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James R. Gapinski’s favorite books of 2015

To wrap-up the year, our managing editor, James R. Gapinski, chimes in with his top five books of 2015. A few days ago, Melissa Reddish also shared her list.

Binary Star, by Sarah Gerard

If you want predictable syntax crammed into neat boxes, look elsewhere. Binary Star takes risks. Come for the inventive structure, stay for the characters who seem to be in a constant state or implosion and/or explosion.

Scrapper, by Matt Bell

Scrapper tells a riveting story set in a near-future version of Detroit, ravaged by climate change. Its unassuming blue collar protagonist has waaaaaaay more shit going on than first meets the eye. This book is its own masterclass in character development.

The Seven Good Years, by Etgar Keret (Translated by Sondra Silverston, Miriam Shlesinger, Jessica Cohen, and Anthony Berris)

Etgar Keret’s memoir explores the seven years between the birth of his son and the death of his father. Yes, the book builds toward a death, but it’s more about celebrating life. And it’s filled with the sense wonder and whimsy that have become a staple of Keret’s work.

Gutshot, by Amelia Gray

The stories in Gutshot have a visceral intensity to them. They rip open your perceptions of what a story is and can be. They scream at you and dare you to flinch. Yeah, you might bleed out by the end, but you’ll feel alive the whole goddamn time.

 Citizen, by Claudia Rankine

I’m not surprised that Citizen is also on Melissa’s top-five list as Book I Would Slip into Everyone’s Bag When They Weren’t Looking. I gave this book to my partner over the holidays—then she received a second copy from her sister. When you read this book, you want to share it. And you want to share it quickly. These pages have urgency. You’ll finish it in one sitting, and if you’re not already a proponent of #BlackLivesMatter, you will be. Read it. Now.

“Purple Haze Purple Rain,” an AWP reading with The Conium Review, Pacifica Literary Review, and Small Po[r]tions

Join The Conium ReviewPacifica Literary Review, and Small Po[r]tions for an off-site AWP reading.

Location: Eat My Words Bookstore, 1228 2nd St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.

Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Reading for The Conium Review are Christine Texeira (published in Vol. 3), Zach Powers (published in Vol. 3), and John Englehardt (winner of our 2014 Flash Fiction Contest and published in The Conium Review Online Compendium).

For Pacifica and Small Po[r]tions, readers including Caitlin Scarano, Kyle Ellingson, Terri Witek, Valerie Wernet, and Genevieve Kaplan.

AWP Reading Flyer

A flyer for “Purple Haze Purple Rain,” an 2015 AWP Conference off-site reading.

Call for Submissions: 2015 Innovative Short Fiction Contest

The Conium Review‘s Innovative Short Fiction Contest is currently open for submissions.  The contest deadline is May 1st, 2015.  This year’s contest judge is Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot (FSG Originals, 2015), THREATS (FSG Originals, 2012), Museum of the Weird (Fiction Collective Two, 2010), and AM/PM (Featherproof Books, 2009).

The winner receives $500, publication in our journal, five copies of the print issue, and a copy of the judge’s latest book.  The $15 entry fee includes a free digital download of the issue.  Up to 7,500 words of flash fiction or short stories.

Innovative writing should pack a punch.  Send us your weird, wild, and wonderful.  Take risks with your draft.

Read the full guidelines and submit your work here:

http://coniumreview.com/contests/innovative-short-fiction-contest

Amelia Gray Headshot

Amelia Gray is this year’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest Judge