300 short stories:: story 146

story: The Weather in San Francisco 

author: Richard Brautigan

year: 1969 (maybe?)

where: bed

note: Richard didn’t like to drive either.

a line: “Bees on an ancient radio that once listened to the 1930s.”

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300 short stories:: story 145

story: The Wind Cave

author: Haruki Murakami

year: 2018

where: bus ride to Hankook

note: referred to me by my favorite New Yorker

a line: “When I was thirteen and my little sister was ten, the two of us travelled by ourselves to Yamanashi Prefecture during summer vacation.”

300 short stories:: story 144

story: Hand on the Shoulder

author: Ian McEwan

year: 2012

where: office, NYU

note: Interesting to stumble upon this just after finishing Warlight 

a line: “Then came the scene, in Suffolk or in London, and her ultimatum: get rid of the girl or march. Tony had made the obvious decision. But here’s the point. He had made another choice, too. He had chosen to cast himself as the victim, the wronged, the deceived, the rightly furious.”

300 short stories:: story 143

story: Why Were They Throwing Bricks? 

author: Jenny Zhang

year: 2017

where: the gold sofa

note: I bought this book on a whim after stumbling upon the author reading at Shakespeare and Company in Paris this July.

a line: “I was old enough to understand how one of trauma’s many possible effects was to make the traumatized person insufferable, how my grandmother’s unwillingness to be a victim was both pathetic and impressive and made her deserving of at least some compassion, but fuck, why did she have to be so greedy for it?”

300 short stories:: story 142

story: How to Talk to Girls at Parties 

author: Neil Gaiman

year: 2007

where: kitchen table in front of half-finished buildings and an artificial billabong (again)

note: Inspired to read this after reading Billy Stevenson’s review of the film version

a line: “She began to whisper something in my ear. It’s the strangest thing about poetry — you can tell it’s poetry, even if you don’t speak the language. You can hear Homer’s Greek without understanding a word, and you still know it’s poetry. I’ve heard Polish poetry, and Inuit poetry, and I knew what it was without knowing. Her whisper was like that. I didn’t know the language, but her words washed through me, perfect, and in my mind’s eye I saw towers of glass and diamond; and people with eyes of the palest green; and, unstoppable, beneath every syllable, I could feel the relentless advance of the ocean.”

300 short stories:: story 141

story: How Can I help? 

author: Rivka Galchen

year: 2016

where: kitchen table in front of half-finished buildings and an artificial billabong

note: In an unrelated New York Times article, the journalist writes on Galchen, “A while back, the writer Rivka Galchen, visiting a writing seminar of mine, was asked by a student why she made the main character of her novel ‘Atmospheric Disturbances’ a man. She replied that if her emotionally remote and highly cerebral narrator were a woman, that narrator would be called unlikable at best, unbelievable at worst. ”

a line: “Maybe if I could actually be nice to my sister, in my heart, I wouldn’t have to be so nice to her in the pastures and parking lots of our real world.”

300 short stories:: story 140

story: Interest

author: Naomi Shihab Nye

year: 2011

where: home finally, Abu Dhabi

note: of course, there is always a curiosity to a magnificent poet’s prose, hmmm!

a line: “His affection for unusual information fascinated her. For example, he loved peculiar place names–Bug Tussle on an ancient sign, or Derryfubble Road in Ireland–and he wore T-shirts from Berlin advertising cultural events they had not attended.”