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 Recommended Reading
International Directory of Little Magazines & Small Presses, edited by Len Fulton This essential reference for writers, librarians, students of modern literature, and readers worldwide is a publishing legend. It includes information on over 5,000 presses and journals from around the world, listing addresses, manuscript requirements, payment rates, and recent publications. Subject and regional indexes are also provided.
American Short Story Masterpieces, edited by Tom Jenks and Raymond Carver First published in 1987, this outstanding anthology has been continuously in print, selling hundreds of thousands of copies, and is a standard text in colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Charles Bukowski has become a cult favorite among American readers. Notes of a Dirty old Man is a great place to start if you are interested in the Bukowskian world of skid row drunks, whores, gamblers, criminals, and freaks. Bukowski writes like Hemingway, but with no pretentions of romance. Read him if you want to expose yourself to the best American realist author, one of the most powerful, and oddly enough, one of the funniest.
Khristian E. Kay is fast becoming an underground favorite with his social commentary on contemporary Americana. Highway Tourette's by Proxy reads like a wink and a nod tale of America's bluest highways but explodes in your head as visual metaphor of social mores. Kay not only points out societal flwas but picks at them lifting and tearing off the scabs to force us to view the poison which oozes from with us.
CJ Hribal slides the emotional fabric of America under a literary microscope to reveal the lies, betrayals and yearnings that connect and divide us all, giving his stories extraordinary power. He establishes an American landscape in the tradition of Cheever and Updike, though his is a world not of cocktail parties but of trailer parks, bars and courtrooms.
Tom Jenks's essay "Where Are the Men?" appeared in the November 2001 issue of the San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal. The writers discussed in the essay include Alice Munro, Richard Ford, Mary Gaitskill, Edmund White, and many others. The issue may be obtained by calling 415-771-8055. Tom Jenks's article "Personality and the Writer" appeared in the February 2001 issue; the text is available here.
James Baldwin’s book-length essay The Fire Next Time, which appeared ten years after his famous short story "Sonny's Blues" (1951), demonstrated the author's intelligent, heartfelt will to counter the rage and hatred created by racial inequality in America. The Fire Next Time reveals the thinking and autobiography that Baldwin brought to bear in writing "Sonny's Blues" and makes a good study of how he transformed life into art.
Henry James's novella The Aspern Papers concerns a publisher eager to obtain the correspondence that a famous romantic poet wrote long ago to his lover, who survived him and is now an old woman living in Venice.  The publisher stoops to deception and nearly to theft in his lust for the old woman's papers, and the contest between the two characters gives James ample material for psychological drama and a rich satire on the acquistiveness of publishers.  The story was inspired by Clare Claremont, one of Byron's lovers, and the world's inevitable pursuit of him through her, as the years passed after his death.
Alice Munro's latest collection, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, features her newer stories from The New Yorker. Munro was lately celebrated by Lorrie Moore, David Remnick and others in an evening-long event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
A Poetics of Fiction: Six Chapters on the Art of Imaginative Prose a new book by Tom Jenks. Based on more than twenty years of writing, teaching, and editing the work of America's best-known writers. The six chapters provide a detailed study of the formal elements of imaginative writing: Diction, Point of View, Characterization, Patterns of Imagery, Plot, and Theme. The book offers extensive practical knowledge not generally available in other books on writing or in workshops and demonstrates how to read accomplished works of fiction and creative nonfiction in order to acquire understanding and skills to apply in your own work. See samples from the book.
Carol Edgarian's provocative essay "The Soul of San Francisco", "city of gold dust and wireless dreamers, of causes and capitalists — a city finally of immigrants," appeared in the February 2003 issue of Travel & Leisure. The essay celebrates the city's micro-environments, fractious diversities, hedonism, and perennial talent for remaking itself without losing its charm.
The Writer's Life: Intimate Thoughts on Work, Love, Inspiration, and Fame from the Diaries of the World's Great Writers, edited by Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks. An invaluable resource for any writer -- or for anyone seeking expert instruction in the art of living. Available from Amazon or by calling 1-800-223-6834 or from your bookstore.
Irwin Shaw's 1969 novel Rich Man, Poor Man sold six million copies and was made into a popular television miniseries starring Nick Nolte and Peter Straus, as two brothers bitterly set against each other yet inextricably drawn back to each other. The novel is a page-turner, a quintessential American tale of self-made fortunes and tragedy. For the ready diversion and the lessons on craft it offers, Rich Man, Poor Man is well worth taking the trouble to find via Alibris or a rare book dealer.
James Welch drew on his Native American heritage to write poems, stories, and novels, including the masterly Fools Crow, which one reviewer noted "may be the closest we will ever come in literature to an understanding of what life was like for a western Indian." The novel details a crucial year in the life of a Blackfoot tribe in the Montana territory, shortly after the end of the Civil War and during the sudden increase of the white man’s encroachment on tribal lands. The story is remarkable for Welch’s even-handedness and ability to put any reader directly inside the experience of his Indian characters as well as for the novel’s portrayal of the stunning swiftness of the alteration in the Indians’ lives. What comes home finally in Welch’s telling is the universality of the spirit life of the tribes, the dignity of that life, and the loss and sorrow visited on it in the irresistible momentum of history.

  > Other highly recommended books

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