March Round Up of Reading

Another month has gone by. As I’ve done each month this year, here is my reading list for the month of March.

Fiction

Nude, by Naeem Murr

I had the great honor of working with Naeem for one semester during my MFA studies, and I am so thankful for that. Naeem is a wonderful, captivating teacher and his fiction is equally captivating. This novella-length book transports the reader into a richly textured world that feels both carefully considered and yet slightly out of control. This is the beauty of Murr’s writing: It is precise and yet not forced or contained.

Little Bird of Heaven, by Joyce Carol Oates

I’m a fan of Oates. I think she is a brilliant writer. (Can you feel the “but” that is coming?)

I found Little Bird of Heaven difficult to read. The story, while interesting and well-conceived, is peppered with repetition, sentence fragments, repetition, a circular narrative, repetition, and more em-dash-delineated asides and confounding sentence structures than I could abide. Did I mention repetition?

A master of the craft, such as Oates, chooses to write with these otherwise-verboten methods. They aren’t mistakes. She has, in crafting this story of a small-town murder/affair/divorce, made the decision to use these techniques to reflect, with the text, the circular, confusing nature of the story. For me, the form and structure was a major stumbling block. It pulled me from the world of the story several times, on almost every page, and I was eventually fatigued.

To The End of the Land, by David Grossman

This is a dense, lush, complex narrative. The telling of the story reflects the long, winding journey of the main characters. This is not a quick read, but this story of the intertwined lives of an unconventional Israeli family presents us with a richly detailed, fully-realized alternative world. One part Greek tragedy, one part sweeping family saga, To the End of the Land transports us to a completely foreign world that is a part of our own reality.

Non-Fiction

I Will Teach You to be Rich, by Ramit Sethi

A basic text, mainly focused on getting 20-somethings to engage in baseline behaviors which will position them to consistently and (nearly) effortlessly grow their personal wealth. Sethi possesses a unique, no-nonsense, brash-but-well-meaning style. The book is easy to read and offers both points to ponder and concrete action steps for the reader.

Building a Life Out of Words, by Shawn Smucker

I had a detailed review of Shawn’s book earlier in the week. You can read it here.

Short Stories and Magazines

I also read (cover to cover) the new issues of both Poets & Writers magazine and the AWP’s member magazine, The Writer’s Chronicle. I highly recommend both. They were packed with great information for writers.

I received (and read) the latest issue of The First Line (Vol 14, Issue 1).

I read several short stories from the latest issue of eFiction magazine.

Finally, two new stories from One Story: The World to Come, by Jim Shepard and Another Nice Mess, by Stephen O’Connor.

That’s the list for this month. Feel free to go back and check the reading lists from January and February, if you’re so inclined.

Happy April, everyone. Thanks so much for reading!

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7 thoughts on “March Round Up of Reading

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