Reading With ... Steve Almond

April Peveteaux
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Photo from Steve Almond
I first read Steve Almond's collection of short stories, My Life in Heavy Metal, after my husband (then boyfriend) told me it was the greatest collection of short stories ever written. Ever.

I happened to cross paths with Almond when he was blogging at Babble and I was an editor -- making me an even bigger fan and advocate for honest yet exaggerated writing about parenting.

Needless to say, everyone in my household has been anxiously awaiting Almond's latest, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book by and for the Fanatics Among Us (With Bitchin' Soundtrack). It's true, the soundtrack is really bitchin'.

Over the past 10 years, Almond's nonfiction has taken the driver's seat with true and painfully funny pieces on music, fumbling through parenthood, and his obsession with candy. Perhaps all leading to Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. Or at least it feels like the right book at the right time, Almond-wise.

Here's what Steve is reading while not creating more words for us to love and Professor'ing:

Magazines:

I've been reading Tin House and The Normal School, which are technically literary magazines -- in that the writing is terrific -- but also wildly entertaining and very smart about the low end of pop culture, and what it all means. Yummy.

Books:

I'm pretty much required by law to give a shout-out to the John Williams' novel Stoner, which isn't about what it sounds like (despite my ardent, initial wishes). It's the quietly devastating story of William Stoner, whose life is saved by literature. I also loved Nick Flynn's new memoir The Ticking Is the Bomb, which is about why America continues to torture people and what that means. For some, uh, lighter reading, I'd recommend the story collection Call It What You Want by Keith Morris. It's got some hilariously droll stuff, along with the required emotional bruisers.

Websites:

There's a bunch of great new ones. The Rumpus is about the smartest and funniest when it comes to books and movies and sex. Great stuff on there every day, especially those days I'm not on it. The Nervous Breakdown is another great new one, and I'm a fan of The Splinter Generation, which makes me feel like a little bit of an old man. But what doesn't at this point?

Kids Books:

My daughter loves Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman. She's a fantastic author. Other books we love by her include Cats! Cats! Cats! (far more entertaining than the Broadway musical) and The Boy Who Cried Fabulous.

Read more from Steve Almond and check out his new book on Random House, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life.

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