I am reading like it’s my job.

Just finished The Living End, a short afterlife comedy by Stanley Elkin, one of those novels that changes the rules every time you get comfortable. In my favorite section, one of the semi-protagonists named Ladlehaus is sent from Hell back into his grave and yells for help. A groundskeeper named Chance hears him and instead of digging up Ladlehaus (which could affect Chance’s high blood pressure), Chance fools Ladlehaus into believing a civil war has erupted between the Twin Cities. Bonus: Here’s Sam Lipsyte talking about the book on NPR.

Really enjoying reading Meet Me in California by Cooley Windsor, a story collection TriQuarterly Books put out last year.

How about this Kyle Minor story? Violent polygamists cults are inherently interesting, and the subject works perfectly with the sharp spare writing and victimized narrator. I found the story on the Million Writers Notables 08 list. Makes me want to read his collection.

NOÖ Ten is out! Ari Feld, Kim Chinquee.

The Collagist is out! Chris Bachelder, Gordon Lish, David McLendon.

I got my contributor’s copy of Madison Review last week. Happy to see my story nestled up next to some tasty others, such as Vanessa Blakeslee’s “Ask Jesus,” W. Andrew Ewell’s “The Boy Who Killed Math,” and  a great Marilynne Robinson interview. It’s a solid issue with a nicer layout than I was expecting. If their website was as nice as their magazine, I bet they’d get even more attention. Big thanks to Miles Johnson and Elzbieta Beck for putting the issue together, and for accepting my rambling story of barista competition.

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