three, by Ted Sturgeon; Henry James’s Turn Of The Screw, & Washington Square.

Rick Carroll:
Silk, by Alessandro Baricco.

Otto McCarthy:
The Heart of Darkness, Conrad.

Sharon Nelson:
Tuck Everlasting (by Natalie Babbitt), even though a fantasy novel for youngsters, still pulls at my heartstrings.

Bill Harrison:
Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman

Kelly Cherry:
I need to second The Beginning of Spring, by P. Fitzgerald; it’s one of my favorite books. There is also a short novel by Michael Frayn, maybe titled The Translator, or something like that, and it, too, is wonderful.

I (Joseph Peschel) said:
Could it be Russian Interpreter?

Kelly Cherry:
That’s the title, Joseph! Thanks. I’m happy to have it restored to me memory.

Lora Soroka:
Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters! Since youth…

Lionel Beasley:
Death in Venice, Thomas Mann.

Tija Spitsberg:
The Aspern Papers, Henry James.

Bill Ransom:
Ballad of the Sad Café, Carson McCullers; or Of Mice and Men (can’t decide).

Dan Linke:
In Another Country, by Susan Kenney and alluded to in a Lee K. Abbott short story.

Steve Vivian:
My favorite: Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathanael West.

Toby Tucker Hecht:
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf.

Tija Spitsberg:
Also, Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton.

Renée Roehl:
Flight, by Sherman Alexie.

Christopher Purdy:
Firmin, by Sam Savage.

Jessica Blau:
Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. That’s short isn’t it? I haven’t read it for years but have been thinking about Pamplona lately!

Terry Hummer:
Marguerite Yourcenar’s Coup de Grace.

Sarah Otto Deacon:
Sold, by Patricia McCormick. Yeah, it’s a young adult novel but our book club just read it anyway. Beautifully written, poignant, riveting and important subject.

Chris Gavaler:
Henry James’s Turn of the Screw.

*I arrived at 217 pages after garnering some rather promising statistics, working out a few hours of trivial calculations, and writing a C program to give an absolute and unassailable answer. After my code choked in the compiler, I decided that 217 sounded like a really good number.

Below are the results:

A River Runs Through It 1 Siddhatha 1
Always Rings Twice 1 Silk 1
An Imaginary Life 1 Sitting in the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma-Kola, 1
At the Mountains of Madness 1 Slaughterhouse Five 1
Baby is Three 1 Snow Country 1
Ballad of the Sad Café 1 So Long, See You Tomorrow 3
Billy Budd 1 Sold 1
Brave New World 1 Swann in Love 1
Cannery Row 1 The Americanist. 1
Conrad (unspecified) 1 The Aspern Papers 2
Coup de Grace. 1 The Awakening 1
Crime and Punishment 1 The Beginning of Spring 1
Daisy Miller 1 The Black Swan 1
Death Comes for the Archbishop 1 The Day of the Locust 1
Death in Venice 1 The Gambler 1
Death of Ivan Ilyich. 1 The Good Soldier 1
Einstein’s Dreams 1 The Great Divorce. 1
Emily L. 1 The Great Gatsby 6
Ethan Frome 1 The Haunting of Hill House 1
Family Happiness 1 The Lover 1
Firmin 1 The Moon is Down 1
Flight 1 The Old Man and the Sea 2
Good Will 1 The Outsiders 1
Hatchet 1 The Postman 1
Heart of Darkness 1 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1
In Another Country 1 The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with The Sea 1
Last Night at the Lobster 1 The Snows of Kilamanjaro 1
McTeague. 1 The Spoils of Poynton 1
Miss Lonelyhearts 1 The Stranger 2
Of Mice and Men 2 The Sun Also Rises. 1
Pan 1 The Sybil 1
Peace 3 To Kill a Mockingbird 1
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters! 1 To the Lighthouse 1
Ransom 1 Tuck Everlasting 1
Rockspring. 1 Turn Of The Screw 2
Russian Interpreter 1 Washington Square 1
Salinger’s novellas 1 What Maisie Knew 1
Show Up, Look Good 1 Wise Blood 1

Written by Joe Peschel

June 21st, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Posted in News

BASS 2011 Redux

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Recently, I’ve heard from Josh, an Internet friend who also enjoys discovering stories that will appear in Best American Short Stories before it comes out. He mentions “Gurov in Manhattan,” by Ehud Havazelet, originally published in TriQuarterly, and “Housewifely Arts” by Megan Mayhew Bergman, from One Story.

I’ve also found out that Caitlin Horrocks’s story “The Sleep,” originally published  in Atlantic for Kindle, will be included.

I still haven’t heard from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt about the entire list. So, let me know if you know of or are the author of an included story. I’ll be adding to the list as I discover more about stories that’ll be included.

Here’s the updated partial list of authors whose stories will appear in The Best American Short Stories 2011, guest-edited by Geraldine Brooks.

Clicking on the author’s name will take you to the announcement of BASS inclusion.

Caitlin Horrocks, “The Sleep,” Atlantic Fiction for Kindle

Ehud Havazelet, “Gurov in Manhattan,” TriQuarterly

Megan Mayhew Bergman, “Housewifely Arts,” One Story

George Saunders, possibly “Escape From Spiderhead” The New Yorker ?

Joyce Carol Oates, “I.D.,” The New Yorker

Jess Row,“The Call of Blood,” The Harvard Review

Rebecca Makkai, “Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart,” Tin House

Jennifer Egan, “Out of Body,” Tin House

Allegra Goodman, “La Vita Nuova,” The New Yorker

Tom Bissell, “A Bridge Under Water,”  AGNI

Written by Joe Peschel

June 20th, 2011 at 12:37 am

Posted in News