April 4, 2013
Tenth of December, by George Saunders

I've been getting some great reading referrals of late, and even if I have had to partake of most of them through the screen of my laptop instead of on the paper I would prefer, some of what has come across that electronic medium has been absolutely incredible. Today called for a moment of reading that by all rights of practical time management I should never have had, but which in the end left me gasping for air as I came back up out of it, and with nothing but thanks for the reminder it provided of what is truly important in this life. The title story of George Saunders' collection Tenth of December, available to be read, along with others of his works, on The New Yorker's website and through Open Culture, is a serious literary accomplishment and one that I would highly recommend to all of my readers at home.  I've always held that the short story format is a great deal more challenging to work in than the novel.  There's just no room for fluff in short work, and for the most part no real reward, even when you pull it off - hence the general focus on longer works.  Every once in a while though (Old Man and the Sea style) a piece of short fiction breaks through, and captures the audience it deserves.  I can only hope that will be the case with Saunders and Tenth of December because, to put it bluntly, this man is a genius.  I'm not even going to go into trying to describe the content, or the plot, or what it all "means" - just click on the link and read it for yourselves, then send me an email if you think I've wasted your time...