Regular Reader

Excerpts from our novels, biographies, memoirs, novellas and collections of essays and short stories.





It’s the punk rocker blurred with the lyric essay’s classical composer, the bareknuckle fist-fighter mixed with the ballroom dancer.



The first time we had sex, my lover whispered, “I have never made love in English before.”



Preparing food is one of the most intimate things one can do for someone else.



Where's the baby?

I called out in the dark. Half asleep, I sat up in bed. Where’s the baby? I asked again.



What if a hundred words is all you’ve got— to do everything?



You sound like an actor playing the role of an aging rock star.



The morning of the shooting is the last day she’ll go out for a while.



You should know, precocious journal,

that I’ve decided to move my life in a more positive direction in general.



My life in speech contests began in April of 1952,

when Mother registered me for the Optimist International oratory competition



Imagine a completely different version of one of jazz’s most revered compositions


"Princess," the commemorative Princess Diana Beanie Baby bear,

first edition, royal violet with lace around her throat, a white rose over her heart, currently lists on eBay in upwards of three-hundred fifty-thousand dollars.


In honeyed Beach Boys past and neon Blade Runner future,

the dream of this state promises novel predictability, a quotidian nouveau.


Trees are a gate to the larger world beyond us.

They are the opposite of a cell phone. They defy self-absorption.




Vee just wants to know where to put the present.

She’s gripping it, two-handedly, thumbs flicking the curled-up corners of tape. She’s holding it at a distance like a bomb, or maybe just something smelly.


A conservative Republican who admired Barry Goldwater

his father forbade his children from cursing or calling each other by nicknames.


He could be making better money doing customer service again.

But he needs this: the two of them, literally whirling through the world, city to city, thigh to thigh, heart to heart.


Back before she got really sick, Aunt Beth said she was going to haunt me someday.

Later, after her face turned moony, her movements slow, and her words edged like the little serrations on a butter knife, seeming harmless at first but able to cut deep, it scared me to visit her.


Sheri pushes her lips into a pout,

reveling in the feel of the satiny layers of Miami Samba coating her lips. She says it aloud, Miami Samba, loving the smooth, waxy taste.


The Truth was brought to them by his great-grandfather returning from Argentina.


She’s in a smoky log cabin trying to breathe.

Smoke stings her eyes into slits and pinches her throat closed. She is pressed everywhere by people and dogs and smoke and the smell of urine and sweat.


The day had come to die proper.

You mightn’t think life had nothing more to offer a 35-year-old Joe Harper, but then again you mightn’t have abandoned all your kin and returned home ten years on to find a St. Petersburg full of strangers. . .


I see a universe animated by appetite.

All history the story of hunger. For sustenance, shelter, and sex. The hunger for power and love. For fame and gold and vengeance. For a capital G God, or at least some lowercase substitutes.


The morning after the quake (magnitude 6.0), my first since moving to California,

I call my mother, happy to break a cycle of redundant conversations about DMV, home owner’s insurance, and what percentage moved in we are.



We open already in pursuit of something ineffable:

the outline of a man Jimmy Stewart is chasing. We briefly see this man’s face in soft focus and shadowed, but, because we are not ready for it (how could we be? we have no context; we could ask “Will this be a main character?” but our next question would then be “In what?”) and because we never see it again, it might as well never have been shown.


I’m sitting by the back bar in the show room at the House of Blues.

This is the Sunset Strip House of Blues and if you know the joint you know what a feat it is to be sitting, because there are only a few quasi-chairs.


There is no great sense of loss for those with limited expectations.

Vague ache there may have been to contemplate the life of other boys who were also sons.


I can know Bradley’s arrival in Chicago without having seen it.

The air is gray, interacting with gray concrete, the grayness of pigeons, and is potent, for him, with far more than rain.



These people who think they are something, they are really not.

They come and go wrapped like gypsies at a carnival, sounding like artists, smelling of mildew. I can’t take them anymore.



Our only home was in Minas do Leão.

The house was a salmon colored, two-story cube, with windows on all four sides, which made us feel as though we knew all there was to know about our town and its people. My mother’s favorite was the kitchen window, framing the meadow, the mine and beyond.



Esther Savaris was halfway through her senior year of high school,

a pretty girl, seventeen years old and still growing.



The dog, the dog, the dog—the dog had taken over her life.

But this was not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps she had needed to have her life taken over.



SUN MONTH KIEV 934 CE

From the steps of the Big House where the two girls sat, it was possible to see past the market commotion through the open city gates to the brown trail that sloped towards the blue water, where the ships had docked.



"My wife has gone to Marrakesh with her little French girlfriend,

my car has broken down, and the villa we’ve taken for the summer is right up this hill.” Tyler repeats what he plans to say if he runs into someone.



“Do I look all right?”

asks Westerly Windina for what must be the fifth time in the last hour. Hunched forward in seat 39F of Thai Airways flight 474, she looks vulnerable, shrunken.



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