Nobody loves books more than us. We’re a team of readers with broad interests and strong feelings about the books on our shelves.
by Melissa Pritchard
In each of these eight genre-bending tales, Melissa Pritchard overturns the conventions of mysteries, westerns, gothic horror, and historical fiction to capture surprising and often shocking aspects of her characters’ lives.
In one story, Pritchard creates a pastiche of historical facts, songs, and tall tales, contrasting the famed figures of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, including Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull, with the real, genocidal history of the American West.
Love Among the Particles
by Norman Lock
In a whirlwind tour of space, time, and literary history, Lock creates worlds that veer wildly from the natural to the supernatural via the pre-modern, mechanical and digital ages. His characters may walk out of the pages of Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, or Gaston Leroux, but they are distinctly his own. Mr. Hyde finally reveals his secrets to an ambitious journalist, unleashing unforeseen horrors. An ancient Egyptian mummy is revived in 1935 New York to consult on his Hollywood biopic. A Brooklynite suddenly dematerializes and passes through the internet, in search of true love….
by Michelle Latiolais
Like the memoirs of Joan Didion and Joyce Carol Oates, Widow was largely written after the tragic death of Latiolais’ husband, and her stories bravely explore the physiology of grief through a masterful interweaving of tender insight and unflinching detail—reminding us that the inner life is best understood through the medium of storytelling. Among these stories of loss are interwoven other tales, creating a bridge to the ineffable pleasures and follies of life before the catastrophe. Throughout this collection, Latiolais captures the longing, humor, and strange grace that accompany life’s most transformative chapters.
by Peter LaSalle
The twelve stories of Sleeping Mask, written in propulsive, fluid prose, introduce readers to remarkable characters. They include a child soldier sent to raid a girls’ boarding school, a Virginia Woolf scholar surviving cancer, a desperate writer living under fascism in a futuristic Latin America, the spirits of recently deceased college students on a tour of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and a middle-aged man transported back to his childhood, where he is led out to sea by his mother’s ghost.
by Tim Horvath
What if there were a city that consisted only of restaurants?
What if Paul Gauguin had gone to Greenland instead of Tahiti?
What if there were a field called Umbrology, the study of shadows, where physicists and shadow puppeteers worked side by side?
Full of speculative daring though firmly anchored in the tradition of realism, Tim Horvath’s stories explore all of this and more— blending the everyday and the wondrous to contend with age-old themes of loss, identity, imagination, and the search for human connection.
The Business of Naming Things
by Michael Coffey
Among these eight stories, a fan of writer (and fellow adoptee) Harold Brodkey gains an audience with him at his life’s end, two pals take a Joycean sojourn, a man whose business is naming things meets a woman who may not be what she seems, and a father discovers his son is a suspect in an assassination attempt on the president.
In each tale, Michael Coffey’s exquisite attention to character underlies the brutally honest perspectives of his disenchanted fathers, damaged sons, and orphans left feeling perpetually disconnected.
Here Until August
by Josephine Rowe
The stories in Here Until August follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are traveling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. These are people who move with the seasons. We meet them negotiating reluctant or cowardly departures, navigating uncertain returns, or biding the disquieting calm that so often precedes moments of decisive action.
From the Catskills to New South Wales, from the remote and abandoned island outports of Newfoundland to the sprawl of a North American metropolis, these transformative stories show how the places where we choose to live our lives can just as easily turn us inward as outward.
by Paulina Flores
The nine mesmerizing stories in Humiliation, translated from the Spanish by Man Booker International Prize finalist Megan McDowell, present us with a Chile we seldom see in fiction: port cities marked by poverty and brimming with plans of rebellion; apartment buildings populated by dominant mothers and voyeuristic neighbors; library steps that lead students to literature, but also into encounters with other arts–those of seduction, self-delusion, sabotage.
Themes of pride, shame, and disgrace–small and large, personal and public–tie the stories in this collection together. Humiliation becomes revelation as we watch Paulina Flores’s characters move from an age of innocence into a world of conflicting sensations.
Floyd Harbor: Stories
by Joel Mowdy
Set largely in the 1990s, the twelve linked stories in Joel Mowdy’s first book take place in and around Mastic Beach, a community on New York’s Long Island that’s close to the wealthy Hamptons but afflicted by widespread poverty. Mostly in their teens and early twenties, the characters struggle to become independent in various ways, ranging from taking typical lowpaying jobs—hotel laundry, janitorial, restaurant, and landscaping work—to highly ingenious schemes, to exchanging sexual favors for a place to stay. A few make it to local community colleges; others end up in rehab or juvenile detention centers. However loving, their parents can offer little help. Those who are Vietnam veterans may suffer from PTSD; others may bear the addictions that often come with stressful lives.
by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
From the start of this extraordinary debut, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country.
These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world.
Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange
by Ran Walker
Stephen King once said that books are portable magic. Ran Walker decided to take this phrase a bit more literally in his third short story collection, bringing to life vibrant new landscapes of both the strange and the familiar.A writer finds himself in a love triangle where one of the women is a ghost. A woman discovers that her cure for alopecia has unintended consequences. An artist paints a woman he has been dreaming about, only to discover his dreams might be closer to reality than he thought. A graduating senior learns the true value of sacrifice. A guy professes his love for his girlfriend through an overwhelming metaphor.
Not Dead Yet and Other Stories
by Hadley Moore
Not Dead Yet studies the uncertainties of loss, turning a gaze toward the often-silenced voices of the infirm, elderly, and adolescent. Rich in humor and honesty, Hadley Moore’s debut collection of short stories presents a contemporary set of narratives from a lush cast of characters. We find the protagonists of her stories tenderly revealing their pain after the loss of loved ones and coping with the voids left by the passing of youth, happiness, and fulfilment. Moore invites us into the lives of characters like Morley, who struggles to adapt to new cultural norms, and Salmon, who confronts the loss of her husband while feeling isolated from his family’s Judaism. The character-driven prose of Not Dead Yet offers striking detail as it dives into moments of absurdity and tragedy.
Bull and Other Stories
by Kathy Anderson
Fiction. Women’s Studies. LGBT Studies.
Disorienting and illuminating, playful and often penetrating, the stories of Kathy Anderson astonish. She has already established herself as a powerful new voice on the national literary scene. The stories contained in Bull are marvelous pleasures, whether taken one at a time or gobbled ravenously. — David Lynn, editor of The Kenyon Review
Come By Here: A Novella and Short Stories
by Tom Noyes
Tom Noyes’ Come by Here: A Novella and Stories is a remarkable collection of narrative voices, of recalcitrant and uncomfortable souls trying to talk into existence the lives they want. But life, these talkers learn, is a stubborn thing. The novella, a brilliant one-(wo)man-band of a fiction, is emblematic of the collection in how it stitches together the past and present to reveal the phony, the fraudulent, the lie, but also in how it dazzles with its compassion for its motley coming-together of characters, who, despite their mismanaged lives, find redemption in Noyes’ prose. –DARRELL SPENCER
The Gnome Stories
by Ander Monson
The Gnome Stories focuses on characters who are loners in the truest sense; who are in the process of recovering from mental, physical, or emotional trauma; and who find solace—or at least a sense of purpose—in peculiar jobs and pursuits.
With The Gnome Stories, Ander Monson presents eleven unforgettable stories about oddly American situations: as surreal as an urban legend and at the same time perfectly mundane.
Article originally Published in the February/March 2020 Issue “Short Stories”