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I think I need to start some features on this blog, so maybe every Friday I’ll start putting up some stories I read during the week that stuck with me for whatever reason. The first story is written by an M.F.A student at the University of Virginia who is at work on a book of stories and his first novel. The second is written by a established author, memoirist, and literary critic. The third is written by a high school teacher and father. Maybe I’ll put one of my stories up here if I can ever get one where I want it. Anyway, enjoy what I posted and give me some suggestions of what to read next week in the comments!

Shirley Temple Three” by Thomas Pierce (via The New Yorker): This is a great story about a lonely mother (Maw Maw) and her estranged son who brings home an odd pet for Maw Maw to look after for a while. The pet is less than used to being kept under captivity and starts having a severe adverse reaction to being kept indoors. Maw Maw becomes attached to the pet but, but the powers that be (several of them) aren’t happy that Maw Maw’s houseguest is still around.  Great story, pretty quick read too (<20 mins).

Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff (via P.O.V.): An oldie but a goodie. This short story takes a sequence that’s common in action movies—a bank robbery—and slows it down to a crawl. Anders, a middle-aged book critic, can’t help but criticize everyone he meets in the bank one afternoon, including a group of robbers. One robber doesn’t take kindly to criticism and shoots Anders in the head after being taunted about his use of clichés and platitudes. We’re then treated to a beautifully detailed description of what does and doesn’t flash before Anders’s eyes before his death. A must read if you havent already. Even if you have, read it again. It’s short I promise (<10 mins).

Family Reunion” by Sheldon Woodbury (via Popcorn Fiction): A faith healer/itinerant preacher/failed actor/con man performs a service in a small town auditorium and has a run in with some less than satisfied customers. This story is a quick little read (around 10 mins) and simple enough. If you’ve never heard of Popcorn Fiction it’s a site of short stories written mostly by screenwriters and directors and edited by Derek Haas (writer of Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma, 2 Fast 2 Furious and this year’s new series on NBC Chicago Fire). The stories are quick, dirty, pulpy affairs. The site is an homage to the magazines that published those type of stories in decades past, most of which have long since gone under. There’s new stories every week, some better than others.

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. Have a good weekend!

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