Litstack Rec: Bridge & The Stargazer’s Sister

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Bridge, by Robert Thomas “Welcome to the prayer-strewn pews of my brain,” Alice, the narrator of Bridge tells us, and quickly, we understand that this intellectually gifted young woman sees the world, and herself, in unconventional, and often dangerous ways. Robert Thomas’s powerful debut novel (BOA Editions 2014) takes place in fifty-six brief chapters that [….]

LitStack Recs: Desperate Characters & Mortal Bonds

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Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox This classic of literary fiction, written in 1970, is also a classic example of a book that was lost to readers, then found. In 1999, when this novel—and all Paula Fox’s adult novels—fell out of print, interest in the author and her work was almost singlehandedly revived by Jonathan Franzen, [….]

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 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: The Good Soldier & Sweetbitter

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The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford If this novel had been published under the title the author selected, The Saddest Story, contemporary readers might have had a difficult time locating a copy. Fortunately, Ford Madox Ford agreed to his publisher’s title suggestion of The Good Soldier, and with that, the now-classic post-World War I [….]

LitStack Rec: Cutting Teeth & Wait Till Next Year

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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro When my daughter was little, there was a sentiment among the parents I knew. We referred to  summer as the busy season, when the steady routine of the school year fell away and the schedule went overtime. Still, when your kids are small, there’s a lovely innocence to summer—its sprinklers [….]

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 Recs: The Refugees & All the Light We Cannot See

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen In celebration of #ShortStoryMonth, this week’s rec looks at another great story collection I’ve read and recommended this year. 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. [….]