Monday, February 23, 2009

Winter Reading

I don't know about the rest of you, but outside my window, it's cold, rainy, moss-covered, and Bleak House bleak. In other words, it's Oregon in February -- enough to make you crave sunburns, pray for sand in your bathing suit, and even brave possible pirate attacks. Well, maybe not pirates, but you get the picture. Winter's beginning to wear on me. And this from a person who used to celebrate -28 degree weather in Montana, so you know I'm not kidding around.

How to endure? Read good fiction, for starters. Better yet, read it in struggling literary journals. You think the newly downsized New York Times has it rough? Imagine being a tiny lit mag produced by a staff of volunteer students. Now that's tough. They can only endure if you subscribe and keep reading. They're cheap, they're chockablock full of great literary fiction, and they'll get you through to May, I promise. Here are a few I highly recommend -- and not just because they've been gracious enough to publish my work.

1) Bat City Review. Straight out of The University of Texas at Austin, this journal is known for its excellent roster of poets and fiction writers, including Dean Young and Steve Almond, just to name a few. You can find my story, "Inheritance," in Issue 4 (2008).
Here's their website:

2) The G.W. Review is George Washington University's literary magazine. It boasts an international list of contributors. My story, "Softy," appears in Vol. XXIX (Fall 2007), along with powerful work from Polish and German writers, among others. Jean Valentine and Gloria Naylor have had pieces published in The G.W. Review, along with lots of heavy-hitters who intimidate and awe me.

3) Beeswax Magazine. Last but not least is this gorgeous, handmade magazine produced by Oakland, CA editors John Peck & Laureen Mahler. If you think I'm waxing hyperbolic when I say "gorgeous," you have another thing coming. Issue 5 -- with my story "The Cougar in the Lilac Bush"-- is linen covered with hand-sewn Japanese block binding, people. I don't even know what Japanese block binding is, but it's dang pretty.

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