Last night we had a great reading at the fantastic Mother Foucault’s Bookshop in Portland, OR for the Best Small Fictions 2019 Anthology. The reading featured me, Ben McPherson Ficklin, Jennifer Fliss, Marcelle Heath, and Alvin Park.
Thanks to Mother Foucault’s for hosting us, to everyone who came out on a rainy Saturday night (on a holiday weekend!) to see us read, to my friends who came down from Seattle, and to everyone who helped to organize the event.
What a great anthology. You can still get a copy here.
Here’s my annual list of the books I’ve read this year. I keep these lists in part because self-guided reading has gaps and in the past, fellow readers have reached out to talk about books both read and overlooked; if you’ve read any of these and want to chat about them, or if there are books you think I should read, please email me! Sometimes I write short notes over on my Goodreads page.
This year I’ve put ** next to my absolute favorites.
Selected 2019 Reading (by genre, then alphabetical by author/editor last name)
- Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
- Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
- By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño**
- Milkman by Anna Burns
- My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang
- Famous Men Who Never Lived by K Chess
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin**
- Fruit of the Drunken Tree: A Novel by Ingrid Rojas Contreras**
- Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi**
- Bloomland by John Englehardt**
- Sludge Utopia by Catherine Fatima
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson**
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang
- Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel by Rachel Khong**
- The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
- If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
- At Briarwood School for Girls by Michael Knight
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee**
- Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
- Mercury by Margot Livesey
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
- Severance by Ling Ma**
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng**
- The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse
- Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison**
- Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart
- The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg
- Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson**
- The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
- Meander, Spiral, Explode by Jane Alison**
- Welcome Home by Lucia Berlin
- Dead Girls by Alice Bolin
- The Art of Mystery by Maude Casey**
- The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story by Edwidge Danticat
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- On the Rez by Ian Frazier
- The Word Pretty by Elisa Gabbert
- Little Labors by Rivka Galchen
- Hunger by Roxane Gay
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Triggering Towns by Richard Hugo
- The Reckonings by Lacy M. Johnson**
- The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson**
- Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir by Chelene Knight
- Heavy by Kiese Laymon**
- The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography by Deborah Levy**
- The Hidden Machinery by Margot Livesey
- Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli**
- An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken**
- Bluets by Maggie Nelson
- White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination by Jess Row**
- Against Memoir by Michelle Tea
- Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
- The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang
- Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life by Erin Wunker
Short Story Collections
- The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018
- Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis
- Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans**
- Half an Inch of Water: Stories by Percival Everett**
- Florida by Lauren Groff**
- Sing to It: New Stories by Amy Hempel**
- No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
- The Isle of Youth: Stories by Laura van den Berg
- American Short Fiction Volume 21 Issue 67
- The Conium Review Vol. 7
- Paper Darts Vol 8
- Sonora Review 72
- When I Grow Up I Want To Be A List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen
- Currents by Bojan Louis
- My Private Property by Mary Ruefle
- The Möbius Strip Club of Grief by Bianca Stone**
- Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
- Arsonist by Joaquin Zihuatanejo
- How to Defend Yourself by Lily Padilla**
- The White Card: A Play by Claudia Rankine**
- How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel**
Zines/Chapbooks/Visual Art/Graphic Novels
- Americans in Paris 1860-1900 by Kathleen Adler, H. Barbara Weinberg, Erica E. Hirshler
- #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy, Mary Beth Leatherdale
- Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J. Georges
- Parting Gifts for Losing Contestants by Jessica Mooney**
- Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke**
- Aug 9 – Fog by Kathryn Scanlan
It’s publication day for The Best Small Fictions 2019: one hundred and forty-six short pieces of (flash) (micro) fiction, including my story Do No Harm. I’m super honored to be included in this anthology alongside so many authors whose work I admire.
The Best Small Fictions anthology, now in its fifth year, presents one hundred and forty-six pristinely crafted pieces from an array of authors representing twenty-six nations and six continents. These short, elliptical works are varied and edgy, sorrowful and triumphant, provocative and visionary. The small fictions enclosed within this volume are always vibrant. They scintillate. They linger. With each story brief enough to savor at a stoplight or quick coffee break, the tales contained within 2019’s The Best Small Fictions promise to leave a mark.
Many thanks to the HEREKEKE Artist Residency in Lama, NM, where I have been for the last few weeks. This was my first artist residency and it broke me open in totally unexpected ways. I hope to one day be able to provide the kind of support and welcome to other artists that I have received here.
Thanks to the internet, I found out that my essay “Pergelation” made the Best American Essays 2019 Notable list.
“Pergelation” won the Blue Mesa Review Nonfiction Contest judged by Leslie Jamison last fall, and I’m glad that it’s getting some love and has been included on this list. This is my first time getting a “Best American” mention.
I was lucky enough to attend two writing workshops last month: the Tin House Summer Workshops in Oregon, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in Tennessee.
Tin House Summer Workshop – Short Fiction Team van den Berg
Sewanee Writers’ Conference – Livesey/Kenan Workshop
It was a lot to go to both workshops in one month, but it was the best kind of a lot, and I’m grateful for both of these opportunities. Thank you to my partner and my coworkers for supporting me in taking the time, and thank you to all of the wonderful writers I met.
I have a short essay published in the Table Talk section of Threepenny Review, Issue 158. You can purchase a copy online here.
A year ago I found a published collection of Threepenny‘s Table Talk essays and read them cover to cover. It’s such an honor to have my own Table Talk essay published now by such an amazing literary magazine.
My short essay – “We are your doctors, and this is the aftermath of idealism” – is about burnout and my frustrations with the U.S. healthcare system. It is a story of working in primary care, but it is not the story of working in primary care.
Wendy Lesser sent me a card and I danced in the post office with fangirl happiness:
My essay “On Culture Shock” has been published in LOST Magazine, Issue 6.
“On Culture Shock” is an essay I wrote during my first week back home after a year spent in Madrid as an undergraduate student in 2006. The photos accompanying the essay were also taken by me.
LOST is a Shanghai-based, multinational, bilingual magazine. This is the first time my writing has ever been translated.
“Bargains,” a short story that won the Pacifica Literary Review’s 2018 Fiction Contest, has been chosen as a Finalist for the Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction.
The story will be (re)published in The Lascaux Prize 2019 anthology later this year.
I’m so grateful to all of the editors, readers, and judges at both PLR and The Lascaux Review for supporting my writing.
Congrats to all of the other Lascaux Prize finalists, and especially to the winners!
I’m thrilled that my short story “Do No Harm,” published by Monkeybicycle, has been selected for The Best Small Fictions 2019.
It’s such an honor to be part of this amazing list of stories.
The anthology will be published in the fall.