New Stephen Dixon story collection.

The new collection, titled What is All This?, will be all previously uncollected stories, and is coming to us via Fantagraphics Books. All 900 pages of it. This is a very good thing. I’m not so sure about the cover. (via)


Weekend reading.

  • Here’s a new short story by David Mitchell.
  • David Ulin has an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times about difficulty with focusing on reading, given the hypnotic internet.  There’s been a lot of enthusiastic assent about this article … on the internet.
  • Michael Pollan thinks you might enjoy putting down the Hamburger Helper and doing some cooking.
  • Two new reviews at Identity Theory this week: the excellent Of Song and Water by Joseph Coulson, and Hurry Down Sunshine (also quite good) by Michael Greenberg.

Short Story Month: “How the Broken Lead the Blind” by Matt Bell.

short story month graphicMatt Bell’s story collection How the Broken Lead the Blind is available now as a free download from his site.  I’ve read his stuff here and there; he’s got some work up at Fictionaut that I especially enjoyed.  Previously published by Willows Wept, this collection can be snapped up freeeeeee as a PDF file or via Issuu.  Have a look and pass word along to your friends.

(For more Short Story Month, click here.)


Lydia Davis builds diamonds.

We know only four boring people.  The rest of our friends we find very iinteresting.  However, most of the friends we find interesting find us boring: the most interesting find us the most boring.  The few who are somewhere in the middle, with whom there is reciprocal interest, we distrust: at any moment, we feel, they may become too interesting for us, or we too interesting for them.

– Lydia Davis, from Samuel Johnson is Indignant and, I would guess, the forthcoming The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

National Short Story Month?

As of right now, there actually isn’t a National Short Story Month, though some efforts have been made toward one in the past.  What will it take to get this thing off of the ground?  From TSP:

The people have spoken (some of them, at least), and the result of our poll so far is that a whopping 90% of respondents agree that yes, we do need a National Short Story month.

When I posted about this a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t realize that some had already declared May National Short Story Month, including Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network and Dzanc Books, who put forward this idea two years ago. When we rolled out The Story Prize in 2004, I was making some noise about the idea myself (if you follow the link, please ignore the awful caricature), and it wasn’t the first time.
But it’s going to take more than a little noise to make it happen. For NSSM to come about and have any impact, it will need to have a strong organization behind it, a real concerted and nationally coordinated effort, and buy-in from bookstores, schools, and libraries, not to mention authors and publishers. Readerville has been kind enough to host a thread to discuss National Short Story Month, so please weigh in if you have ideas about how to make this happen.

Tobias Wolff stories in theatrical production.

A San Francisco theater group called Word for Word stages performances of short stories. The name reflects the fact that they literally–and literarily–“perform every word the author has written.” (I suppose without adding any of their own.)
That’s the kind of reverence a writer can get behind. In fact, several have. Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Richard Ford, Ellen Gilchrist, Daniel Handler, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan, and Tobias Wolff are on the company’s Authors Council.

Word for Word’s current production is “More Stories from Tobias Wolff,” which consists of performances of: “Sanity,” “Down to Bone,” and “Firelight” (pictured above). All three stories are included in Our Story Begins, one of the three story collections that are finalists for The Story Prize.

More here.