great reading:
recent fiction + non-fiction

Howard and Charles at the Factory
Dave Housley

"A furious, darkly comic fable for this precise American moment.”
- J. Robert Lennon

The World and The Zoo
Rob Roensch

"Rob Roensch is the Jim Jarmusch of Central Oklahoma zoo-fiction—contemplative and dreamy and in awe of the strange.”
- Benjamin Warner

Kevin Scott Magruder

"a love story, a dystopia, and a nightmare, beautifully and succinctly wrought. Immortality and extreme income inequality terrifyingly collide in this prescient debut."
- Hannah Lillith Assadi

Still Life with Meredith
Ann Lewinson

"The most decadently imaginative thing I’ve read in years”
- Sandra Newman

True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escape
Micah Perks

"characters so very alive that they practically escape off the page when you encounter them... This collection will cure what ails you.”
- Kelly Link

The Spirit of Disruption
Landmark Work from The Normal School
edited by Steven Church

"indispensable for anyone interested in discovering new directions in the contemporary essay”
- Robert Atwan, Best American Essays series founder and editor

The Art of Gay Cooking
A Culinary Memoir
by Daniel Isengart

"hugely entertaining, provocative, and useful -- an Alice B. Toklas Cookbook for a new generation." - Luke Barr

I'm Just Getting To The Disturbing Part
On Work, Fear and Fatherhood
by Steven Church

"one of the bravest and fiercest essayists we’ve got” - Steve Almond

Nothing Short Of
Selected Tales from 100 Word Story

"epics the size of sound bites... they prove once and for all that size doesn’t matter. Just the stories that fit inside.” - Amber Sparks

Who The Hell Is Imre Lodbrog?
by Sebastien Regnier and Barbara Browning

A very true love story, told in counterpoint, about friendship, politics and rock ‘n’ roll. "It’s like being seated between the best dinner guests at a party of strangers." - David Duchovny

Wire Mother Monkey Baby
by Rob Reynolds

In search of meaningful connection, Clayton Draper moves into The Complex, an Austin residential development sponsored by Kool Kola. A remarkable debut set in Austin, TX.

Boy On A Unicycle: Confessions of A Young Man Trained To Be A Winner
by Dan McCall

"A compelling and highly relevant tale in these times of fake news.” - Philipp Meyer
Edited by Steven McCall

This Is: Essays on Jazz
by Aaron Gilbreath

"Imagine a completely different version of one of jazz’s most revered compositions sitting on a shelf in a Los Angeles office building for three decades without anyone knowing it."

Golden State 2017

Golden State 2017
Best New Writing from California
edited by Lisa Locascio

"California has the curious distinction of occupying the cultural imagination at a chronological remove."

One Million Maniacs
Beanie Babies, Killer Cars and The Power of Collecting by David LeGault

"By the time you’re deep into this wonderfully obsessed book you too will wonder what anything is worth, really, and why we pursue, peruse, and keep it, how our stuff defiles and defies and defines us." - Ander Monson

Family Genus Species
by Kevin Allardice

"Allardice’s deft novel is actually deceptively complex, layered not simply with satire, but with emotional revelations about family, community, sexuality, parenthood, race, and class..." - Nina Renata Aron at Full Stop.

Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction
introduction by Bill McKibben

Explore our messy, beautiful, symbiotic relationship with trees. Contributors include Karen Hugg, Lia Purpura, Wendy Call, Matthew Gavin Frank, M. J. Gette, Jacklyn Janeksela, Renée E. D’Aoust, Angela Pelster, Brian Doyle, Andrea Scarpino, T. Hugh Crawford, Thomas Mira y Lopez, Steven Church, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Fred Bahnson, Jacqueline Doyle, Stefan Olson, Diane Payne, Zoë Ruiz, Amaris Feland Ketcham, Kayann Short, Diana Hume George, Annie Bellerose, Paul Lisicky, Toti O’Brien, Lori Brack, Mackenzie Myers, Courtney Amber Kilian, John Roscoe and Theresa Kishkan.

Forty-four American Boys: Short Histories of Presidential Childhoods
by William Walsh

From Washington to Trump, these are the stories of each president’s childhood—told through fragments and quotes appropriated from more than 300 children’s books, pop history books and scholarly biographies. "Fabulously original" – Kenneth Goldsmith

Massive Cleansing Fire
by Dave Housley

"It's time to admit what everyone knows: there's no bolder, no wittier critic of our modern, polarizing American culture than Dave Housley, who points out the absurdities in our relationships while reminding us why we must hold on to each other." – Susan Muaddi Darraj

by Robert Rient

"Witness is a rare thing: auto-reportage. Robert Rient has written a book that needs many readers, a book about the transformation from one life into another. How to give up one’s family, one’s own environment, the values instilled in childhood and not go crazy? The protagonist/author knows how, but he has paid a high price for his decision. It’s possible to change your life! And that’s why I read Witness ravenously." – Mariusz Szczygieł

Following Disasters
by Nancy McCabe

“A masterfully told story of betrayal and dislocation vibrantly narrated through the voices of an odd-ball aunt and her eccentric niece, Following Disasters is at once a mystery, a love story, and a narrative of healing. Nancy McCabe’s most recent novel explores that deepest human yearning: our need to belong. I couldn’t put it down.” — Elaine Neil Orr

Children of the Country
by Abigail R. Shaffer

"a literary novel that reads like a thriller. In luminous prose, Shaffer tells a riveting, terrifying story of human violence, cruelty, and undying love, and she never puts a foot wrong. A marvelous debut." — Pinckney Benedict

"Abigail Shaffer plumbs the depths of the Rough South as too few female voices do. She chronicles generations of youth spent on splintered porches and sweaty backseats, lost to the specters of sex, drugs, and short horizons. . . This is a writer to listen to, for years to come.” — Ashley Warlick

The Adventures of Joe Harper
by Phong Nguyen

"Phong Nguyen takes on American history and literature in this captivating novel. Writing about a marginal character in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he illuminates the marginal characters of American culture in the 19th century. The imaginative return of an adult Tom Sawyer is alone worth the price of this book." — Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize

What Becomes Us
by Micah Perks

“Micah Perks is one of the most radiantly original writers around." — Elizabeth McKenzie

"There is real magic here. . . Completely original, completely delightful." — Karen Joy Fowler

"This is a warm, wild, hilarious, eccentric and moving book." — Lauren Groff

On Heights & Hunger
by Josh MacIvor-Andersen

"Written with a passion that burns onto the page. . . one of the finest memoirs I’ve read in quite a while." — Andre Dubus III

"Josh MacIvor-Andersen uncovers everything dangerous and divine in the Tennessee treetops." — Jeremy B. Jones

Invisible Men
by Eric Freeze

"These stories turn themselves inside out, unhinge and pivot, a collection of epiphianic epiphanies" — Michael Martone

"Eric Freeze investigates with not a little humor and plenty of sorrow, the chasms and chaos several men (and a few women) leave behind when they disappear." — Pam Houston

The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage
by Lawrence Lenhart

“At the least unhinged and quite possibly a little insane, Lawrence Lenhart’s essays are perverse in the best way" – Ander Monson

"a special kind of genius. . . Intense awareness combined with his intense concern make for a big heart and a big brain and a big, as in important, book" – Nicole Walker

by Timmy Reed

"Timmy Reed is one of the most original prose stylists to come down the pike in the last couple of decades, but there's more to his work than just style, and that 'more' includes a remarkable emotional honesty" – Madison Smartt Bell

"IRL. . . is probably the best book I've ever read about someone who's addicted to the Internet" – Jamie Iredell

Madeleine E.
by Gabriel Blackwell

"Madeleine E. is an impossibly entertaining book - indeed, a philosophical page turner" — Amber Sparks

"Gabriel Blackwell's writing proves that a genre-defying literature is not only possible, it's necessary" — Evan Lavender-Smith

"Interspersed among the collages of philosophical insight are hypnotic narratives about a man named Gabriel Blackwell, whose many possible lives reveal the dizzying potentials of our own. This is a wondrous book." — Eric G. Wilson

Patrick Fitzmike and Mike Fitzpatrick
by Larry Smith

"Patrick Fitzmike and Mike Fitzpatrick is a vigorous tumble through the power plays of sex, politics, and 20th-century Catholicism... Redemption, if it's possible, emerges from the mud" — Dennis Mahoney

Welcome to Christiania
by Fred Leebron

"Fred Leebron is one of the best writers working today. If you haven't read him yet, this beautifully written novel is the one to get first" - Jenny Offill

The Marble Army
by Gisele Firmino

"a fierce lyrical tribute to the families that lived through the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état" - Ada Limon

"an exquisite, intimate epic about family, injustice and resistance" - Hector Tobar

by Michelle Herman

"Michelle Herman's beautifully written and wise novel probes the crucial and enduring questions of how we choose our paths in life" - Lynne Sharon Schwartz

by Terese Brasen

"Terese Brasen resurrects and reimagines a kind of Viking ballad from the fierce perspective of its women" - Ashley Warlick

"a timeless tale of enslavement and empowerment" - Jake Lamar

Adherence: A Romance
by Ben Nickol

"Ben Nickol is that rare thing, a real writer" - Donald Hays

California Prose Directory 2016
edited by Sarah LaBrie

Short fiction + non-fiction in our third annual anthology about life in the Golden State

a few recent wonderful books. . .

Valletta78 by Erin Fitzgerald
Tyler's Last by David Winner
Becoming Westerly by Jamie Brisick
A Book of Uncommon Prayer edited by Matthew Vollmer
Like A Song: Essays by Michelle Herman
5 Months 10 Years 2 Hours by Lisa Reisman

+ amazing reviews

Los Angeles Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Times Literary Supplement, The Brooklyn Rail, CNN, The Oregonian, The Advocate and many, many others.

+ generous praise

with advance praise from Ann Beattie, William Finnegan, Zachary Lazar, Paul Theroux, Andrew Solomon, Charles Bock, Elizabeth McKenzie, John Casey, Myfanwy Collins, Honor Moore, Joan Leegant and many others.


S H O R T - I S H


More fiction + non-fiction.
The artful argument.
The story you don't want to stop.

by Alison Wellford

"Gorgeously wrought prose and a moral ambiguity so perfectly deployed. . ."
- Lauren Groff

California Prose Directory 2014:
New Writing from The Golden State

edited by J. Ryan Stradal

Short fiction and non-fiction by 30 award-winning and emerging authors.

The Wes Letters
by Feliz Lucia Molina, Ben Segal and Brett Zehner

"Writing into the sand hole that is 'Wes Anderson,' three friends write their way almost to the limit of their engagingly ambivalent and indisputably brilliant personalities, thereby calling into question the certainty of anything. Follow their quest to the Fin/n/ish line! A gripping read."
- Chris Kraus, I Love Dick

A Moody Fellow Finds Love and Then Dies
by Douglas Watson

"A wise, funny and strangely sad fable of love, art and life. Moody Fellow is a hero for anyone who's young and lost and yearning to be found."
- Lev Grossman, The Magicians

Commercial Fiction
by Dave Housley

"With Commercial Fiction, Dave Housley once again stakes his claim as the poet laureate of pop culture. No one else could take the cynical manipulations of commercials and extract from them so much humor and empathy and heart."
- Matt Bell, In the House Upon The Dirt Between The Lake And The Woods

by Ravi Mangla

"Funny, moving, perceptive, artful -- these are the first words that came to mind when I tried to describe UNDERSTUDIES to a friend. And then, to better capture its spirit, I began reading it aloud and marveled all over again at Ravi Mangla's ability to tell us, with precision and wit, what deserves to be known."
- Joanna Scott

Dark March
by Colin Fleming

"Colin Fleming is one of the truly exciting and significant writers of his generation."
- Richard Burgin, editor of Boulevard

Something Pretty, Something Beautiful
by Eric Barnes

"This is a world where the pull of friendship is far stronger than the pull of family, where cars are freedom, stories are everything, and home is thick with ghosts."
- Emily St. Jean Mandel

California Prose Directory:
New Writing from the Golden State

Charles McLeod, editor

A new annual anthology of fiction and non-fiction devoted to life in California.

The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart
by Filip Noterdaeme

Using Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas as a template, Filip Noterdaeme tells the story of two eccentric expatriates who find love in New York City and carve out a delirious, dadaesque life on the margins of the contemporary art world.

"A lovely romp with the absurd. . . It's hard to imagine anything more charming." - Andrew Solomon

Nights I Dreamed of Hubert Humphrey
by Daniel Mueller

A new collection by the author of the critically-acclaimed How Animals Mate.

"These stories are outrageous and big-hearted, disturbing and beautiful, wretched and redeemed. Half of them made me want to sleep with the lights on, and all of them reaffirmed that Dan Mueller is some kind of mad artistic genius." - Paul Harding, Tinkers

A City on a Hill
by Stanley Jenkins

"Stanley Jenkins' unforgettable characters roam America's heartland in search of its soul. If there is grace to be found amid nihilism, the stories in this disturbingly beautiful collection find it. Jenkins finds shards of humanity inside hardened criminals, and the petty larceny lurking in all our hearts. A City On A Hill is a stunning debut." - Dick Scanlon

by Perry Glasser

"A literary version of a great rock album. . . the story of our generation, and how we got to where we are by doing the best we could with what we knew at the time. . . No irritable reaching after fact and reason. Just. . . truth. And it deserves to go platinum" - David Bradley, The Chaneysville Incident

A Misfit's Guide to
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

by TJ Beitelman

Thirteen thumbnail sketches in a semi-causally related sequence that more or less maps out what it was like to be the author from, say, 1996 to 2011, with a judicious feint or two toward the back story where appropriate.

American Weather
by Charles McLeod

"The type of courage we should expect from American writers but rarely find" - Matthew Duffus, The Critical Flame

National Treasures
by Charles McLeod

"These stories are a portrait of America in all its breadth, across regions, classes, races, religions. Charles McLeod knows the whole country through its ill-fitting parts and people. All through this book, there are moments of wild candor and insight that crack the surface of daily life." - Salvatore Scibona, The End

inscriptions for headstones
by Matthew Vollmer

Thirty short essays, crafted as epitaphs, each one unfolding in a single sentence.
"A courageous, honest, and decidedly non-angelic dissection of the instants, both mundane and macrocosmic, that shape a man, and the malaise that tears him to the core." - The Colagist

Danielle Déronde
by Burton Raffel

"What sort of God would allow not only the black, bleak existence of Hitler and all his minions, all the things that had happened and were still happening, and not only to Jews, but blindly, indifferently tolerate the revolting fact of this disgusting, immoral, impossible pregnancy?"

by Mindy Hung

"No more gazing longingly into the glowing windows of family homes. . ."
A mordant comedy about sex tourism in South East Asia.
A Lolita for the global economy.

Loud Memories of A Quiet Life
by Tom Molanphy

"As far back as I can remember, people told me I was too quiet..."

by Joel Kopplin

"He tells me this, this is beautiful whatever he means. . ."

a novel

Lives of the

a novel

Alice at 80
a novel

The Missing
Cantos & Stanzas
of Ariosto's
Orlando Furioso

of the Barrel:

The Herring

of the Novel

a novel

a new translation

High Street
by Tetman Callis

"the devil is right behind me, tapping me on the shoulder to get me to come back, reminding me of how good it feels to be high in the summertime, day and night; telling me, Hey, big fella, you haven't fallen far enough; I keep shooting at you, big fella, but all you get is grazed and I want a square shot"

The You-City:
Technology, Experience & Life on the Ground

by Jeff Ferzoco

"A tour through a digitally-enhanced city of the future if Siri had a soul, a sense of humor, a questioning nature and the ability to make friends" - Tony Hiss

by Diza Sauers

"This book is so strange and so good, a discovery, a treasure found, in more ways than one. It's a book of awesome links and leaps, peopled by characters mythic in their divine and formless quests. Feral children, runaway moms, ruthless reckless men and fabulous stories in every rock, seed and desperate room. A most disquieting and satisfying read." - Joy Williams

Love in the Time of Foreclosure
by Stephanie Alison Walker

A first-person account from someone who's made it to the other side. Walker details the daily struggle. And after hearing from others facing the same trouble, she's committed to fighting the stigma of financial hardship.

"Stephanie Walker has the wit to transform the shame and anxiety of foreclosure into a genuine human adventure" - Dick Gordon, APR's "The Story"

I'll Be A Stranger To You
by Cara Diaconoff

A young software pro returns to Moscow - with carnal memories of his old missionary companion. His wife stays in Boston, waiting for him to return, to build a family and a Mormon way of life. But it's the end of the 1990's, the end of Russia's gold-rush era, and the end of ideals stretched beyond good use.

"An excellent novel of conscience" - Kevin McIlvoy

Adios, Mexico
Two Gay Refugees

"Father Alfonso said that if what the other children said about me was true, then I must take cold baths. That, he told me, would rid me of the devil..."

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