LitStack Recs: Paris Stories & Javelin Rain

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Paris Stories, by Mavis Gallant In this month of celebrating the short story (#ShortStoryMonth), there must be mention of one of my favorite collections, Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories. Published in 2002, the book contains one of my favorite stories, Mlle. Dias de Corta. It concerns Mademoiselle, the boarder of a financially strapped Parisian widow, a [….]

LitStack Recs: Who Do You Love & Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

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Who Do You Love: Stories, by Jean Thompson May is #ShortStoryMonth, and this is third in a series of LitStackRecs on great short story collections. In my favorite short stories, something singular happens to a character, usually out of nowhere, a setting that is exceptionally vivid—almost a character in itself—and a narrator who can see [….]

Flash Review: Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

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Fortune Smiles Adam Johnson Random House Release Date:  August 18, 2015 ISBN 978-0-8129-9747-7 While this flash review was being written, “Fortune Smiles” was awarded the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction. In a 2010 interview for Electric Lit, author Adam Johnson was asked about the motivation behind his upcoming book, The Orphan Master’s Son (which [….]

Traveling Light: Unpacking a Story

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So there I am, in a small hotel between the Costa Brava and Sitges, once again unpacking the bag I’ve carried through France and Spain. It’s been five weeks, and by now the contents are painfully familiar: five t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, and various smaller items, including an excellent pair of sandals purchased on [….]

LitStack Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

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Trigger Warning:  Short Fictions and Disturbances Neil Gaiman William Morrow Publishers Publication Date: ISBN 978-0-06-233026-0 I freely admit it:  for me (as for many), Neil Gaiman can do no wrong.  He’s the perfect literary celebrity:  moved from the UK to live and work in my Midwestern neck of the woods, calm, unassuming, accessible, champion of [….]

LitStack Rec: Thunderstruck & Other Stories & Baseball’s Great Experiment

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Thunderstruck & Other Stories, by Elizabeth McCracken Early on in Elizabeth McCracken’s extraordinary story collection, Thunderstruck, a grieving mother instructs her seventeen year-old son to seal up the room of his dead sister. This, she imagines will somehow purge the house of the evil that caused her daughter’s lymphoma. “Don’t touch a thing. Just seal [….]

LitStack Rec: These Charming People & Broken Monsters

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These Charming People, stories by Michael Arlen In the period just after World War One, there were  British writers who were fascinated by the fast set, the Bright Young Things of the nineteen twenties—the decadent young people whose disillusionment with the Great War caused old ideas fell away, and the Modernist era to emerge. As [….]

Flash Review – Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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Through the Woods Emily Carroll Margaret K. McElderry Books Release Date:  July 15, 2014 ISBN 978-1-4424-6596-1 Oh, my goodness.  There are graphic novels.  There are comic books.  There are illustrated stories.  And then there’s Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods. Five stories, with an Introduction and a Conclusion – two mini-stories, if you would.  They all [….]

LitStack Recs: Werewolves and Karate Chop

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Werewolves in Their Youth: Stories, by Michael Chabon Not all scary stories are for Halloween. Michael Chabon’s, Werewolves in Their Youth also isn’t a horror or sci-fi, though Chabon is a fan of those too. The collection which appeared in 1999, assembles nine stories that feature characters who move about in the placid light of day, and [….]

LitStack Review: One More Thing – Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

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One More Thing – Stories and Other Stories B. J. Novak Alfred A. Knopf Release Date:  February 4, 2014 ISBN 978-0-385-35183-6 Many folks know of B. J. Novak, but don’t realize they know of him.  Most folks probably know him as “Ryan”, the overly confident, curiously inept intern at Dunder Mifflin on American TV’s version [….]