Ryan Call

Ryan Call is the author of The Weather Stations (Caketrain). He and his wife live in Houston.

what are you reading now

I'm reading Tongue Party by Sarah Rose Etter.

classic you’ve been meaning to read

I've been meaning to read Crime and Punishment.

last book you finished in a single sitting

I don't think I've finished a book in a single sitting in a very long time, so this might not be an accurate answer; however, the last book I remember reading in a single sitting was Log of the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine by Stanley Crawford. I read it over two years ago, but I still remember what it felt like to encounter it all in one night.

book you borrowed and never returned

Before I traveled to Russia with my wife and her family, I tried to read as much Russian literature as possible. One of my students at the time lent me We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. I still haven't returned this book, and I probably won't ever, as I'm no longer teaching at the University of Houston and I've lost touch with all my students.

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

I've never done this with a coffee table book, I guess, though I once 'conveniently' left a book in my car on my way to pick up a friend to go play darts. The book was In the Train by Christian Oster, published by Object Press. My friend picked it up and read through it a little, and then asked if he could borrow it. He and I had talked quite a lot about Jean-Philippe Toussaint, so I figured he'd like Oster.

most scribbled-ridden book in your collection

I think White Noise by Don DeLillo has the most scribbles, but I no longer write in my books.

strangest dream involving a book, writer, or literary character

This is probably not the strangest dream I've had in this category, but one night earlier this week, I had a dream that I had moved into the garrett in Thomas Bernhard's Correction, and in the dream, I opened a trap door in the floor of this garrett one night, and I fell into the hole, and then zombies appeared from somewhere and attacked me and then the dream turned into a shooting video game and then I woke up.

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

I have a handful that I love, but if I had to pick one, I would pick Caketrain.

most anticipated upcoming release

Well, it's no longer upcoming, but I remember feeling excited about Nothing by Blake Butler.

recommended reading list:

Weather Passages, A Meteorological Reading List

- The first paragraph of The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

- "Bird to the North, Act of Wind" from The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus

- Any of the intermediary chapters, especially "Flesh," in Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler

- The second paragraph from "Cold France and Other Permutations" by Wythe Marschall (published in McSweeney's #12)

- The last thirty sentences of Molloy by Samuel Beckett

- "Crutches Used as Weapon" from Super Flat Times by Matthew Derby

- Any of Shelp's weather reports in Motorman by David Ohle

- Light Boxes by Shane Jones

- Log Of the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine by Stanley Crawford

- "The Pedersen Kid" by William Gass


Laura Ellen Scott

Laura Ellen Scott’s debut novel Death Wishing, a comic fantasy set in post-Katrina New Orleans, is presented by Ig Publishing both in print and as an e-book. Her collection of short creepy fiction called Curio, is offered as an online experience from Uncanny Valley Press.

what are you reading now

Aside from 62 online magazines looking for Wigleaf Top 50 contenders, student fiction, Death Valley websites, and The Morgan Messenger? Right now I’m reading Michele Reale’s Lungfish. I bought Kathy Fish’s Wildlife but lost it almost immediately. Until it turns up I’ll adopt my go-to assumption that the ladies who clean my home every two weeks stole it. Along with the second Wii controller and my gray boots.

classic you’ve been meaning to read

Very few classics call to me anymore, but perhaps The Woman in White? There are so many classic mysteries I wish I’d read. I’m envious of the fact that Art Taylor has been reading the complete Sherlock Holmes stories aloud to Tara Laskowski. They’re partners so that’s okay, not weird. But wouldn’t that be cool if we all had an assignment to follow around another writer and read at them from time to time from a prescribed set of works? Whatever we needed, cosmically. Like, you could read Nathaniel West novels to Erin Fitzgerald, and Jason Jordan could follow you around and read Jose Saramago or Erma Bombeck. We’d all fight over Ethel Rohan. I’d probably get Sean Lovelace reading The Minister’s Black Veil over and over till he died of dehydration.

last book you finished in a single sitting

I’m a slow and lazy reader, but I read Robert Swartwood’s The Serial Killer’s Wife in two sittings—would have been one, but I like to sleep. The last, actual single sitting read? As a grown-up, only short stuff like Mel Bosworth’s When the Cats Razzed the Chickens and Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom. Haven’t read Freight yet. I used to read Lia Matera’s Laura Di Palma mysteries in one go, but she stopped writing those. I did a lot of one-sit-reads as a kid, and I especially remember reading the last page of Anne of Green Gables just as the sun came up.

book you borrowed and never returned

China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station. I got through about half the book and started stealing from it. That happens a lot, the best stuff I don’t finish. I pillage.

most treasured book in your collection

I’m trying hard not to have a collection anymore, but I’m pretty sentimental about my former students who have turned out to be productive little creeps. Genevieve Valentine has published widely and her latest is a steampunk novel called Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti. Jacqueline Bowen is the author of another steampunk effort, Seven Stop Ride Across the Cosmos. And Sarah Boyle’s debut is a vampire novel called Right of Blood. I claim no direct influence on these works.

if you could write yourself into any novel

Any of The Three Investigators books, but preferably The Mystery of The Talking Skull.

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

If by impress we can also mean repel, then The God Delusion. We’re in the DC metro area, so we do security clearance interviews once in a while, and on those occasions we make sure The Communist Manifesto is tucked away out of sight.

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal


best thing you’ve read online recently

Steve Himmer’s essay “Making Room for Readers,” on The Millions.

most anticipated upcoming release

Lotsa murder books. If Erin Kelly grows into her own as we all suspect, then her sophomore effort The Dark Rose should be a knockout. I will read anything Kate Atkinson or Tana French put out, and I heard that French is working on a genuine follow-up to In the Woods. Apparently Carol O’Connell’s publishing a new Mallory novel in January, but I’m a bit worried about that. Not really sure what more she can do with Mallory’s high functioning sociopathy.

recommended reading list:

Things I Won’t Read But Wish You Would

Promising cheap/free titles from the Kindle pile:

- Cornstalked by Patricia Bremer. Product description includes the line: “The author does an excellent job of placing the reader in the cornfield ...”

- Love Me if You Must by Nicole Young. My guess is it’s written from a cat’s pov.

- Her Very Special Robot by Ann Jacobs (from the Naughty Nooners series)

- The New Yorker


Jesús Ángel García

Jesús Ángel García is the author of badbadbad—a novel, soundtrack and documentary film. He lives in San Francisco and is currently editing his second novel, Down in a Hole, when not fantasizing about starting a thrash band with an accordionist and a fiddle player.

what are you reading now

The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich. I’m a hipster. I read the books everyone’s talking about a year (or years) after the fact. I’m also dipping in and out of the Noir at the Bar collection, a kind of amazing new (yes, new!) anthology edited by Jed Ayers and Scott Phillips, only available at Subterranean Books. “Pig Helmet and the Wall of Life” by Pinckney Benedict is the must-read hallucinatory tale, where gravity-defying motorbikes meet serpents and the Scriptures.

classic you’ve been meaning to read

Crime and Punishment and Gorky’s Mother. There was a time when I overdosed on Russian fiction and had to cut myself off before getting to these two. I know I’ll read Mother eventually, though I may never return to Dostoyevsky. I think I’m done with old-school soap operas.

last book to make you laugh out loud

Emergency Room Wrestling by the Dirty Poet.

book you’d like to see made into a film

Operation Wandering Soul by Richard Powers. A film that manages to translate this prose to the screen would be a heartbreaking epic freakshow.

if you could take a cross-country road trip with any literary character

Orlando, no question. No limits on time and sex = endless opportunity for trouble-making.

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

The Human Pony, though impress probably isn’t the word. Provoke is more to the point. O, the conversations this book started…

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

Zoetrope or Tin House - world-class editorial and design standards, ideal combo of smart and fun.

best thing you’ve read online recently

3 Poems by Mark Leidner in Action, Yes. I like how Leidner controls the narrative voice in these pieces without making it feel tight. His rhythms are powerful music, too. I like the velocity of the last one, the beauty of the love poem, the love, and the provocative politics of the first.

most anticipated upcoming release

Michael Ondaatje’s new novel, The Cat's Table, which came out last month. I’ll probably read it a year from now, though I’ve been thinking about it for some time. I’ve read most of Ondaatje’s fiction, a lot of his poetry, some of his non-fiction. I feel like he does this thing - I don’t know what it is - that makes his prose lift off the page. There’s a levitating quality to his language. Anil’s Ghost, The English Patient and Coming Through Slaughter are essential. I don’t know what the new book’s about. I don’t need to know.

recommended reading list:

Bent-Beautiful Books Too Little Talked About in 2011 by Authors Not Born in the United States Nor Residing in NYC

- Art & Lies by Jeanette Winterson

- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

- The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau

- Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje

- A Night of Serious Drinking by Rene Daumal

- Not Always So by Shunryu Suzuki

- The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz

- Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal

- G. by John Berger

- Destroy, She Said by Marguerite Duras