Housekeeping




(My family just did a spit take at that title.)

Not that kind of housekeeping.

This:

1. My last post recommended multicultural novels for summer reading. But? I also love short fiction. Love, love, love it. In important ways, I think I learned to write from short fiction. I would be remiss if I didn't recommend some of my very favorite multicultural short fiction collections (pictured above):

The Wild Grass by Davin Malasarn

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers  by Yiyun Li

Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Bolero of Andi Rowe* by Toni Margarita Plummer

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri


*Yes, that Toni Plummer. My editor at Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Press. And yes, it is more than a little intimidating to have an editor who writes so beautifully, with both power and restraint, and  with such gorgeous, graceful prose.






2. Speaking of short fiction, I'm not sure I announced this here, but in May I was invited to sit on the Advisory Board of a start up literary journal, The Lascaux Review. I was honored to be asked. I am thrilled with the kind of work the journal is publishing and excited about editor Stephen Parrish's future plans. So far my role seems to be largely hanging out with this talented guy, waiting for snacks. But I am ready to advise. You know I am.

(The Lascaux Review accepts short fiction, poetry, and narrative nonfiction of literary quality. Submission Guidelines can be found here.)






3. Finally,  I am working on edits to my novel for my editor. It's not a terribly heavy edit, but I feel the weight of it, a sense that soon I will not be able to change things or fix things, that this is how my novel will be. I am excited and focused. I also might have pencils in my hair, but let's pretend the scene is one of serenity and order, with an ironic cowgirl mug filled with tea and a neat stack of manuscript pages.

Also, let's pretend summer vacation doesn't start tomorrow.
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What about you? Any updates to report? Progress on MUDBOUND? Other summer book recs, multicultural or otherwise? Editing during summer vacation survival tips?




25 comments:

  1. First of all, I must say I am a FAN of Davin Malasarn's wonderful writing. Excellent.

    Also, I finally finished Solar by Ian McEwan so I can start Mudbound as soon as I recover from this one.

    I just finished it this morning and have sort of a like/hate relationship with it now because it is simultaneously well-written, has an interesting construction and yet slightly infuriating on some levels. I'm still deciding what to make of it.

    But, you know, if a book makes you think and feel that means something, right?

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    1. I'm guessing Davin has more than a few fans here!

      I think a book that infuriates you a little is not a bad thing. I also love the process of deciding what I think about a book, when it's not clear, when I am torn.

      Looking forward to our discussion in August!

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    2. I love McEwan and have read about a dozen of his titles, Wendy, but I couldn't get into SOLAR. Have you read ON CHESIL BEACH? It's remarkable and I'd highly recommend it (after MUDBOUND, of course).

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    3. I read ON CHESIL BEACH--I loved how the pov switched back and forth until it sort of stayed with the character who needed it, if that makes sense. Which it probably doesn't, but I am trying to avoid a spoiler situation here.

      I think that in one form or another, our book discussiom in August must go on to other books, however infrequently and casually. There are too many people here with whom I would love to discuss books at length!

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    4. Wow, thanks for saying such nice things, both of you! I'm also a huge fan of myself. Ha ha, just kidding. I'm also a huge fan of Jhumpa Lahiri. I got to sit in a very small room with her once as she was being introduced to the audience, and I kept staring at her and smiling until she finally smiled back at me. It felt so special! But I like her because of her writing, not just because she smiled at me.

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    5. Ha, Davin! I love the image of you staring at Jhumpa Lahiri until she smiled.

      Watch out; we may have to discuss WILD GRASS at some point. Of course, we'll all stare/smile at you until you smile back!

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  2. does lascaux review publish previously unpublished writers?

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    1. My understanding is that Lascaux seeks submissions from all writers--published or unpublished. What matters is the work itself.

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    2. What J.A. said. We're new, so we've only published one previously unpublished writer so far, but boy did it feel good.

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    3. Steve, I love how you put that!

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  3. I finished MUDBOUND in California. I couldn't read it fast enough. Can't wait to discuss further with you, Wendy, Davin and whoever else is joining us. Wow.

    You know how I feel about Lahiri. And I've been meaning to pick up Davin's book for awhile now. Loved his piece in Lascaux.

    Good luck with those edits. I have faith in you (and the cowgirl mug). :)

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    1. You finished? Now I have to try not to talk about it with you before August!

      (It's possible the cowgirl mug does not, actually, have tea in it at this particular moment.)

      Thanks, Sarah!

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    2. (I would expect nothing less.)

      ((Sorry. Commented in the wrong spot. Must be the jet lag.))

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    3. I think we should all comment in the wrong spot just to keep j on her toes. I have my copy of Mudbound waiting for me. I'm trying to finish two other books first: Tiger's Wife and With A Name Like Love. Don't talk about the book yet! Not even in secret! Because I can always hear you.

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    4. If we comment in the wrong spot, maybe you won't know we're talking about it, Davin.

      I'm kidding. Not a peep. Not even a coded non-message message in this thread like, "could you believe---"

      Promise.

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  4. Thanks for the link! And yeah, still waiting for the snacks. I understand sweet relish may be involved. Maybe they'll have another legal document we can review to make us think snacks are on their way.

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    1. I think going forward we should only give advice after snacks have been provided. We need to get smart about this, Pete.

      I'm heading over to read about your reading challenge; everyone else should, too!

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    2. The editorial staff and advisory board need to have an all-expense-paid conference. In Lascaux, France, say.

      And ya'll think I'm kidding . . .

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    3. This? Is better than snacks.

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  5. Thank you for the suggestions. I'm pleased to add SEVERAL more great reads to the stack by my bed! *sigh* I was smitten by Lahiri. It's been too long since I've picked up her work! Right now, I'm deep into Kipling and Forster-- gleaning inspiration for my own (working) novel set in 1969 Madras, India. But everytime I have a moment to read, I feel full of guilt for not using it to write!

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    1. Hi Shannon!

      Your novel sounds fascinating. I'd love to hear more!

      And I think you would really like Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's short fiction--she has a short story called "Clothes" in ARRANGED MARRIAGE that is about as good as it gets in my opinion. She's a really beautiful, thoughtful writer.

      Thanks for commenting! Any chance you want to read Hillary Jordan's MUDBOUND with us? :)

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    2. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm considering joining you for Mudbound. Sounds compelling! Perhaps, a deal with myself? 20,000 words of my own and I get to read. :-)

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    3. Perfect--we're not discussing until August, so you've got time to write and read!

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  6. Thanks for these recs. I'll look back in your other posts for more books.

    I also put pencils in my hair, but then I forget I put them there.

    Have a great weekend.

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  7. Thank you for stopping by, Medeia! I love your book recs on your blog.

    I forget the pencils, too. Sometimes I even go to bed with them.

    Take care!

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