Tag Archives: Kyle Minor

Holiday Book Buying

4 Dec

I’m sitting here working on my list of books that I’d like to buy, be given, and/or give this holiday season. I’m becoming overwhelmed as I realize (again) that tricky situation: so many books, limited money. I thought I’d share a few books that I haven’t read but really really want (or want to give) that seem like great choices for holiday shopping this December.

1. The Oregon Trail Is The Oregon Trail by Gregory Sherl (MudLuscious Press): Every book MLP puts out is that beautiful blur of story and sound. In his past work, Sherl is a fearless traveler of emotions, searching inside himself and carrying whatever he finds to his readers. Add in that obvious connection to the video game of my (our?) youth and this could be a good gift for any literary lover of our generation, despite it being a pre-order (better a little late than never!). Check out this excerpt from the book’s page:

In my dreams we always ford the river.
In the wagon I cover you with blankets
when you sleep. You often dream of ghosts
while I hunt bison wherever bison live.
The ghosts are vegetarian, your heart
is April wind, raindrops the size of half dollars.
We never hire the Indian guide. Instead,
we keep the five dollars, roll it up, hide
it in my wool sock. You look better in 3D.
I touch your breasts with my fingertips.
Then I touch your breasts with my whole
hand. I swallow the idea of independence,
finding the West before the dirt was soiled
by factories that build heat-seeking missiles,
amusement parks, & chain restaurants.
Chimney Rock is underwhelming. I spit
in the cracks of the rock, tiny crevices
that hide who the fuck knows. You are hot
shit & the other carpenters from Ohio
are jealous. They think about your hair
while they’re inside their wives, think about
your dimple while they try to repair the axle
on their wagon. True love is finding wild
fruit. We eat without bibs. By rivers I sleep
easy, knowing you’re cleaning the clothes nearby.

2. Issue 4 of Artifice Magazine: The next installment from our favorite super self-aware journal promises to be beautiful, both inside and out. It also will fit in a stocking. Most importantly, it features new work by wonderful writers like Ryan Ridge, Richard Chiem, and Caroline Crew that are sure to be mind-thumping.

3. So many things from Dzanc Books’ Holiday Sale: With sales like Buy One, Get One Free or free eBooks with every print book or sweet bundles, Dzanc continues to offer some of the best literary booyeah for your buck. Maybe you have a friend/relative that needs some good lit exposure; try some the 30 Under 30 Anthology edited by Lily Hoang and Blake Butler, featuring innovative fiction from the likes of Matt Bell, Evelyn Hampton, and Brian Oliu. Or maybe–like me (silly I know)— you still haven’t read Kyle Minor’s book, so ask for that. Or maybe one of those wild new releases has caught your eye, like Animal Sanctuary by Sarah Falkner:

Winner of the 7th Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction

A wild and mysterious novel of multiple characters and episodes structured around the life and career of a fictional actress and animal rights activist, is the winner of the 7th Starcherone Fiction Prize. The manuscript was selected by novelist and short story writer Stacey Levine.

Animal Sanctuary is a challenging, readable, powerful, and mysterious novel. The story—not a single plot, but multiple, peripherally connected episodes and discourses – concerns an American actress, Kitty Dawson, who stars in two movies by a famous (and famously obscure) British director, Albert Wickwood, both having animal disaster themes. Kitty then goes on to make a great many other pictures with animal themes, and to found in the 1970s a sanctuary for big cats that rich people decide first to have as pets, then abandon. Later, Kitty’s only son, Rory, raised in the animal sanctuary and as a young teen the lover of a renowned Austrian big cat trainer, becomes an installation and performance artist whose work incorporates animals & animal themes, as well as attempts to critique and get outside of institutions.

4. Please Don’t Be Upset by Brandi Wells: Missed out on Tiny Hardcore Press’s sweet sales awhile back? That’s okay, you’re not alone. But, you can still snag Well’s sure-to-be-sweet book for a stellar $8.99. I’m always impressed by how Wells’ writing, and THP books in general, can be in-your-face without being obnoxious, intimate without being awkward, and 100% hard-hitting.


Read Minor’s novel excerpt at Guernica; you won’t regret.

26 Jul

With all the hoopla surrounding the DOGZPLOT party and the Vouched ATL launch reading/party, we’ve not gotten to do as much of what we do here best at Vouched Online, which is recommending excellent online literature.

Like this excerpt from Kyle Minor’s new novel up at Guernica: it was all over my Twitter feed last week, but I didn’t have any real opportunity to sit down with it until this morning, and holy hot damn, yes. Kyle doesn’t relent:

Not a week earlier, he had gone into a dark dirt-floored house where the rainwaters that leaked from the stone-covered rust holes in the tin roof were falling on the bodies of Leila Altidort—the wife of his best Haitian friend Kenel—and her stillborn baby. Blood everywhere. Stained the ground, her legs, Kenel’s hands and chest as he held his wife’s head to his chest. He put the dead baby in her arms, and he held up her arms with his arms, and they rocked there, the three of them, the two dead, and the one living. And when Samuel came into the house and saw them there, he joined them, put his arms around Kenel and the bodies and rocked with them. He didn’t need a doctor to be first to the diagnosis: Placenta previa, that low-ride and tear in the uterus that killed the mother, and that horrid umbilical tangle that strangled the baby with the life-giving cord. So often it was this, the too-late diagnosis for want of an ultrasound machine, a sonogrammer, to catch it early, and mother and half-term baby bled to death within spitting distance of the mission hospital. He wanted to grab old humorless Phelps by the lapels and shake him and say: This is what is sacred. This is what you want me to say, and I will not say it. But time would play the changes. He knew it. The time would come, and he would say the words, use the gruesome story of the untimely and purposeless death of Kenel’s wife and baby to get the money, then use the story again on the disbursers of the money he raised, to try to convince them to use the money to buy, really buy, an ultrasound machine, instead of another batch of battery-powered radios that would only tune to the one radio station, the one with the preaching and singing the mission approved. To try and fail, because Brother Joe and his ilk—those who controlled the purse strings—would say: What power is there in the ultrasound machine? The ultrasound machine proclaims on one life, but the radio station proclaims to tens of thousands the greater message, for the greater life giving, and: Don’t do that, they’d say. Don’t do that to me.

Read the full excerpt at Guernica.

It was hard to decide what I would excerpt, there are so many incredible passages. You must read this. You must be patient after reading this, for the novel is not slated for release yet, and so you must wait, we must all wait for this.

SSR #11 of 15: In The Devil’s Territory

18 Jul

Kyle Minor‘s In The Devil’s Territory is a release from the good people over at Dzanc Books!

This is what it feels like to take a man’s confession: a rotted specimen is passed to your hand- peel its outsides back like wrapping paper, or crack it like a shell- hand it back to them to hold.

SSM: wigleaf Top 50 [Very] Short Stories

11 May

I’m going to take a break from vouching specific stories today to instead vouch 50. The wigleaf Top 50 [Very] Short Stories of 2011 list was just released a few days ago, and I wanted to point everyone to it.

And, okay. So 2011 isn’t even half way over yet, but wigleaf is aware of that, and the award is always somewhat retro in that 2010 sort of way.

But I want to take a quick moment and talk about how awesome this list is, not only for the readers, but for the authors who made it, because I’ll embarrass myself right now and say when Andrew from Freight Stories called me in ’09 to tell me I’d made it, I was all, “Oh, cool. That’s pretty rad. Thanks for calling.” I had never heard of wigleaf, and only knew a couple of the other authors on the list. And let’s face it, I was kind of an ass.

If you’re reading this now, and you’re on this list, and you’re thinking that: don’t do that.

Let me tell you now, there are 1000s of stories published every year that fit the requirements for this award, and I’m not just talking about Ol’ Shmoe publishing on his blog. I’m talking stories published in really incredible online journals like PANK, The Collagist, Used Furniture, Lamination Colony, Word Riot, storySouth, Abjective, &c. &c. &c. Some real competition. And from those 1000s, the editors of wigleaf cull a longlist of 200 stories, and from there, a guest editor chisels it to their favorite 50.

If the process isn’t enough to convince you where you are, look at some of the names around you: Blake Butler, Matt Bell, Tina May Hall, Tadd Adcox, Aaron Burch, Roxane Gay, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Matthew Salesses, Jim Ruland, Amber Sparks, Terese Svoboda, James Yeh, David Peak, Kyle Minor, &c. &c. &c.

If you don’t know these names yet, then get reading. I didn’t know most of them a couple years ago either, and now I feel like I’m just catching up to where I could be as a writer and a reader if I had.

To all the writers who made this year’s top 50, a huge congrats to you, and I hope you recognize the honor of it. To all the readers out there, spend some time with this list. You’ll find in it the tremblings of a new literature.