Books for Gifts

Books make great gifts. They’re easy to buy, a snap to wrap and ship, and there are millions to choose from. But I’ve got some suggestions for you, all from Press 53, the great small press that has published both of my story collections, What the Zhang Boys Know, and In an Uncharted Country, as well as my short fiction anthologies Everywhere Stories, Volumes I and II.

First, some new titles. I Will Shout Your Name by John Matthew Fox looks to be an excellent story collection. We included one of John’s stories in Volume II of Everywhere Stories and I know he’s a terrific writer.  This one will ship in early December.

Then there is Missing Persons by Stephanie Carpenter. I love this cover, but the stories inside are even better. Stephanie won Press 53’s annual contest for a short story collection, but I already knew her work because we published a terrific story of hers in Prime Number Magazine while I was editor-in-chief.

Then there is David Jauss’s new story collection, Nice People. I have been a fan of Jauss’s work for a very long time, so I was thrilled when Press 53 brought out another volume of his stories, Glossolalia. That was such an excellent book that I am confident that the new collection will also be great.

Another new book I’m looking forward to is Kelly Cherry’s Temporium. This looks interesting because it’s a hybrid of stories and prose poems and mini-essays, and if you’ve read Cherry’s work before (like the fantastic story collection Twelve Women in a Country Called America) you’ll know that she writes beautifully.  I’m sure this is a good one.

Those are just the latest releases from the press. Browse through the bookstore for older titles like some of these favorites: Bones of an Inland Sea by Mary Akers, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas by Marjorie Hudson, or Baby’s on Fire by Liz Prato.

And don’t forget Press 53 is also a publisher of great poetry collections!

[My] Books Make Great Gifts!

Books make great gifts. Right? I mean, they’re compact and easy to wrap. They don’t cost much to mail. They’re durable, require no batteries, and provide countless hours of entertainment that can be shared with others. Then there are the eBook varieties that can be delivered instantly—to your own eReader or someone else’s.

And I just happen to have two books available that I think would be terrific under the tree (or wherever you celebrate your end-of-year holiday gift giving.

My most recent book, What the Zhang Boys Know, has been getting terrific reviews. It’s a novel in stories set in a condominium building in Washington, DC. Not only does it tell the story of the Zhang family, a widower and his two young sons, but it also delves into the lives of the other residents of the building. John Casey calls it “a wonderful and haunting book.” Christine Schutt says the stories are “deeply satisfying and life-affirming.” Kevin Wilson says, “In prose that is measured and confident, Garstang carefully works to show us how these characters’ grief and loneliness becomes utterly beautiful and unforgettable.” To read more about the book and to order your copy, go here.

And then there’s my previous book, In an Uncharted Country. That one is a collection of linked short stories set in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley. Tim O’Brien calls it “impeccably written, sumptuously imagined, and completely enchanting.” Elizabeth Strout says of the book’s characters, “they are real, vulnerable, and always, in unique ways, brave.” Peter Ho Davies says, “In an Uncharted Country is a subtly braided collection of spare, taut stories that conjures a community and a way of life with respect, affection, and intimacy.” To read more about the book and to order your copy, go here.