Amy Edelman’s Holiday Gift Suggestion

Amy Edelman‘s first novel, Manless in Montclair, is based on her real-life experiences re-entering the dating scene after the death of her first husband—even the part where the protagonist becomes the subject of a Daily News profile. Originally, she tried writing it as a memoir. “When my publisher initially asked me how the memoir would end, I said I had no idea,” she says on her website. “So she suggested writing it as fiction so I could make it end however I wanted it to… in reality, what ended up happening was even less believable than the fiction.” For this holiday season, she has a straight-up memoir she recommends highly.

Oh, and she’s also got tips for suriving the holidays while single, too.

amy-edelman.jpgIf you know someone who hasn’t already bought and/or read it, The Glass Castle would make a fantastic holiday gift.

By turns inspiring and heart-wrenching, it is a story out of step with our high-def, flat screen tv-in-every-room times. Jeannette Walls, who we first meet at age three, tells of a childhood where food, a roof, and responsible parents are in scarce supply. But, while her family may be poor, she and her siblings grow up in a world rich in imagination, books, art, and possibility.

I read parts of the book to my ten year-old and suggested my thirteen year-old read it as well. At a time when many people—old and young alike—are encouraged to think about what material things they want for the holidays, it’s inspiring to read about someone who got by—and, indeed, flourished—with so little.

6 December 2007 | gift ideas, guest authors |

Quinn Dalton’s Dream Anthology of Short Stories

The last time Quinn Dalton appeared as a guest author here at Beatrice, she talked about the benefits of hiring an independent publicist. This time around, as her new short story collection, Stories from the Afterlife, was coming out, I thought I’d get her to talk about one of her favorite stories. Turns out she has enough to fill an entire book!


You can’t help what you love. So in advance I’d like to make no apologies for the stories I’ve picked for my dream anthology. I claim no exhaustive review or attempts at even-handedness in my choices, if such claims are even worth making. I didn’t consider who wrote these stories—in about half the cases I couldn’t remember who wrote them, or I couldn’t remember the title, or both.

But I did remember a moment, an image, an ache. I closed my eyes and these things came to me and then I wrote down, “That one I think it’s called bird about this crazy pilot” and “the girl whose father is in prison and one of his former cronies gets her out of town and there’s something about a fire.”

Even if I couldn’t remember the story’s title or author, I was pretty sure I could find it, because I’d probably first read it in an anthology like New Stories from the South or O. Henry Prize Stories or Best American Short Stories. In a few cases I’d found favorites in an author’s story collection. In all cases, tripping across a story I loved led me to seek out more of the author’s work.

While I drew from contemporary sources, only four out of the eleven stories I chose were published after 2000. The most recent was originally published in 2004, and the earliest one appeared first in 1989, the year I graduated from high school. I guess I needed at least a couple of years to realize that a story had stayed with me.

So here is my love letter to these eleven stories, which I listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name (though it’s nice to see the list arbitrarily sandwiched by pieces first published more than a decade apart in The Greensboro Review, where I was an assistant editor for a year while working on my MFA). I won’t try to write with any authority about their literary quality or what I think the writer was trying to do or whatever. I’m just going to talk about what they did to me.


6 December 2007 | selling shorts |

« Previous PageNext Page »