Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What is Steven Church reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Steven Church, author of The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst.

His entry begins:
It’s probably easiest for me to talk about what I’m reading in terms of what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m actively reading, and what I’m looking forward to reading.

1. I recently read Eula Biss’s book Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays, an ambitious, smart and sublime collection of essays on race and ethnicity that recently won the National Book Critic’s Circle award for criticism. Her style, like Joan Didion’s, is somewhat oblique and emotionally reserved, but rarely in a way that’s alienating or inappropriate. What drives these pieces is language, voice, and a kind of boiling moral tension that is hard to pinpoint. Her essay, “Time and Distance Overcome,” which I first read in Harper’s as “The War on Telephone Poles,” is a wrenchingly beautiful piece of writing that you feel in your body like a wave crashing over and pulling you under.

Ashley Butler’s slim but psychologically dense and haunting collection of essays, meditations and fragments, Dear Sound of Footsteps, was a book I picked up because it came out from Sarabande, a press I’ve admired for some time, mostly because I’m completely enraptured by one of their other books, On Looking, by Lia Purpura, a collection of essays on the ethics and aesthetics of looking that I come back to again and again, re-reading it at least once a year and falling in love with it not just as...[read on]
Among the praise for The Day After The Day After:
"Steven Church’s The Day After ‘The Day After’ is an astonishing tour-de-force of story, vignette, and searing family drama that strikes at the heart of post-Cold War America. Brilliant, heartfelt, and surprising at every turn, Church’s voice remains sane and insightful even as it reveals an apocalyptic world of people whose lives are shadowed by the threat of nuclear disaster, both real and imagined."
—Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats and Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth

"The Day After The Day After is filled with catastrophes large and small, epic and personal, imagined and real. It is a bittersweet look back at a time in our nation’s history when the fear of annihilation, of crimson mushroom clouds and nuclear winters, saturated our lives and altered the consciousness of our generation. It is Steven Church’s wisdom and grace, his heartfelt and sincere storytelling, which saves us from destruction, allowing us to see another day through with gratitude and humility."
—Alex Espinoza, author of Still Water Saints
Steven Church is also the author of Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents and The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record. His essays and stories have been published widely and he has new work forthcoming in Brevity and Fourth Genre. He’s a founding editor of the literary magazine, The Normal School and he teaches in the MFA Program at Fresno State.

Visit Steven Church's blog.

Writers Read: Steven Church.

--Marshal Zeringue