Junot Diaz's latest book is This Is How You Lose Her, a collection of short stories, released in September by Riverhead. Yesterday the MacArthur Foundation announced its annual awards, the so-called "genius" grants, one of which went to Diaz. $500,000, no strings attached.
On the day before the grants were announced, the New York Times Magazine ran a short interview with the author, focusing on short fiction. I was intrigued by the collections Diaz cited as influential; I have not read any of them. He mentioned
- Jesus' Son, by Denis Johnson, "a book that should have been like Pulitzer-everything." (Diaz himself won the Pulitzer for his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I did read that one; it is just phenomenal.)
- Family Installments, by Edward Rivera
- Fort Wayne Is Seventh on Hitler's List and other books by Michael Martone
- Sam the Cat, by Matthew Klam
- The Magic of Blood, by Dagoberto Gilb
Aha! Books to look for on the next trip to the library. Walking the dog in the rain this afternoon, I coped with the downpour by coming up with a roster of short story collections I admire. Everyone's lists are so different! Here's mine. What's yours?
- Selected Stories by Alice Munro. Munro's stories somehow contain novels. How does she do it? I have no idea.
- Don't Erase Me, by Carolyn Ferrell
- Birds of America, by Lorrie Moore. Includes the devastating story "People Like That Are the Only People Here."
- In the Miro District and Other Stories, by Peter Taylor
- Various Miracles, by Carol Shields
- The Little Disturbances of Man, by Grace Paley
- Gorilla, My Love, by Toni Cade Bambara
Image borrowed from Powell's Books. Links go to Powell's, also. I do not get any money from the store for linking. I have had good experiences ordering books there.