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Archive for the tag “Fiction”

choose your summer reading

reading a book

If you’re in the habit of reading lots of fiction, you’re in the minority—and ahead of the game. You’re already reaping the many significant benefits of reading for your body, your brain, and your emotional and social well-being.

If you tend to stick to non-fiction, however, or most of your reading involves a digital device, now may be the time to spruce up your reading habits.

Here are three things to keep in mind when deciding what to read next:

  1. Choose fiction over non-fiction.
  2. Even better, choose literary fiction.
  3. Choose print over digital.

If you don’t know where to start, or what constitutes literary fiction, here are half a dozen suggestions—personal favorites I’ve read more than once—and a link to a post with their opening paragraphs:

  • Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
  • The Fruit of Stone by Mark Spragg
  • Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • Time Will Darken It by William Maxwell

Who are your favorite authors and what novels have you read more than once?

Happy reading!

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Chinese restaurant (novel excerpt)

This is another excerpt from my novel in progress, Skin of Glass.

Five-Happiness-Restaurant-San-Francisco-Interior

Five-Happiness-Restaurant-San-Francisco (Photo credit: foodnut.com)

November 1990. At the end of his shift at the bookstore, Ethan intends to grab a sandwich from the deli and go home to work on his paper on symbolism and surrealism in Modern Greek Literature. But once he’s behind the wheel of his car, he’s thinking not about Greek Literature but about Eve. Again. His plan falls apart at the first red light; fifteen minutes later he’s in a phone booth on Van Ness Avenue dialing her number. It’s rush hour and the blare of traffic and stink of exhaust fumes make him dizzy. His nerves are frayed and his reflexes dulled from lack of sleep. If he doesn’t finish his paper by the end of the week, he’s going to nail an incomplete. It goes without saying he isn’t getting any writing done.

When he started daydreaming about Eve, it was a harmless fantasy. Then he began seeing her face everywhere. It’s reached the point where he has to talk to her, at least hear her voice, hear her say his name, if only to tell him to go to hell. He feels as though he’s waiting for the results of some medical tests that mean everything: life or death.

She answers the phone distractedly, but after he identifies himself, she says, “Ethan!” clearly surprised to hear from him. Possibly pleased? Or is he projecting? When he says nothing else, she asks him if anything’s wrong.

“No, nothing’s wrong. I just wondered…have you eaten yet? Do you want to get something to eat?” There’s no warmth in his voice, no invitation. His hand is clamped around the receiver, and he’s staring through the grimy glass enclosure at the three lanes of cars stopped at the corner for the light.

“With you, you mean?”

The light turns green. The booming bass from a passing car vibrates along the pavement and travels up Ethan’s body, all the way to the hand holding the receiver. He says, “Yes,” amid the sudden crescendo of gunned engines. He feels his mouth form the word, but he can’t hear his own voice. When she doesn’t respond immediately, he wonders if he actually said it out loud, if she heard him. He won’t say it again.

“Sure,” she says. “But I need to change; I just got home. Can I meet you somewhere?”

He hadn’t thought that far, but the image of her sitting across from him at that Chinese restaurant pops into his head. He doesn’t remember the name, but she does, and they agree to meet there in an hour. When he hangs up, he looks through the phone book for the address, then walks swiftly toward his car, which is parked illegally across the street. The darkness seems to have deepened in the space of his telephone call, or in response to it. He could go to the library and get a little research done. At least he’d be doing something productive. But until he sees her and settles this thing somehow, it’s hopeless to try to carry on with his everyday life.

The restaurant is on Grant Avenue in Chinatown, an area he doesn’t know. He drives across town and spends twenty minutes trying to find parking. Even this time of year, the street is noisy and crowded, bustling with automobile and foot traffic. He parks on a side street a few blocks from the restaurant and tries to walk off some of his nervous energy. It’s cold and windy; he moves with his head down, his hands stuffed into the pockets of a gray down vest, not looking at anyone, and not bothering to glance into any of the lighted store windows filled with cheap souvenirs and garish clothing. What exactly is he doing? It would have been better for everyone, including him, if Eve hadn’t been home, or if she’d refused to meet him. In fact, he thinks she should have refused. He’s already mentally convicting them of betraying Jesse, although the only betrayal so far is his, and it doesn’t have to go any further.

He enters the restaurant, immediately fortified a little by the aroma of garlic and ginger. The petite smiling hostess shows him to a table for two, assuring him she’ll watch for Eve. He orders a beer, shrugs out of the down vest, and leans back in his chair. He looks around, trying to remember where they sat when they were here for the birthday party. Several tables had been placed end-to-end. But it was a long time ago, and all he can picture is Eve and the heavy red draperies and table linen.

He glimpses himself in the mirrored panel of a room divider and almost doesn’t recognize himself. He looks like a vagrant, somewhat sinister. He goes to the restroom to splash his face with water, run his fingers through his unruly mass of hair, and wash his hands. The whites of his eyes are so bloodshot they look pink; there are dark circles under them. A clear, firm voice in his head says, Leave now. Just go. But he can’t.

He’s back in his seat taking a sip of beer when the hostess leads Eve to the table, both of them smiling as though they share a happy secret. Ethan rises but doesn’t touch her, doesn’t smile, just says her name, “Eve.” Once they’re seated, a waiter places a pot of tea on the table and hands them menus. Eve slips her arms out of her camel’s hair coat and lets it fall against the back of her chair. What now?

She takes in the room. “I haven’t been here since January.” The memory seems a pleasant one. “Have you?”

“Me?” He shakes his head. “I almost never eat out. That was a special occasion.” He has one hand around the cold, wet glass of beer. He can barely look at her. All he registers is that she’s wearing a pale yellow sweater with a high neckline, and her hair is shorter than he remembers. They focus on their menus, although he isn’t really reading his. “You’re more experienced with this. Why don’t you choose?”

“But what do you like?”

“Anything. I’m not fussy.” Afraid he’s being rude, he adds, “I’m sure whatever you select will be perfect.”

Her skin is almost white. Porcelain. He feels vulgar and coarse by comparison. Classic beauty and the beast; they shouldn’t even be occupying the same table. She studies the menu pages, humming to herself so softly and unselfconsciously it melts him, the same way Molly melts him when she sits on the floor singing made-up songs to her dolls.

Eve recites her choices aloud, then repeats them to their waiter, adding, “not too hot, please.” The waiter—Chinese, with close-cropped hair and wire-rimmed glasses—bows and nods.

“Jesse always gets the Kung Pao Tofu here. This is his favorite restaurant in the City.”

Ethan sighs. Why hadn’t that occurred to him? This is such an amazingly bad idea. Jesse is going to be here at the table all evening. Well, it’s what he deserves.

“Did I say something wrong?”

He shakes his head, suddenly drained, too tired to be here, to be doing this. “No, no. This is probably a bad idea. I’m pretty tired. Not very good company. I’m sorry.”

“You just need some food.” She pours tea for both of them. “Are you taking any classes this semester?”

He laughs. “One. Modern Greek Literature. Which I’m doing my absolute best to fail.”

They pass the time talking about teachers, classes, and homework. When their food arrives, he picks up his fork, but Eve insists he learn how to use the chopsticks. It takes him a few minutes to grasp the concept, and even then he’s far from adept. They slip from his fingers, clattering against the plate, and he drops bits of food on their way to his mouth. The rice is especially tricky. They both laugh at his attempts, but she encourages him and his technique improves.

He asks her when she started doing art and learns her father’s an architect.

“I used to go to his office with him, and sometimes I’d draw these fantastic, elaborate houses while he was working. I wanted to do what he did. In fact I would have gone into architecture, but I couldn’t hack all the math. It would have been a much better career choice than fine art, that’s for sure. But I’m rethinking that.”

“Rethinking what?”

“What I want to be when I grow up. It’s one thing to make art for yourself, but I’m not sure about trying to earn a living with it. And I can’t really say I’m driven by any grande artistic vision. I was planning to be an illustrator, now that I’ve finally mastered the human form.”

“What do you mean?”

“Learning how to draw people was hard. I was always pretty good at drawing things—structures, nature. Inanimate objects, I guess you could say.”

“It’s funny how that works. I still have trouble writing descriptions. If I don’t pay attention my stories all end up taking place in fields of white space. I guess I’m not very visual. I mean I see things but—”

“The trick is learning how to feel with your eyes.”

“Feel with your eyes?”

“I read about it in a book my father gave me.”

“An art book?”

“No. A novel. My Name is Asher Lev.”

“Oh. Chaim Potok. I read that one. Long time ago. So you know how to do that? Feel things with your eyes?”

She blushes. “Sort of. When I first tried it I focused very, very intently, but the harder I tried the more frustrating it was. I couldn’t get it. In high school I discovered the secret. Pot.”

They burst into laughter.

“Is your father an artist, too?”

“Technically, no, but he could be. He used to do these exquisite architectural renderings. When you’d see one you’d just want to live in it. In that world, I mean. But he doesn’t have time for it anymore. I’m not as good as he is.” She shrugs. “But this semester I have a photography course and I love it. Maybe because it’s new. But I can imagine being a photographer a lot easier than I can imagine being an artist. And I mean to get off the dole as soon as I can.”

“The dole?”

“Being supported by my father. He does some work for free, for community groups and nonprofit organizations, and I feel like such a leech that he’s still supporting me. I’d like to be on the other end, you know? Be making some kind of a contribution the way he does. Besides, I’m sure he has better things to do with his hard-earned money.”

“Well, speaking as a Dad,” Ethan says, with mock gravity, “I can’t imagine there’s anything I’d rather do with my money than spend it on my daughter. If I had any money, that is.”

“You say that now, when Molly’s, what? Three? Wait till you’re closing in on twenty years of financial support.”

“So would you stop doing art if you became a photographer?”

“No. I like to play with colors, textures, get the feeling of something or someone down on paper, to preserve it. Everything’s so temporary. This way I can preserve the memories.”

“Hm. Like impressionist photographs.”

“Hey, I hadn’t thought of that!”

By the time they’re finishing the lukewarm tea, he feels as though he’s been on a brief vacation. “This was delicious, every bit of it—at least every bit I managed to get into my mouth.”

“All you need is practice. But you did great for the first time.”

Her lipstick is gone, her blue eyes shining; she looks happy and relaxed, hunched over her teacup tucking strands of red hair behind her left ear. He feels a wave of affection for her. Affection. Nothing more. And he won’t ask for more; he won’t betray Jesse.

The waiter brings the check on a small black plastic tray. There’s a single fortune cookie on it. Ethan barely notices the waiter slip a cookie into each of Eve’s hands, he does it so quickly and smoothly. She blushes again, very becoming, and her eyes widen. She glances at Ethan and then at the departing waiter.

Ethan grins at her embarrassment. “There must be some super special fortunes in those cookies.” He reaches for the one on the tray, opens it with a single snap, pulls out the narrow piece of paper, and reads it aloud. “The road to knowledge begins with the turn of a page.” He rolls his eyes and crunches the pieces of cookie in his mouth. “Preaching to the converted here.”

She opens first one cookie, then the other, reading her fortunes to herself. Ethan waits for her to read them aloud, but she gives him a crooked half-smile and pockets them. He teases her about it, but she won’t tell him what they say. He pulls his wallet out and lays some bills on the tray. She slips her arms into her coat and he shrugs into his vest. On the way out, they nod to the waiter, who bows again and thanks them.

“Where’s your car? I’ll walk you to it.”

“It’s only a block away,” she says. “You don’t have to do that.”

“But I want to.” He presses the palm of his hand against her back, steering her in the direction she indicated. They walk slowly, in a comfortable silence. When they get to her car, she rummages through her handbag for her keys, and a small brush falls to the pavement.

“I’ve got it.” Ethan retrieves the brush and hands it to her. She reaches for it carefully, not touching his outstretched palm.

Suddenly she looks away. “Do you ever feel like you’re living someone else’s life? Like no matter how good you are you’ll never measure up?”

There’s a lump in his throat; all he can do is nod.

“Oh, listen to me,” she says, her tone shifting. “As if I have anything to complain about.”

But of course he knows what she means. He knows exactly what she means.

“Thank you, Ethan. That was wonderful. Such a nice surprise on a cold, gloomy day.”

He wants to say something light in response, but they’re standing too close, and instead of saying anything, he grasps her shoulders, pulls her toward him, and kisses her hard on the lips—waiting for her to push him away, maybe even hit him. But she sways unsteadily toward him so he folds his arms around her and she relaxes against him. A sigh escapes from one or both of them, and they stay like that, standing on the dark street in the cold, next to her car.

brown haired girl (a short story)

Memory is incomplete experience.
— J. Krishnamurti

A pleasurable warmth coursed through me from chest to belly and all the way down my legs to my toes. I’d been dreaming something good. The details had all vanished leaving behind this vapor trail of contentment. I’d read that if you keep your body in the same position after waking up your dream might come back to you. I tried feigning sleep, but Delilah batted at my nose with the tips of her claws to let me know she meant business. I took her paw in my hand and stroked her soft fur with my thumb. “Good kitty,” I whispered. Not about to settle for sweet talk, she yanked her paw from my grasp and let out a piercing meow. No question who was in charge here.

I opened my eyes to confront her steely green orbs less than three inches from my face. “All right, baby. Time to rise and shine. Or rise, anyway.” As soon as I pushed the quilted purple coverlet aside, Delilah jumped down from the bed and pranced out of the room, her black and white tail pointed skyward. I pushed my feet into slippers, wincing at the sight of my varicose veins. I used to have great legs, a hiker’s legs, strong and smooth and muscular; they had carried me up the sides of more than a few mountains back when. Now they looked and felt like they belonged to someone else, less like legs than sticks of wood.

Delilah called impatiently from the kitchen, so I stood up and ordered my feet to get moving. As I passed through the doorway, the memory flooded me so abruptly and with such Technicolor clarity I reached for the wall to steady myself.

Sam and I are in his green VW bug, heading out of town on the last weekend of October. We have food: yellow Delicious apples, cheese, and bread brought by me; wine, dark chocolate truffles—my favorite—and the ever-present red plaid thermos of black coffee brought by him. The sky is amazingly, brilliantly blue, with fairytale puffs of pure white clouds scudding across. The air feels crisp and clean, as if rain-washed.

We pass the bait shop with its signs hand-lettered on the windows in blue and white paint offering live bait, boat repair, fishing licenses, and cold drinks. Half a dozen teenaged boys in ripped jeans and Rolling Stones T-shirts are hanging around the entrance to the Mom and Pop store next door, smoking and shoving each other around, trying to kill some of the time they might someday wish they could get back. On the other side of the road, sandwiched between a couple of shabby used car dealerships, there’s the no-name café with its rectangular sign atop a tall pole towering over everything in the area and sporting a single word: “Eat.” A battered gray pick-up, probably belonging to the owner, is the only vehicle parked in the gravel lot. Sam and I keep threatening to go inside and order something to find out whether the food is edible and if the place has an actual name.

Sam says, “Hey, Annie,” in that fake casual tone of his, “could you root out one of those truffles for me?”

I stare at the round glasses resting on the bridge of his freckled nose, at his sculpted cheekbones and thatch of auburn hair. He looks sort of like an Irish John Lennon. “Ha, ha,” I say, not giving him the satisfaction of a smile. “How long were you saving that one up? Did you bring those truffles just so you could get off a one-liner?”

Sam grins. He runs his fingers through my hair, which falls around my shoulders in heavy brown waves. My chest constricts.

“I brought them because I love watching you eat them. You look like you’re about to have an orgasm.”

I hate having him see how embarrassed this makes me. I’m 19, but Sam is 21, and he seems much older and more experienced. I tell him to pay attention to the road, but he laughs and starts singing can’t take my eyes off of you…you’re just too good to be true…

As Delilah’s meows approached the level of caterwauling, I proceeded toward the kitchen humming the song since I couldn’t remember the rest of the words. Delilah made small circles in front of the door, the feline equivalent of pacing.

“OK, OK. You know I’m not as fast as I used to be. Someday you’ll be old and stiff, too. See how you like it when it happens to you.” I reached down to scratch the top of her head, but she gave me a dirty look and leaned away. I held open the door to the backyard, and she stepped out primly onto the top concrete step, surveying her territory before scampering into the yard. She was damn nimble for a 13-year-old cat. If you converted her age to human years, she was older than me, and frankly I was jealous of her agility.

I followed her down the steps and felt the sun on my bare arms. It was warm, but not yet hot, and the sky was cloudless. We needed rain, but I—and my bones—loved these dry, sunny days best. Delilah sniffed around the fence skirting the flowerbed, checking for traces of nighttime visitors. The lawn was green, thanks to the sprinkler system my son-in-law had installed, and all my flowers were blooming: the marigolds and zinnias, as well as the pink Queen Elizabeth roses and the sunflowers. I’d have to come out later with a bowl to pick some raspberries; the bushes bordering the fence were lush with fat red jewels.

Back in the kitchen, I heated water in the kettle, tossed some ground coffee into a brown paper cone, and bent close to inhale the scent. I’m still a coffee addict; it’s an old habit, one I picked up from Sam, actually.

He turns onto a dirt road taking us deep into the Michigan woods. We’re both quiet now, partly because of the quiet outside, but more, I think, because the trees have stunned us into silence. The leaves are so intensely gaudy with their red/gold and burnt orange colors that when the breeze ruffles them and sends handfuls whirling through the air, the countryside looks like it’s going up in flames. But you can tell fall is coming to an end. By next weekend, or the one after, most of the leaves will be gone, leaving the branches winter-bare.

Sam pulls off the road near a picnic table. We’ve never encountered anyone else here, so we think of it as our private retreat. I relax against the seat and breathe everything in. The air smells of decaying leaves and distant smoke. I know I will never forget this smell. Sam puts his arm around me, pulling me against him. His jacket brushes my cheek and my hair falls in front of my face. I brush it away and he kisses me long and hard, with his eyes open, staring into mine.

“Want a truffle?” he says, and we both crack up.

I slap at him lightly and push him away. “Maybe later.” I raise my eyebrows and attempt a suggestive look before digging into my pocket for a rubber band so I can pull my hair back into a ponytail. We get out of the car and head for the lake about a quarter of a mile away.

The sound of a train whistle made me shiver, but it was only the tea kettle. I turned off the heat and poured boiling water over the grounds. While the coffee brewed, I went to my bedroom to get dressed. These days I avoided looking at myself if I didn’t have to, but now I stood in front of the mirror as I slipped out of my nightgown, let it fall on the floor, and stepped into a worn pair of size eight jeans. Although I hate bras I usually succumbed to convention, but this morning I said the heck with it and pulled a T-shirt over my bare breasts. My nipples poked against the thin yellow cotton. I combed my fingers through my hair, which is thinner and gray now, but still comes down past my shoulders and still has some wave in it. I reached into my pocket for one of those coated hair bands that go on and off so much easier than plain rubber bands do.

Sam and I hike to the lake and take the trail up into the hills. As we climb, we talk about all the places we’re going to hike next year in different parts of Michigan, maybe the Upper Peninsula, and in other states later on, when we’re both finished with school. He wants to try Colorado; I’m dreaming of New England. We intend to travel a lot once we can afford it, so we spend a lot of time pouring over guidebooks for India and Greece and Spain, planning elaborate fantasy hikes.

When we get back to the car, we transfer everything from the back seat over to the picnic table and spread it out on top of a brown and white checked cloth. I grab an apple, sit down, and swing my legs over the seat of the picnic table. When I bite into the apple I spray juice everywhere.

Sam laughs and sticks his hand out. “Hey, be careful with that thing. It appears to be loaded.”

I make a face at him and laugh, too, trying not to choke or spit out apple bits. Sam cuts hunks of bread and slices of Swiss cheese and arranges them on paper plates while I unwrap the box of truffles, trying not to drool all over them. He opens the wine bottle with his Swiss Army knife. It’s inexpensive Cabernet, but at least it isn’t screw-top. He fills two paper cups halfway and hands one to me. I switch the apple to my other hand, wipe my palm on my jeans, and take the cup from him

“To us,” he says, winking and giving me a crooked, sexy smile.

My heart is so full I can hardly stand it. “To us,” I whisper back. Our toast feels ceremonial, like we’re making a do-or-die promise to each other, a vow, serious and holy. The forest, too, seems alert to the subtle change in atmosphere. And me, I’m wide open and ready, on the brink of the rest of my life, my beautiful life with Sam, who is strong and smart and funny and everything I will ever want or need.

Three sharp raps at the back door preceded the sound of Sandra’s voice. “Mom? You in here?”

“Coming!” I headed back to the kitchen where I found Delilah winding herself around Sandra’s legs. “You,” I said to the cat. “Back so soon?”

Sandra glanced at my chest before looking me in the eye. “I was on my way home from swimming and thought I’d stop by.”

“How nice. Would you like some coffee?” I lifted the plastic cone and offered her the mug of brewed coffee, but she shook her head.

“Not yours. I’ll fix my own.” She set her purse on the counter and carried the tea kettle to the sink to refill it. “Have you eaten breakfast?”

Sandra had recently taken to stopping by unannounced either to nag me or to see if I’m showing signs of losing my marbles, I’m not sure which.

“Nope.” I took a sip of black coffee, sighing as the caffeine kicked in. “Not hungry yet.”

“Mom, you should eat something in the morning. Even if it’s just toast.”

“You’re right. I’ll pick some raspberries in a minute. You can take some home with you for the kids.” I pulled out a chair and sat down at the oak table, watching my dark-haired older daughter carefully measure coffee into a fresh paper cone. She took after Philip, her father; practical people, both were neat, cautious, and meticulous, always busy-busy-busy, darting about, weaving their webs of safety and security around themselves and everyone close to them. Time and repetition had worn down my resistance to their ministrations.

Resting my elbows on the table, I gazed out the kitchen window past the cloud of peonies blooming against the fence on this side of the yard, toward the pastel haze of the eastern mountains. Sam. I hadn’t let myself think of him in years, allowing those memories to fade as the color of my hair has faded, to grow as brittle as my old bones. But what harm was there in indulging myself now, after all this time?

“You know what would go great with this coffee?” I said. “One of those dark chocolate truffles. With an Amaretto center. No, not Amaretto. Gran Marnier.” I could almost taste it. “Doesn’t that sound absolutely…um, really good?” I’d almost said “orgasmic.”

My daughter whirled around to face me. “What are you talking about? Mom, you’re not eating candy for breakfast, are you?”

I could just hear Sandra’s outraged report to her sister, Christine: “She’s eating chocolates for breakfast. Chocolates filled with liquor!” Chris would correct her: “It’s not liquor; it’s liqueur”—completely missing Sandra’s point and making a distinction that would be lost on her sister.

I stared into the dark steaming mug on the table and felt my lips twist into the smile of my younger self, slim-hipped and strong-legged; a little shy, but game, and impatient for the adventure to unfold. I had been so confident in Sam’s and my love, so certain of what the future held. There was so much I hadn’t known, so many things I couldn’t possibly have foreseen.

The cat curled up next to my bare feet purring, reminding me of who I was here and now—and where. But when I closed my eyes, the spirit of that eager young girl slipped into me, transporting me back to Michigan on a late-fall day amid flaming leaves and hushed, crystal-clear air, where I was poised—or maybe not exactly poised, but there—on the brink, with my whole life, for better and worse, still all out in front of me.

Maybe that girl would have been as scandalized as Sandra was at the idea of eating chocolate truffles for breakfast. But she would have been willing to do it. At least once.

short story envy

Not only is November National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Poem A Day (PAD) month, this week (12th to 18th) in November happens to be National Short Story Week (no acronym) in the UK. But since the internet is a global village, we can all partake in the celebration.

The short story — how modest in bearing! How unassuming in manner! It sits there quietly, eyes lowered, almost as if trying not to be noticed. And if it should somehow attract your attention, it says quickly, in a brave little self-deprecating voice alive to all the possibilities of disappointment: “I’m not a novel, you know. Not even a short one. If that’s what you’re looking for, you don’t want me.”

Steven Millhauser, The Ambition of the Short Story, New York Times 10/03/08

I really envy people who are able to write good short stories. I’ve tried my hand at writing them several times over the years (or, ahem, decades), but it’s just not something I’m good at. So I generally stick to reading them.*

Some of my favorite sources for short stories are:

Glimmer Train

I’ve been a big fan of Glimmer Train for years. They publish a quarterly short story magazine that is probably the one subscription I wouldn’t give up no matter what. For writers, they also publish Writers Ask, a 16-page quarterly full of info and interviews with published writers. And you can sign up for their online newsletter. I subscribe to everything!

Narrative Magazine

Narrative also has print and online publications. The website publishes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and interviews. Most are free. Lots of good quality material. Sign up to receive notifications via email.

One Story

One Story mails a single short story to subscribers “about every three weeks.” The magazine is pocket sized so you can carry it around with you. I have taken issues of One Story to the dentist’s office, the eye clinic, and to Jiffy Lube. Occasionally there’s one that doesn’t appeal to me. But the overall quality is excellent.

Tin House

Tin House is a high-quality literary quarterly that publishes all kinds of stuff: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, etc. They also publish books and hold writers workshops in the summer.

I also like the short stories published in The New Yorker.

And Daily Lit, which I just got started with, has 122 short stories among its offerings. I subscribed to receive the story Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri in 10 installments via email.

What are your favorite sources for short stories?

*However, just so you’re warned, I plan to post one of my few completed short stories next time.

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