Kicking butt and finding books at BEA.
Sillitoe’s short stories keenly chronicle the lives of ordinary working-class men and boys.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez annoys me. There, I said it. His is the most prominent name in magical realism, and his work had me convinced that I was not a fan of the genre. I inevitably grew weary of what seems like cutesy or convenient inventions put it place to further the narrative or tickle the reader. I want to know if a story is based in the world that I know or if it is fantastical. Go big or go home; don’t settle for ambiguous magical realism, I always thought.
The Sense of Touch, a collection of short stories by Ron Parsons, examines the lives of Midwesterners—the struggles and compromises, the joy and grief—set against larger-than-life landscapes.
When I was buying a new (to me) car this past winter, I drove all around Northern Virginia scoping out my options. For one test-drive, I found myself navigating the twists and turns of Ft. Belvoir. Though the military base is not far from where I live, I had never been inside the gates before. I was surprised at the expanse and attempted self-sufficiency of the place; it had (or tried to have) everything, from the bank to Starbucks to gas stations. Its cookie-cutter Main Street was what I imagine every time some pundit talks about middle America.
Fingerprints, Joel Church’s first collection of flash fiction, captures both the enticing and the mundane. Set against the backdrop of Washington, D.C., Church’s characters explore topics ranging from sexuality and drug abuse to childhood and loss. These stories extend from two to ten pages long, and their brevity makes them an excellent read on the metro; I could read for only one or two stops and not feel completely lost the next time I opened the book.