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Lennon, J. Robert

Strawberries

A few weeks ago, there was a hurricane that you might have read about (unless it blew a rock on top of you and you decided to live beneath it, in which case, my sympathies). During this hurricane, I was away on what was supposed to have been a Caribbean holiday of a few days, which turned into one of a few days plus a few days more plus a few bonus days. Not a bad way to ride out a storm, especially when one is stranded with a good book. Photographic evidence:

全天飞艇全天计划I returned to find great areas of my city in all kinds of shambles, but I have every confidence that readers of these pages are already what they to , so I won’t indulge in (much) proselytising.

Instead, I’ll swoonily admit that had I not been stranded on a Caribbean island with Familiar全天飞艇全天计划 (BUY: , ), I might’ve ended up parched with an atrophied and shriveled brain, wasted and prone to mirage. So you might say that we owe my health, and by extension this podcast, to that book.

全天飞艇全天计划So to celebrate, here’s a short piece by the same author, originally published in print by .

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Marias, Javier

While the Women are Sleeping

I’m sitting here desperately trying not to listen to the U.S. Presidential Debate that’s streaming into my earbuds, because the entire thing seems like such hot-twisted-metal train wreckage that the hairs on my neck get singed just listening to it. And I like my neck-hairs.

全天飞艇全天计划And I know that the next month is going to be full of the same, so to spare your hairs, neck-and-other-wise, I’ve recorded a nice long one for you, replete with what I see (through admittedly hazy eyes) as thematic portents to what I’m listening to. Consider this my own personal bailout to you.

You’re welcome.

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Birrell, Heather

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

It’s been a while since I’ve last read, for reasons whose details I won’t serenade you with, but which have to do with huge, overwhelming, life-changing projects that ultimately will leave me with more全天飞艇全天计划 time to do this more often (I’ll need a little luck, if you want to drop some in the mail), but which, at the moment, have me submerged and often feeling not unlike drowning (or what I imagine drowning is not-unlike. I’ve never actually drowned.)

Then I received an email from Evan Munday at Toronto’s , asking if I had interest in reading from Heather Birrell’s latest collection. Let me assure you now that a response of “WOULD I‽” does not come across to full effect in email if not accompanied by a look of wide-eyed promise and a rare display of teeth (even with the interrobang). Some of you might remember my enthusiasm at reading Birrell’s Trouble at Pow Crash Creek (from I Know You Are But What Am I? a couple of years ago. I promise you that the new collection, , is, impossibly, even more beautifully wrought, more intellectually finely tuned, and more gut-wrenching. You’ll see what I mean when you listen.

(Thanks Evan and Coach House for the book. Thanks Heather for the collection. Lest you think this is shilly, I was under no obligation whatsoever to read from the collection. Like most makers of book-derived things on the Internet, publishers send me books all the time, which I often read and sometimes like, but which are rarely suited for the little sanctum I’ve got here. Happy weekend!)

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McDermott, Alice

I Am Awake (Guest narrator: Philip Shelley)

Tonight’s guest narrator owns and operates , a project I desperately wish would soon revive itself from its two-year hiatus, and not just because I miss the occasional chance for self-gam-gawkery. The project is one of genius, sometimes seemingly singlehandedly keeping the internet’s signal-to-noise ratio from flatlining, and maybe if you help me to strongarm him (GENTLY), he’ll rouse it from its vanWinklery nap.

Reflecting on his interpretation of Alice McDermott, I realise that perhaps I haven’t given her a fair shake, and that should change. This is heartwrenchingly rendered beauty, which, given our narrator, shouldn’t surprise anybody.

I’ll be back in my own voice very soon now, and still have a few guests to post. If you told me you’d read for me and you haven’t, I am probably very disappointed in you, although I just might understand all the same.

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Wallace, David Foster

Everything is Green (Guest narrator: George Carr)

全天飞艇全天计划The voice you are about to hear is not my own, though today’s guest narrator insists his distinctive lilt can be attributed to “equal parts whisky, speed, and diction practice.” Which means that it’s probably closer to my voice than we’d think at first listen.

And so, I would appreciate no murmured speculation on rhinoplastic nasal blockage or testosterone injections on my part. For the next month or two, I’ll be hosting some featured narratorial guests, as I take care of some necessary business of a personal variety, which may or may not involve the sexual reassignment of my nose. Go ahead, speculate away.

全天飞艇全天计划My first guest, George Carr, is (on my authority) among the world’s most dedicated and assiduous close readers of David Foster Wallace, so it was with a blushing schoolgirl’s delight that my inbox received his reading of Everything is Green. It’s a story on the shorter side, when measured in minutes, but don’t let that stop you: every second is greater than itself. And if you’re as in thrall by George’s voice as I am, put your eyes back here next week for more. Enjoy.

I’m featuring guest readers for the next month or two. Stop writing to me with snoopy questions about my health! My health is just fine! Or at least, it is, and will continue to be if you don’t send me into a paranoiac hell of hypochondriasis. Nor am I in prison. Yet. I do have a talented stable of guests lined up, and if you’d like to have a stab at a reading, email me.

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Sayles, John

At the Anarchists’ Convention by John Sayles

全天飞艇全天计划I yanked tonight’s story from The Best of American Short Stories 1980, a volume edited by the great Stanley Elkin. If you take one look at it, you’ll see that 1980, while not considered a boon year for American fiction, perhaps should be. Donald Barthelme, Mavis Gallant, William H. Gass, Elizabeth Hardwick Grace Paley, Peter Taylor, and I’m thinking that if Elkin didn’t already have a hell of a gig as the brain behind The Magic Kingdom and The Living End, pulling this collection together seems the stuff of dreamjobs.

I left some residual background noise in tonight’s recording for the sake of achieving verisimilitude with the subject matter. Also, because it’s Bloomsday next week, which means I’ve still got work to do.

Look again at that list of names. What’s a girl got to do to help make 2011 or 2012 another 1980? Maybe a new can’t hurt…

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Minor, Kyle

The Truth and All Its Ugly

Whenever an internet missive or crosses my screen with Kyle Minor’s name attached, I open it up in awe of his apparently continual reading and writing and thinking acutely about the finer side of the bookish life. I don’t know whether this relentless pursuit of the craft can be had without a truckload of drugs, but I also think the drugs necessary for his task probably haven’t even been concocted yet.

Tonight’s story was originally published on , and is here with the permission of the author, a fact that I am laying down right now in case Fifty-Two Stories happens to have an intellectual property lawyer in the family with some time on his or her hands. And actually, Mr or Mrs Fifty-Two Stories and all sister and parent companies, if you’re reading this and you do come from legal blood, we should get married.

For the rest of you, you could get your brain into top form fast by looking closely at the right 3/4 of Kyle Minor’s , if that’s your bag.

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Daitch, Susan

Killer Whales, Susan Daitch

There’s a quite decent independent bookstore in the town in which I’m staying this week, a bookstore that will be closing soon for all the usual reasons. I plan to spend a fair amount of time later this morning vulturing my way through this store, and walk out picking my teeth with unsold reading lights and hauling overstuffed bags full of firesale booty that can no way be described as “carrion” no matter how many ways I stretch the metaphor.

Which means, of course, it’ll be impossible to celebrate my winnings by dumping the books on the bed and saucily getting to know them in satin sheets and slow motion. These are books to be treated reverently, I think. I hate bookstores closing as much as my wallet loves a sale, and I’ve been a part of too many such liquidations to share.

So, a few years ago, while trawling the shelves in a similar situation in a midtown shop, I found Susan Daitch’s Storytown, which sat unread until a few months ago. This was a shame, because the stories here are sui generis, told brilliantly, and inspired. I’m reading the first one for you as tonight’s bedtime story. And with that, a Archimedes moment of redemption: maybe you’ll like it, and and we can keep our vultures circling elsewhere.

In other news, this new journal , and I’ve been impressed with (in closed beta, but they’re giving out invites every day, so get over there)全天飞艇全天计划, and plan to post a small story on that site next week.

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Matthews, Jack

A Woman of Properties, Jack Matthews

Well, here we are having taken yet another circumnavigatory Gregorian tour together, and I hope that you’ve put away your party hats and crackers and are back to the grind, having disregarded all the unreasonable expectations you made of yourselves for the coming months. Because I have nothing but sympathy: it’s too cold to get up and run ten miles and do the laundry and tidy the front garden and write your best auntie a letter every morning. I understand. Stay in bed. Read a good book. Listen to a good story.

Here’s one, a good story, from an author you likely don’t know. I didn’t know of him either until very kindly and generously shoved a book into my filthy mitts. I’m a bit of a busy reader, with a half dozen books open and a pile of books to read that the mountain certifiers are always interested in measuring. So, while I’m always interested, in a DROP EVERYTHING sort of way, of hearing about a new author, it has to really get under my nose for me to sit at attention. Fortunately, I think Robert’s been listening perspicaciously, and clearly has an idea how to do that. From his synopsis of the story: Lots of dialogue, odd situations, lots of internal musings and a Flannery O’Connor feel. No fooling.

全天飞艇全天计划In related news, there will be new chapters of starting tomorrow. Catch up while you can. Also, I have a little something , if you need to listen to more.

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Wood, Monica

Disappearing

It’s that time of year, my dears, where I’m about to head off to foreign parts for what’s known in various circles as “vacation,” “holidays,” or “days spent without LCD bathing.” I can’t believe it, either, actually, and am not sure I’ll be able to pull off things like “relaxing” and “not having much of anything to do,” which have only existed as very high level concepts in my foggy head. And there are so many things lined up when I return that I’ll probably never ever take time off again, which could be good for you, if your ears are burning. I’ll do the big reveal of a few of those things as soon as I return.

全天飞艇全天计划In the meantime, if you really need some sort of morbid fix, here are a few other scattered places where I’ve littered the internet with my sonant scraps. There’s a reading of Stella of the Angels at . A recording of an Amy Meckler original poem at . I can’t stress enough how pleased I am with the serial reading of , which you’ll be able to catch up on while I’m away… And if long form’s your game, I still drop in and have a drink with Librivox from time to time. Have a listen to or , and honestly, if that doesn’t keep you busy for the next couple of weeks, you really should be reading to ME.

See you next month. Run through a sprinkler or open fire hydrant vicariously for me in the meantime.

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