Critical Mass

Jessa Crispin’s What to Read this Fall

By Jessa Crispin

1. The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
LCRW is one of my favorite literary magazines, featuring authors like Jeffrey Ford and Nalo Hopkinson and strange and lovely stories you won't see being published in the Paris Review or VQR. (And why not, I might ask you.) The fact that one of the editors is one of the best living short story writers doesn't hurt.

2. Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination by Michael Sims
On one page you might find an explanation on the rising and falling of ozone levels in our air, on another the history of the myth of Apollo. Sims gives a tour of a full day, from dawn to night, with science, mythology, and men like Galileo and Edgar Allan Poe.

3. All Things Are Labor: Stories by Katherine Arnoldi
I had been wondering what happened to Arnoldi. I read her graphic memoir “The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom” when it came out and loved it. She finally follows it up with a collection of prose stories, and it is just as good.

4. Mercy by Lara Santoro
Santoro has been covering the AIDS pandemic, wars, genocide, famines… Now she's out with a novel about a hard drinking journalist working in Africa. It has some of the obvious Graham Greene echoes, but that's never been a bad thing.

5. Gold by Dan Rhodes
Rhodes is one of my favorite short story writers. I have read “Anthropology” a dozen times, at least. Now he's written a small slip of a novel, but he could write mathematical proofs and I would still read them.