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Archive for the 'What I’m Giving' Category

Tom Spanbauer: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I'm giving this book to my partner, Michael Sage Ricci, because Sage and I, as well as being partners and lovers, also teach Dangerous Writing together. Sage and I are constantly talking about books and writing, and in particular styles of writing. Sebald's style is like no one else's, and while I'm in love with his books, especially The Emigrants, I am confounded as to his style, and mystified by his style, and while I have some ideas as to how Sebald does what he does, I won't really understand what I want to understand until I talk to Sage about it.

I read this book because my therapist, Grey Wolfe, had been raving about Sebald and she'd just recently finished The Rings of Saturn, so I bought The Rings of Saturn, loved it, and wanted to read another book by Sebald.

The Emigrants is a long meditation, or guidebook, ...


Jess Walter: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I'll be giving my brother a book of short stories, Jim Gavin's Middle Men (unless my brother reads this blog post; then he's getting what I usually get him: a $7 gift certificate at the Booze Barn).

These funny, naturalistic stories are about the kinds of people we grew up with (or maybe the kind of people we grew up to be) — characters a less nuanced writer might depict as life's losers. But Gavin writes with such ease and generosity that a genuine poignancy bubbles up.


Jesmyn Ward: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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"But time has taught me my options (who knows about the next man's?), my options are full of fast-twitch muscles."

Basketball or running from the law, these are the two options Champ feels he has in Mitchell S. Jackson's The Residue Years. The novel, a mother-son story set in Portland, Oregon, provides a window into the 1990s crack epidemic and the impact it had on one family, from the point of view of dealer and addict, both of whom reside within said family.


Colin Meloy: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I was actually planning on buying large quantities of Naoki Higashida's The Reason I Jump, translated from the Japanese by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell, for all my nearest and dearest. The book is a bit of a revelation: in it, Higashida describes the interior world of a kid on the autism spectrum with clarity and deftness. The fact that the book even exists is an inspiration — Higashida is autistic himself and is completely nonverbal. He used an adaptive device to dictate the text.

The book feels like a much-needed primer on the autistic world, in the voice of an autistic boy, and is absolutely a must-read for anyone who is connected to someone on the spectrum. My son Hank was diagnosed with autism when he was two and a half. Immediately after getting the diagnosis, my wife and I buried ourselves in books and blogs about autism, trying to ...


Benjamin Percy: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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Everywhere I go, people are talking about Game of Thrones. "Winter is coming," my neighbor jokes, when the autumn wind strips the leaves from the trees and clutters up our yards. "A Lannister always pays his debts," a friend says when he slips me the twenty I loaned him the other night at the bar. The novels — and the HBO series — are explosively popular for good reason. Fantasy is more mainstream than ever, and Patrick Rothfuss is equally deserving of such a wide audience.


Kari Luna: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I adore giving books as gifts. I give them on official holidays and unofficial ones, like Redheads Day! Or, you know, Wednesdays. But there's no better time than the holidays to give books. And while some books belong to specific people, others belong to everyone. The Color Master by Aimee Bender is in the latter category.

In this delicious collection of short stories, Bender brings us an ogre husband. Tigers who burst out of their stripes! And a young boy who can't discern facial expressions. It's all camp and curiosity, myth and magic. And as she slips in and out of the supernatural — like it's perfectly natural — she brings us with her, following along on our magic carpets. These stories aren't all fairytale and fantasy, though. Ms. Bender delves into important topics, so while whimsical, this isn't a book for the kids in your life — just for the kids ...


Ken Denmead: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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I came to read (actually first listened to via audio book) Redshirts because I am a lifelong Star Trek geek (my cred goes as deep as the fact that I have personally run a play-by-email Star Trek RPG), and because I'm a fan of both John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton (who reads the audiobook and has been a friend of my site for many years).


Amanda Coplin: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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Michael McGriff and I met as undergraduates at the University of Oregon. Our mediums were different — he wrote poetry and I wrote prose — but our obsession was the same. We both strove to capture in language the places where we were from — Wenatchee, Washington, for me, and Coos Bay, Oregon, for McGriff. These places haunted us, were the objects of joy and despair, an immense spiritual tangle.

McGriff's work — a chapbook, Choke, was published in 2006; Dismantling the Hills, in 2008; and Home Burial, in 2012 — can be read as an elegy to the aftermath of industry — Coos Bay was once a booming logging town — when the place of busyness is now quiet, abandoned, empty, depressed. The poems carry the weight of a perpetually rainy, damp climate, are full of shadows and ocean water and long silences between people who have lived together their ...


Dean Koontz: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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Kate DiCamillo has written several wonderful books — among them The Tale of Despereaux, The Magician's Elephant, Because of Winn-Dixie — all of which would make wonderful gifts. If I had to choose just one, it would be The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Ms. DiCamillo is known as a writer for children and has won numerous awards in that field, including the Newbery Medal, but she is a storyteller of such grace and charm that her books provide as much pleasure for adults as for children. Children will never feel that she is writing down to them, and adults will never feel that her writing is too simple, for it is in fact complex in theme and rich in emotion. Few writers have ever made me laugh out loud and, in the same book, moved me to tears, but Ms. DiCamillo does both, book after book.

Edward Tulane ...


Mitchell S. Jackson: What I’m Giving

In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily to see the books your favorite authors are gifting.

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A book that I find myself returning to over and over again is Edward P. Jones's short story collection All Aunt Hagar's Children.

Edward P. Jones is one of my favorite writers, and what's great about this book is the way he reveals the humanity of the people in his stories. His characters are people I feel like I've known for years, and I always have a sense (imagine the oldest and most sagacious person in your family and you might come close to one of his omniscient narrators) of Jones's earned wisdom.

My favorite stories in the collection are "A Rich Man," about an elderly womanizer who receives his comeuppance, and "Old Boys, Old Girls," about an ex-con's transition into the world. I like these stories in particular because, on the surface, the characters are not empathy-worthy sorts, but by the end of the stories, Jones's understanding of the elements of ...


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