5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for December 2017

[As mentioned earlier, for November and December, I am revisiting the top ten stories featured here throughout the year.] One of the best recent essays I have read about the short story form is by Brandon Taylor. In ‘Against the Attention Economy: Short Stories Are Not Quick Literary Fixes’, he makes some excellent points. Here are just a few of them . . . All of the short stories I share each month here are ones that, if we take the time to read them with attention and patience, will beat inside of us like second hearts. For December, we have stories (all free to read online, just click the titles) from these amazing writers: Lesley Nneka Arimah; John Cheever; Amy Tan; Karen Shepard; and Michael Cunningham. Enjoy. Oh, and in case you missed them, I also had two short stories published in Jet Fuel Review and Kweli Journal. The latter has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for December 2017

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Marginalia: George Eliot

November 22 was George Eliot’s birthdate. She has been one of my early favorites and, maybe, only second to Virginia Woolf among my literary icons. What got me hooked from the start was how she packed so much into a single page about human nature and character that rereading certain bits still leaves me breathless. I completely agree with Byatt that: “One of the reasons I loved her work when I met it was that she both showed people thinking intensely — as well as feeling — and knew and understood herself what they were thinking about. . . When I was younger it was fashionable to criticise Eliot for writing from a god’s eye view, as though she were omniscient. Her authorial commenting voice appeared old-fashioned. It was felt she should have chosen a limited viewpoint, or written from inside her characters only. I came to see that this is nonsense. If a novelist tells you something she knows or thinks, and you believe her, that is not because either of you think she is God, but because she is doing her work – as a novelist. We were taught to laugh at collections of “the wit and wisdom of Eliot”. But the truth is that she is wise – not only intelligent, but wise. Her voice deepens our response to her world.” Continue reading Marginalia: George Eliot

Booknotes: Favorite Writing How-to Books Part 6

Last month, I shared three free writing how-to resources in the form of podcasts. This month, let’s look at more free online resources — in the form of online blogs/websites. While there are way too many blogs and websites out there related to almost every aspect of writing beyond just craft, I am listing below only those related to craft and only those which, over the years have been my frequent go-to sites. This is not to say I have not found other many useful ones through google searches or recommendations from other writer friends. But, well, sometimes, you get hooked on a particular kind of advice delivered in a particular kind of way, right? Continue reading Booknotes: Favorite Writing How-to Books Part 6

5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for November 2017

For November and December, let’s revisit the best of the last ten months of short stories from this ongoing series. Why bother with this? For one, I find many short stories, when reread, give us new flavors, textures, nuances, etc., that we might have missed during the first read. For another, I do not want these amazing stories to simply get buried in the archives. So here are the five best-of-the-best from January-May 2017: stories by Karen Russell, Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Leila Aboulela, Robert Olen Butler, Helen Oyeyemi. These were very hard to pick, as you can imagine. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for November 2017

Published: Booknotes: The Good Immigrant (The Aerogram)

One of the finest essay collections I have read this year is ‘The Good Immigrant’. Edited by writer Nikesh Shukla, the collection has essays from 21 Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) creatives from across the UK. These are writers, actors, comedians, and more, writing about their experiences growing up as immigrants or children of immigrants. A review by me was just published over at The Aerogram — a US-based South Asian art, literature, life and news site. Funded by, among others, J K Rowling, and blurbed by, among others, Zadie Smith, it came out after the Brexit vote and during the peak madness of the US presidential election. Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) creatives (writers, actors, comedians, and more) from across the UK came together to write and share their experiences as immigrants or children of immigrants. Their themes, however, are universal and, having been an immigrant across various countries myself, I found much to identify with and ponder. Continue reading Published: Booknotes: The Good Immigrant (The Aerogram)