300 short stories:: story 125

story: Now More Than Ever 

author: Zadie Smith

year: 2018

where: Bologna, airport…delay delay delay

note: this story mentions poké bowls, which I belatedly realized this June is a now a big deal in NYC…elsewhere too?  Also, I now know the plot of “A Place in the Sun”.

a line: “I said, In our philosophy department at the university, we feel that, just as there are degrees of sin or error, there are degrees of sympathy. It’s not a zero-sum game, or it used not to be, in the past. Well, there’s your problem, Scout said. You’re two-faced, you’re looking the wrong way, and if you don’t watch out you’re going to find yourself beyond the pale.”


300 short stories:: story 124

story: Ghosts and Empties 

author: Lauren Groff

year: 2018

where: Paris, 11th arrondissement

note: Wow, Groff has written a story about women walking, and joined the ranks of this great tradition of literature. Groff has some stories I really like–“At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners”–and others I could leave; this is one to take, though all her work feels so autobiographical these days, which is harmless, perhaps.

a line: “It’s too much, it’s too much, I shout at my husband some nights when I come home, and he looks at me, afraid, this giant gentle man, and sits up in bed over his computer and says, softly, I don’t think you’ve walked it off yet, sweets, you may want to take one more loop.”

& an extra line:

“I smell the jasmine potent in my hair the next morning, the way I used to smell cigarette smoke and sweat after going to a night club, back when I was young and could do such unthinkable things.”

300 short stories:: story 121

story: Young Titans
author: Nescio
year: 1915
where: Amsterdam
note: reminds me of Kerouac
a line: “It was a strange time. And when I think about it, I realize that that time must still be happening now, it will last as long as there are young men of nineteen or twenty running around. It’s only for us that the time is long since past.”

300 short stories:: story 120

story: The Luck of Kokura
author: Gary Shteyngart
year:  2018
where: a diner in Manhattan 
note: Well-developed main character, and some comparisons of Atlanta and NYC that ring true. The secondary character felt a bit too slick. Some of the political lines reminded me of the planted political lines in the Will and Grace reboot. 
a line: “’You got to try the Philly-cheese-steak pizza,’ she said, ‘I could eat it every night.’”

300 short stories:: story 119

story: Orange World
author: Karen Russell 
year:  2018
where: Q train 
note: I admit, I was confused by this a few times, even frustrated, but read it quickly without pause, enjoying the confusion, or at least, not letting the confusion bleed into annoyance. Rosemary’s Baby comes to mind. It ends strong.   :
a line: “Joy threatens to take the roof off the house.”