Books Read in 2013

January 2, 2014 7:00 am | Tags: , | No Comments

Since 2009, I have kept track of the books I’ve read. Like most readers, I have tried making lists of books I should read, or could read, or might read, or want to read, often only to abandon the plan halfway through it. In 2012, I tried to read all of Toni Morrison’s novels, and while I knocked out three of them (an awfully low number given that she’s written ten novels), I once again lost interest or got otherwise distracted and picked up something else.

This year I will once again come up with a plan, and this year, once again, I will wildly deviate from this plan. Hey, it happens. I haven’t entirely decided what that plan will be or look like, but I’m kicking around ideas.

What has been much better for me is to simply keep track of what I’ve read. Every time I finish a book, I add to the list which means, of course, that I see the list, and remember what I’ve recently read. This file on my laptop goes back to 2009, so I can see every book I’ve read for the past five years. Sorta interesting.

So here is my list of books that I read this past year. I’ve sprinkled in a little bit of commentary between the list, and added more extensive thoughts at the end.

Onward! (more…)

Cheering For the Bengals

September 12, 2013 2:45 pm | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

The Cincinnati Bengals made it the Super Bowl in 1982 and 1989, falling to the San Francisco 49ers both times. I have no memory of the first loss, but I do remember the Bengals of the late 80’s, led by Boomer Esiason and Ickey Woods and the SWAT Team. It was a good time to be a Bengals fan. But since then, it’s been a bit of a rough run for the Bengals, who have been inept for almost two decades now, and have reached a point of mediocrity that continues to give fans false hope. (more…)

Pittsburgh Style Interview!

September 5, 2013 7:00 am | Tags: | No Comments

This week, writer Jeffrey Condran of Braddock Avenue Books, posted an interview with me about my collection, Strategies Against Extinction. It’s part of their Straight Talk interview series. Read the whole thing here.

There are questions about the style of the writing, how the stories were organized, sympathy for the characters, and the novella as a formal choice. I think it’s good but I’m biased: I know the guy being interviewed.

I also know the guy doing the interview. You can pre-order a copy of Jeff’s collection, A Fingerprint Repeated, which will be out from Press 53 next month. And/or snag a copy of the books available from Braddock Avenue, writers such as Aubrey Hirsch, Sal Pane, and Catherine Gammon.

Finally, today is my birthday. You should say, Happy Birthday! Or something like that …

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

Advice to Emerging Writers

August 6, 2013 9:00 am | Tags: , | No Comments

Yesterday on The Missouri Review blog, I wrote an essay called “10 Things Emerging Writers Should Learn.” These types of lists, usually dressed up as general advice, are ubiquitous and easy to find online, but I hope that this is found to be a little playful, a bit fun, while also making some good, simple points about what an emerging writer should do, both as a writer and as a literary citizen. It may be a small distinct, but my first inclination was not to use the word Learn but the word Know.

Learn is better. Too often, we assume that simply because we know something, and that knowledge is so ingrained in how we behave on a daily basis, everyone else should know it, too. It’s far too easy to forget that there was a time when we didn’t know anything. We knew less than nothing. If we even knew we knew nothing, that would be something. But we didn’t. So! Learn, however, is a word that suggest process and progress, that all of these things take time, and that we are, always, striving to discover more about the fine art of storytelling. No one has ever mastered it. No one ever sits in front of the page and fails to struggle.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

Sunday Salon Chicago

July 26, 2013 7:00 am | Tags: , , | No Comments

This Sunday night at 7 pm, I’m reading with three other writers in the Sunday Salon Series in Chicago. A few months ago, I read in the Sunday Salon Series in NYC, and I’m sure this one will be just as much fun.

This reading is free and open to the public. You should attend! The event details are here. And if you don’t feel like clicking the link, Black Rock Pub is located at 3614 N. Damen in the Windy City, and the event is from 7 to 9 pm. We’ll read for about fifteen minutes per reader (there are four of us) and I’ll have copies of my book available for sale. My book comes with a free beer koozie. Yes, really! So you should definitely be there to snag a copy of the book and throw rotten fruit at me. Not necessarily in that order.

I’m reading with three other writers. Micki LeSueur is a freelance copywriter, writing fiction posing as non-fiction for major corporations and their advertising agencies. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and is the founder and host of Fictlicious, a live reading and music series, and its podcast series. LeSueur is also the president and founder of Coat Angels, a local not-for-profit providing warm winter coats for cold Chicago kids. Adam McOmber is the author of The White Forest (Touchstone 2012) and This New & Poisonous Air (BOA Editions 2011). His work has appeared recently in Conjunctions, The Fairy Tale Review and Third Coast. He is the associate editor of Hotel Amerika, a literary magazine at Columbia College Chicago where he also teaches literature and creative writing. Sandi Wisenberg is the author of The Sweetheart Is In, stories; Holocaust Girls, essays; and The Adventures of Cancer Bitch. In Chicago, she directs the MA/MFA in Creative Writing Program at Northwestern University. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Arts Council and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Basically, this reading is going to be fantastic. Come join us! I’d love to see you there.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye


Lighthouse Writers

June 29, 2013 9:11 am | Tags: , | No Comments

Last weekend, I was in Denver for a few days to work at the Lighthouse Writers’ annual LitFest. For two weeks, Lighthouse brought a flock of writers—including Andre Dubus III, Robin Black, Thomas Lux, Steven Schwartz, and many others—for a fortnight of workshops, seminars, readings, and general literary goodness. Andrea Dupree, Lighthouse director, graciously offered me the opportunity to come to the Mile High City in late June. This was a nice fit for my schedule; fall and spring are always a little packed when you have a full-time gig.

Denver was first suggested to me by the writer Amanda Rea. I met Amanda last fall at the time I was planning a year of promotion for Strategies. She raved about Lighthouse, said they were terrific, that it would be a good place to teach or do a reading, and I said, all right, I’m on it. (more…)

Publicity and Promotion

June 2, 2013 5:01 pm | Tags: , | No Comments

Chuck Sambuchino, who runs the Guide to Literary Agents blog over at Writer’s Digest, asked me to contribute to his ever-growing network of writers discussing the ins and outs of publishing. I said, absolutely! He didn’t put any restrictions on what I should write about, so I ran a few things by him, and we agreed that this post that just went up Friday would be a good one.

So here’s my post 5 Easy Ways to Publicize and Promote Your Book. All of these are things that I did that, I think, worked out well for Strategies Against Extinction. Check it out!

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye

National Short Story Month

May 15, 2013 3:06 pm | Tags: , | No Comments

This month over at The Missouri Review, my staff and I—and a few outsider writers and bloggers that we’ve said “Yo” to—are writing a daily blog post about a single short story. These posts aren’t long, usually less than one thousand words, and are a nice opportunity to rave about a short story that is deeply loved. Already this month, we’ve received contributions from writers like Ron MacLean, Dionne Irving, Bess Winter, Michelle Zuppa, and Jessica Vozel, with many others forthcoming this month, along with editors and interns of The Missouri Review.

I’ve chipped in three blog posts about writers whose work I don’t think gets enough attention. (more…)

Interview on KDHX

April 30, 2013 7:52 pm | Tags: | No Comments

Pretty simple and straightforward post: a radio interview! I sat down with my friend Jason Braun’s radio show, Literature for the Halibut, which aired on St. Louis’s KDHX, the independent radio station of all things good that’s based in my old neighborhood. You can hear the entire interview in the archives by going here and clicking on the April 29th show. We talk about Strategies Against Extinction, my work with Missouri Review and River Styx, and other tidbits about publishing, editing, and writing.

Give it a listen!

Vouching for Indy

March 21, 2013 8:00 am | Tags: , , | No Comments

This Saturday, March 23rd, I’ll be reading from Strategies Against Extinction at Indy Reads Books. It’s a long Midwestern weekend for me. On Friday, I’m visiting my friend Ryan Stone’s class at Danville Community College in Illinois to talk short fiction and maybe get in a good knock-knock joke or two. Sadly, this is not open to the public.

But Saturday night is open to the public! You should attend! The Facebook event is here. And if you don’t feel like clicking the link, Indy Reads Books is located at 911 Massachusetts Ave in Indianapolis and our event is from 7 to 9 pm. We’ll read a bit, answer some questions, and then play foosball with all attendees. Or something.

The reading Saturday night is hosted by Vouched Books, who were super wonderful in Atlanta and will be equally terrific in Indianapolis. I’m reading with my friend Andrew Scott, the author of Naked Summer, editor at Engine Books, and though he’s a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, we still get along.

Come join us! I’d love to see you there.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye