Bedtime Stories: June 2018

  • June 22, 2018

What do book lovers have queued up on their nightstands and ready to read before lights-out? We asked one of them, and here’s what he said.

Bedtime Stories: June 2018

Matthew Klam:

I read one book at a time, but I also tend to tear through books I might not finish, or finish two years later. I've published fiction and nonfiction — short stories, a novel, essays, longform journalism — and in a few weeks, an episode I co-wrote for television will air.

At the moment, I'm futzing around with a screenplay, so I’m reading plays: “The Flick” by Annie Baker, which won the Pulitzer in 2014 and is just beautiful, in very plain language, with wonderful, deep themes that are easily relatable; “Gloria” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, about a mass shooting at an NYC magazine office; and “Fleabag” by Phoebe Waller Bridge, a monologue on which her TV show was based.

I’m also reading screenplays: “Juno,” “Wonder Boys,” and “American Beauty,” and the pilot of “Breaking Bad,” and the novels and adapted scripts of Big Little Lies and The Descendants (the one made into a film starring George Clooney).

I love these two collections of short stories: The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff, which is hilarious, and The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead by Chanelle Benz, who is a master of voices.

When Philip Roth died, I picked up Goodbye, Columbus, the novella, and am rereading that for the millionth time. I'm reading a novel called Class Trip by Emmanuel Carrère, and two crime novels: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott and Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran. Abbott wrote her Ph.D. on noir film and really knows the genre, and Gran is unclassifiable and sometimes amazing.

I'm also excitedly tearing through a book of criticism called You Play the Girl, on art and feminism, by Carina Chocano, which is perfect for #MeToo. Olena Kalytiak Davis’ book of poems, Shattered Sonnets, is racy, funny, and heartbreaking. I'm also flipping through The Black Banners, a hilarious insider memoir from a former CIA agent who describes international spies as a bunch of clowns. And I just finished the most beautifully drawn and painted graphic novel, The Winner by Karl Stevens.

Matthew Klam, author of Sam the Cat and Other Stories, was once named one of the 20 best fiction writers in America under 40 by the New Yorker. He’s a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Robert Bingham/PEN Award, and a Whiting Writer’s Award. His recent novel is Who Is Rich?

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