?, "Good Sport"

At his new job giving away coffee at the beach, Allan meets a girl who says she has a stone heart. Like a heart made of stone.

(from The Secret Society of the Demolition Writers)

This story has so many interesting elements, from its insight into the world of coffee promotion to its version of the archetypal Weird Girl, that it’s easy to overlook its uneven tone and too-quirky smugness. Well, it’s smug about how cute it is, cute about how surreal it is, surreal because that way you don’t need things to make sense or come to a conclusion.
Truth is: Those flaws, if that’s what they are, don’t occur to you as you read the story. Best to keep things above the surface of the pool where everything is fun and can be taken at face value. That’s where this story is cool and charming and capable of moving you.

Tonight I went to a reading at Molly’s in the Italian Market, mere blocks from I Read A Short Story Today headquarters. Eli Horowitz said funny things and waved the new copy of The Believer Music Issue in front of us but wouldn’t sell it to us, then passed the mic to to Kevin Moffet and Salvador Placencia who read from their latest books. I enjoyed both. I didn’t purchase their books because they were books, as opposed to collections of short stories. I did buy McSweeney’s issue 16, which features stories by the above Moffet, Miranda Mellis and more, a novella by Ann Beattie and a deck of 13 cards with parts of a story on them that can be shuffled to create a new reading experience each time. And a comb. I also bought The Unforbidden is Compulsory Or. Optimism by Dave Eggers. It’s a novella. Maybe I’ll read that one day. Let’s say the jury is still out on novellas. Optimism.

The Extra Glenns, “Malevolent Seascape Y”

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