Short Stories, Essays, and Book Reviews

essaysstoriesI have published many personal essays and short stories. But my first published pieces were book reviews for Publishers Weekly, The Village Voice, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Now that I know just how hard it is to create and publish a book, I’m less interested in critiquing someone’s work. But writing book reviews, I realize in hindsight, was an excellent means of developing my voice.

There is a funny (true) story in my first youthful publications.  In my twenties, I worked as a temp, usually the evening shift. These positions shifted every few weeks or months and allowed me to write by day. At the time I began to review for The New York Times, I happened to have a long-term temp job at–the New York Times. I was on the 11th floor for my temp job, and my editor for the Book Review was on the 5th floor.  Oh, I lived in absolute terror of running in to him! Having lunch with him or visiting the Book Review, I proudly wore my writer’s hat. But what if they discovered the truth: that I was really a lowly temp, typing up papers on the 11th floor? Every time I went to lunch at the cafeteria I peered around the walls to make sure my editor was no where in sight. It was torture.

Soon after, I began to publish essays and short stories. Waiting to receive acceptances was agonizingly slow, though. And at some point, I realized that in the time it took to get my short pieces published, I could write a novel. And so I did.

Reviews for the Boston Globe

Reviews for the New York Times

Reviews for the Philadelphia Inquirer