Another month has gone by. As I’ve done each month this year, here is my reading list for the month of March.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy April, everyone. Thanks so much for reading!