Year in Reading – 2020

Here are the books I’ve read during this very strange year of 2020. I keep these lists every year as a record for myself, but I post them in invitation for fellow readers to talk about books both read and overlooked. If you want to chat about these or if there are books you think I should read, please email me! Sometimes I write short notes (I hesitate to say “reviews”) over on my Goodreads page.

I’ve put ** next to my absolute favorite reads of the year.

Selected 2020 Reading (by genre, then alphabetical by author/editor last name)

Fiction/Novels/Novellas

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison**
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • To the Wedding by John Berger
  • Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather**
  • Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi**
  • How to Catch a Coyote by Christy Crutchfield
  • The Maytrees by Annie Dillard**
  • Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  • Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
  • Empire City by Matt Gallagher 
  • Cleanness by Garth Greenwell 
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • Suicide Club by Rachel Heng
  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane**
  • Writers & Lovers by Lily King
  • Passing by Nella Larsen
  • The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
  • Sula by Toni Morrison**
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  • The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
  • Weather by Jenny Offill
  • The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa**
  • Last Night at the Lobster by Steward O’Nan**
  • The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  • Such A Fun Age  by Kiley Reid**
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • The Ancestry of Objects by Tatiana Ryckman
  • Self Care by Leigh Stein
  • Real Life: A Novel by Brandon Taylor**
  • Women Talking by Miriam Toews
  • We the Animals by Justin Torres
  • Distant Dead by Heather Young
  • Drifts by Kate Zambreno

Nonfiction/Essays

  • Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter
  •  A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
  • On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
  • Art of Perspective by Christopher Castellani
  • All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
  • A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott
  • The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich 
  • Abandon Me by Melissa Febos**
  • Things That Helped by Jessica Friedman
  • The Unreality of Memory by Elisa Gabbert**
  • Make it Scream, Make it Burn by Leslie Jamison
  • In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso**
  • Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland **
  • No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder

Short Story Collections

  • Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
  • Animal Wife by Lara Erlich**
  • We Had No Rules by Corinne Manning**
  • Wild Milk by Sabrina Orah Mark
  • Buckskin Cocaine by Erika T. Wurth**

Lit Mags and Anthologies

  • Always Crashing Issue Three
  • The Best Small Fictions: 2019 Anthology
  • The Lascaux Review Prize Vol 6

Poetry

  • Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
  • Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward**

Zines/Chapbooks/Interviews

  • One More For the People by Martha Grover
  • Claim Your Space by Minyoung Lee
  • Women at Work: Interviews from The Paris Review by The Paris Review

Short Story “Troubled Boats” in Prime Number Magazine

My short story “Troubled Boats” has been published in Prime Number Magazine. The story is one of two Editor’s Selections chosen from the finalists for the 2020 Prime Number Magazine Awards.

From the Editors:

The power of attention is both subject and style of “Troubled Boats”: what begins as the tale of a boathouse-slash-rehabilitation center for wayward watercraft becomes an ultimately human story about what it means to be Restless—and restored.

Read the story online here.

Read the announcement here.

Prime Number Magazine is a Press 53 publication, founded by Clifford Garstang and Kevin Morgan Watson in 2010.

Reading for Best Small Fictions

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.

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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.

Year in Reading – 2019

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)

Fiction/Novels

  • 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

Nonfiction/Essays

  • 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

Lit Mags

  • American Short Fiction Volume 21 Issue 67
  • The Conium Review Vol. 7 
  • Paper Darts Vol 8
  • Sonora Review 72

Poetry

  • 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

Plays

  • 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

 

Pub Day for Best Small Fictions 2019

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.

BSF2019

HEREKEKE

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.

 

July Workshops

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 van den Berg Workshop

Tin House Summer Workshop – Short Fiction Team van den Berg

SWC Livesey Kennan Workshop

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.

Table Talk in Threepenny Review

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:

threepennyreview