A fun alternative to the traditional author bio…

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Reading, Writing

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

Fence Magazine has accepted two of my poems for publication in Winter 2024. They eschew those (often boring, too often bragging) boilerplate author bios in favor of something entirely different and fun. Each author accepted for publication must submit a statement about what you have been reading recently and maybe a bit about why.

Here is what I submitted:

I read widely, constantly, and eclectically; I have never been a candidate for those clubs where you are assigned a monthly book to read then chatter about. I am lucky to live six blocks from an outpost of Portland, Oregon’s Multnomah County Library where I can pick up titles I have on hold when my number finally comes up. That is how I was able to get my hands on a terrific new history by Manisha Sinha—The Rise and Fall of the Second American Republic: Reconstruction 1860-1920. Sinha not only expands our historical understanding of that much maligned era but offers original insights and perspectives that helped me to better contextualize our current political moment/nightmare. On a recent road/ferry trip to and from Whidbey Island, Washington, I ran out of reading material. Luckily, I found a copy of Marilynne Robinson’s 1980 jewel of a novel, Housekeeping, in a Little Free Library. It was just as good this fourth or fifth time around. Last week, I could not put down James, the newest novel from Percival Everett. A brilliant re-envisioning of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn from the enslaved Jim’s point-of-view, it is horrific and hilarious, brutal and beautiful. Finally, I have forever been in awe of the short stories of the late Alice Munro. Last spring, I reread her entire oeuvre. What a trove of wisdom. What a testimony to the moral complexity and failings of this human life—our foibles and our triumphs. RIP, Ms. Munro, you were the GOAT.

The public domain photograph above shows the stacks in the general reading room at the Carpenter Memorial Library. Manchester, New Hampshire and was taken in 1916.

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