What I’m Reading Right Now (And You Should Too)

Being a “Graduate Student” means I have to do this thing called “Reading” a lot. And since I’m working on a collection of short stories, I’ve been reading a lot of really short, funny and odd fiction. And it’s all just fantastic.

1. The Withdrawal Method – Pasha Malla

I bought this book over a year ago for a class and I only ended up leafing through it. It’s been on my “to-read” list since then, and I’m finally going through it this summer, and I’m blown away. Each story is unique, bizarre, with really funny and well-captured characters. Protagonists range from children imitating rape fantasies to adults trying to shed all of their skin, to a collective “we” narrator documenting the span of a life. Each concept is fresh and inspiring. This is good fiction.

2. The Nimrod Flipout – Etgar Keret

This collection reminds me a lot of Malla’s, except on speed. More brief and even more absurd, most of these stories are under four pages and pack in more than your little mind can take. When I’m finished I’m left thinking, “how the hell did he pull that off?” I can’t even get into all the subject matters these take on, but just know they range from girlfriends that turn into fat men by night and sets of married twins having affairs with one another. Yeah, you’re interested. Read this collection; it doesn’t disappoint.

3. Pure Drivel – Steve Martin

Another book that’s been on my list since I took a “humorous essay” class in undergrad. I first read “Schrodinger’s Cat” in that class and finally, buckled down and bought the collection this summer. It’s Steve Martin, it’s flawless. Perfect comedic timing, witty prose, absurd subject matters. Worth anyone’s time.

4. The Best American Comics (2007)

The rogue pick, but I found it for $2 on a clearance rack, and after leafing through it, decided it was worth my time (and cheaper than a Starbucks latte, come on). It’s been sitting by my bed for some leisurely nighttime reading, and I’ve been loving it. The comics are gorgeous, stories are rich and compelling. And since I know nothing about comics, it’s sort of fascinating to me. I love staring at a panel for minutes at a time and taking in the details, the characters’ expressions. And I’m not too bummed I picked up the 2007 version, it just means I now have 08-11 to get to.

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