Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Things I’ve been reading!

Parker Stockman

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and here are a few of the books that I’ve read or am in the process of reading.

1) Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Karen Russell)

With a collection of short stories, Russell is a master of her game. Each story is poignant and has elements of magical realism or bizarreness that scream of Russell’s personal style and voice. These are stories to be savored, to be read one at a time and then carefully ruminated. At times funny and mostly haunting, she’ll stay with you.

2) Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles (Ron Currie, Jr.)

This book is experimental. Is it a novel? Is it a memoir? Is it both? Currie uses himself as a character and references his first two books (but you don’t need to have read them for this to make sense), using the page to signify new short scenes. A paragraph up to a few pages move the story along in small instances that can be devoured quickly. The role of the author and of one’s place in the here and now, as well as the encroaching fear of the Singularity, comprise this novel, which is also about love, fathers and sons, and the one that got away. It’s uniquely different than most fiction out there.

3) Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)

A YA novel about a young man that receives audio cassettes after a classmate has killed herself, this novel has a great structure… but, to me, that’s about it. I felt the main character was flat, I felt the girl that killed herself was never desperate enough, and, when given the opportunity to make the main character completely flawed and well-rounded, he instead comes across as a total saint. I’d maybe pick it up for the idea and structure, but not for the plot or character development.

4) The Future of Us (Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler)

If I scared you away from Asher in the last book, give this one a shot. Alternating narrators in 1996 discover their Facebook pages from 2011 and realize that their futures might not be exactly what they want. It’s nostalgic and represents 1996 perfectly, and the characters were realistic and funny. Solid work.

5) How To Breathe Underwater (Julie Orringer)

This is a short story collection that Joe Meno assigned in class, and this is how good it is: I wasn’t finished with a story when I got off the train, so I finished it as I walked the 7 blocks from the train to my house. It’s that good. The characters are young and fragile and learning about what it means to be human (in an emotional way—it’s not sci-fi). Highly recommended.

6) Looking for Alaska (John Green)

I just started this. It is pulling me away from schoolwork because, like most John Green books, it is addictive and well-written and births memorable characters. I’m only a quarter of the way through, but I love it so far.

And, there you have it, MarginAliens. What are you reading? Add to my margins!

Things I’ve been reading!

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and here are a few of the books that I’ve read or am in the process of reading. 1) Vampires in the Lemon Grove …

Creative Writing - Fiction MFA Parker Stockman,
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