Sarah Black works as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a community health clinic that serves mainly homeless clients. She is a Vet (Navy), and a mother (James, 16). She has written romance, mystery, westerns, but gave up the good life to write flash fiction. This year she decided she would rather read than write, so she started Bannock Street Books, which is devoted to publishing flash fiction and street art. Three chapbooks have been published – Rough Beast, Stories of Exile; Skip, Patch, Eye, Brownie, Chalk, Coming of Age Stories; and Things Are Looking Up! Stories from Work.
what are you reading now
Let’s see – I think I spent the electric bill money this month at the book store: In the Devil’s Territory by Kyle Minor, Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy, just finished Monica Ali’s Alentejo Blue, which I loved. And in the batter’s box is GraceLand by Chris Abani and The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen. I’ve been reading some great memoirs, too – Truck and Coop by Michael Perry, both wonderful. I have an affection for old pickup trucks and chicken coops; and The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson. I also recently picked up a copy of Ironweed by William Kennedy at the used bookstore – I must have missed it, and it looks great. I am embarrassed to say I could go on and on!
classic you’ve been meaning to read
Proust, Remembrance of Things Past – though I now understand the newly translated title is In Search of Lost Time. I just turned 49, so I guess I’m ready to have a go at it.
last book to bring you to tears
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. I did throw up after reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. If I ever find that guy alone in an alley, I’m going to write him a prescription for lithium.
if you could write yourself into any book or story
I think I would like to go to Portugal and live inside the pages of Monica Ali’s Alentejo Blue. I’ve always loved living in a village, and my years in Italy were some of my happiest – my son was born when I was overseas. And that book is so tender and delicate in understanding human failings – lovely.
best book you’ve read so far this year
Oh, that’s hard – fiction, I fell in love with Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. I also really admired The Farther Shore by Matthew Eck. Short story – I read Claire Davis and Etgar Keret for the first time this year and now am a rabid fan of both. I really liked The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan for nonfiction (my family left Oklahoma during the dust bowl) and I loved the two books by Michael Perry mentioned above, Truck and Coop. I don’t really keep track of what I’ve read, I’m afraid.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
I don’t have a coffee table! Though I did hide my collection of gay erotic murder mysteries when my mother came to visit.
collected stories of
I’m reading more regional stuff since I moved to Idaho. There is really a rich tradition in the northern Rockies – William Kittredge, Claire Davis, Kim Barnes, Pete Fromm, Mark Spragg. I’ve really enjoyed learning about this part of the country through its stories.
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
I only read literary journals online. Faves are flashquake, Word Riot, Slow Trains, FRiGG, SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, elimae, and sometimes when I am feeling brave I’ll dive into Night Train. I like Blazing! Adventures, too – they published a Western serial pulp of mine I had so much fun writing. I love those old pulp covers.
best thing you’ve read online recently
Elaine Chiew’s "The Sentence" in the March issue of Word Riot. I’m a big fan of her stories. And I guess it’s time for me to go cruise my favorite journals! Oh, I loved the new micro issue of FRiGG.
recommended reading list:
Western Regional Lit
Before I lived in the Northern Rockies, I lived on the Navajo Reservation, so some of my favorite regional writers are from the Southwest, some from the Northwest.
- Dagoberto Gilb: Gritos, Woodcuts of Women, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna, The Magic of Blood
- Claire Davis: Labors of the Heart, Winter Range
- Kim Barnes: Finding Caruso, A Country Called Home
- Hampton Sides: Blood and Thunder
- William Kittredge: Hole in the Sky, Owning It All
- Mark Spragg: Where Rivers Change Direction
- Pete Fromm: Indian Creek Chronicles
- John Rember: Coyote in the Mountains (this wonderful chapbook was published by Limberlost Press)
- Ron Carlson: Five Skies
- Edward Abbey: Desert Solitaire
- Gloria Anzaldua: Borderlands
- Larry Watson: Montana 1948