McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling
Tales edited by Michael Chabon. Pulitzer
Prize-winning novelist Chabon got tired of the overly
precious, plotless short stories that stuff most literary
mags these days, so he asked some famous authors
to contribute stories with strong, bold narrative action.
The vast majority of these stories, predominantly in
sci-fi or detective veins, are meaty and work very well.
Contributors include Elmore Leonard, Nick Hornby,
Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Michael Crichton, Aimee
Bender, Dave Eggers, Rick Moody, Karen Joy Fowler
and others, so the results were almost guaranteed
before Chabon started.
A Dubose Heyward Reader edited by James
M. Hutchinson. University of Georgia Press has
published a welcome collection of fiction, essays and
poetry by the man who will probably forever be most
remembered for the novel Porgy, the basis of
Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The erudite
Charlestonian fought constant inner battles around
issues of race, privilege and poverty, and what is now
termed high vs. low art, and those inner conflicts are
evident in his sensitive essays on subjects such as
the aesthetics of African American art, and in excerpts
from longer fiction that, like Porgy, shows an
insightful empathy for the poorest black residents of
Charleston during the early 20th century.
After: How America Confronted the September 12
Era by Steven Brill. A wide, panoramic view of the
US in the year after the Septem