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Awfully Good Things I Found 
on the Internet in 2014”
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1. Sea of Crises, by Brian Phillips »
There’s no simple or accurate way to describe this piece about sumo wrestling, a Japanese novelist who attempted to overthrow his government but wound up committing seppuku, illness, memory, and history. It’s gorgeously intricate and so very not one thing. You just have to carve aside some time and experience it for yourself.

2-a. Emma Healey, American Loneliness »
Emma Healey comes at most everything from an oblique angle that makes anything she examines seem fresh. Like, how in the hell did she get me to care about Catfish? I don’t know, but she did. She convinced me. 

2-b. Emma Healey, Stories Like Passwords »
On the other hand, “Stories Like Passwords” is not oblique or off-kilter, it’s just astonishingly brave. With this piece, which came out just before the Jian Ghomeshi news hit, she started a conversation. It’s a very straightforward piece and, depressingly, far from unique; its importance is drawn both from her decision to tell her story and from the fact that the story told is so common.

3. Do You Know About Jian? by Melissa Martin »
This piece, while specifically about Ghomeshi, is a really fascinating (and heartbreaking) look at the way backchannels work in the face of public silence.

4. The Spurs and The Process, Ian Levy »
A beautiful meditation on basketball-as-tao, with passages such as: “What the Spurs give me, as a fan, is a metaphorical template for how I’d like to live my life. My endless cycles of failed self-improvement are efforts made parallel to the mindset and philosophy of the Spurs. My life processes are herky-jerky, full of stops and starts—a Jamaal Tinsley dribble-drive, if that’s not too self-lacerating. They are reactionary, often arbitrary and subject to rapid change and abandonment when complication intervenes.”

5. The Lights Are On, But No One Lets Us In, by Jim Shepard »
The great Jim Shepard on the great Junot Diaz, discussing class in one of Diaz’ stories. It’s an example of Shepard applying his scary-good understanding of how short fiction functions to the work of a contemporary master.

6. Longing, by Zoe Whittall for Walrus Talks »
“A writer is one who takes up longing as a profession”

7. The Help Desk: Bank Robbin’ in Brooklyn, by Kristin Dombek »
“Everything is upside down. Your life is sold to serve an economy that does not serve your life. So should you turn to crime, if you haven’t already?”

8. The Place Makes Everyone a Gambler, by Alice Bolin »
A lengthy and gutting essay on Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays, and Los Angeles as both a psychic and physical location.

9. Jane Urquhart on Alistair MacLeod »
The Post repurposed Urquhart’s afterword to MacLeod’s As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories as a sort of obituary upon his death in April. The effect was not unstirring: “This is what we want from our best authors: not merely that they care and try but that they care too much and try too hard, that the intensification of feeling and of meaning manifests itself in their hearts and in their work.”

10. Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant? by Wells Tower »
Wells Tower’s short stories predisposed me to loving anything else he might ever write, and like his stories this lengthy travelogue of an elephant hunt in Botswana is full of awkward emotion, moral contradiction, humour, sadness, and compassion for those who seem most unlike us. Beautiful.

Here’s the thing we’re excited about: Andrew Forbes’ debut collection, WHAT YOU NEED, is coming out next spring 
from Invisible Publishing. Now here’s the thing you should be excited about: Andrew Forbes’ debut collection, WHAT YOU NEED, 
is coming out next spring from Invisible Publishing. See what we did there? You’re welcome.
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