LitStack Recs: By Nightfall & The Wanderers

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By Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham Peter and Rebecca Harris are forty-something New Yorkers, well-off, hip, empty-nesters. Peter is an art dealer, Rebecca an editor, and their twenty year-old daughter Beatrice has fled her parents’ downtown loft for an unstylish life in Boston, working in a hotel bar and living with a puzzling roommate, a middle-aged [….]

LitStack Rec: Little Failure & United States of Japan

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” Voice, more than anything, can [….]

LitStack Recs: Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries & Brotherhood of the Wheel

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The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson There’s enough left of summer to fit in at least one more light read, and Emma Thompson’s diary of the making of the award-winning Sense and Sensibility is a perfect choice. The 1995 film, directed by Ang Lee, would garner seven nominations at the 68th [….]

LitStaff Rec: A House for Mr Biswas & Pride’s Spell

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A House For Mr Biswas, by V.S. Naipaul This past week, we lost a giant when V.S. Naipaul died in London at the age of 85. My rec this week looks at his 1961 novel, “A House for Mr Biswas,” which has appeared in different posts here at LitStack over the years. “A House for [….]

Litstack Recs: The Tall Book of Make-Believe & The Last Days of New Paris

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The Tall Book of Make-Believe ed. Jane Werner Illustrated by Garth Williams Well beyond the age it’s intended for, this collection of stories has stayed with me. This American classic of children’s stories and poems was compiled by Jane Werner in 1950, and from the start this book captured my imagination. By the age of [….]

Litstack Rec: The Refugees & The Hummingbird

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen Fans of The Sympathizer, Nguyen’s debut novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, will find much of what they loved in the author’s second book of short stories. Where The Sympathizer explores the effects of the Vietnamese War, and the experience of refugees’ displacement through the taut [….]

LitStack Recs: How to Read to Read a Sentence and How to Write One & American Elsewhere

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How to Read to Read a Sentence and How to Write One, by Stanley Fish For writers, the sentence is the coin of the realm, the catch that holds a reader fast to a story. And I love that Stanley Fish wrote a book just about sentences.  A professor of law and dean emeritus at [….]

LitStack Recs: A Time of Gifts & Wolf in White Van

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A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople, by Patrick Leigh Fermor A classic of the travel memoir genre, A Time of Gifts is Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of his trek by foot from the Netherlands to Turkey in 1933-34. Though, famously, Fermor didn’t actually write the book until decades later. Published in 1977, the [….]

LitStack Recs: Women in Their Beds & Luna: New Moon

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Women in Their Beds — Gina Berriault To cap off #ShortStoryMonth, my rec this week revisits a collection by one of my favorite story writers, Gina Berriault. Her admirers span Richard Ford, Grace Paley, and Robert Stone, but American fiction writer Berriault may be one of most revered writers you’ve never heard of. Cynthia Ozick [….]

LitStack Rec – The Coast of Chicago & Red Rising

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The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek May is Short Story Month, so this month I’ll be looking at story collections that have thrilled, taught, and changed me. This week, I’m starting with a classic of the contemporary short fiction. I can still recall first reading Stuart Dybek’s classic short story “We Didn’t” in Antaeus [….]