Category Archives: Short Stories/Essays

The Complete Stories, Clarice Lispector

Sometimes it happens that I’ll read something that I’ve seen on other people’s lists of The Greatest! of! All Time!, and for whatever reason (let’s face it, it’s because I’m a terrible person) I’ve dismissed the hype. How great could … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 9 Comments

The White Album

One of the best books I read last year was Joan Didion’s essay collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I appreciated Didion’s keen observations and her blending of personal observation with commentary on the culture. It felt significant and hardly at all … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 7 Comments

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Ta-Nehisi Coates rose to prominence as a writer largely through his articles for The Atlantic, and this collection includes nine of those articles, each drawn from a year of the Obama presidency and the year following. Through them, we can … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

Several years ago, I read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I enjoyed it, mostly, but found it was too much of a good thing. The sort of good thing where once you’ve had too much of it, you feel a … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment

Did you know that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world? At least it did in 2012, according to the essay by Jeremy Travis and Bruce Western in this collection edited by Angela J. Davis. Besides having … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 2 Comments

Dimestore: A Writer’s Life

When I was in college and away from my rural southwest Virginia home, I discovered the novels of Lee Smith. Although her hometown of Grundy was a couple hundred miles west of my hometown, her writing felt culturally close to … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 6 Comments

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation

In this slim book, Jeff Chang shares his perspective on various racial conflicts and controversies of the past few years. The word “Notes” in the subtitle is essential to appreciating what this book is. It’s not a comprehensive study of race … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

Runaway

I find it difficult to describe the experience of reading the short fiction of Alice Munro. Usually, I like my short stories to be a little bit weird and experimental — to play with form, the way George Saunders does, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

An Elegy for Easterly

Petina Gappah grew up in Zimbabwe — it was Rhodesia until she was about ten — and today she lives in Geneva as an international lawyer. Her debut collection of stories, An Elegy for Easterly, is odd to read. Zimbabwe … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 6 Comments

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

When it comes to essays, Joan Didion is among the greats, at least she is by reputation. Before reading this collection, I’d not read many of her essays, “Goodbye to All That” and maybe a few others. I’d also read The Year … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments