Benderize Yourself

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It’s time to give some overdue, major props to Ms. Aimee Bender. I’ve been following her for years now. Yes, years. She is one of the finest short story writers going today. I usually mix it up in my literature classes by teaching Bender along with Tobias Wolff for the short story component (& a few others). I figure, if I can turn the students on with some scintillating, well-crafted material, I’ve done something. And Ms. Bender does indeed turn people on.

I read some short stories online long ago at sites like Boldtype (”Call My Name” works surprisingly well in class) and Tarpaulin Sky, and then ran out and bought her book, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt.

I also read her novel, An Invisible Sign of My Own, but frankly (& no offense to Ms. Bender), I think she should stick with the short story. She is, afterall, a master of the medium.

Just today I have learned that a new book of short stories, Willful Creatures, arrived in stores on August 16th. I don’t know who to compare Ms. Bender’s work to, but after a quick search, I found that Alan Cheuse at NPR decrees that Bender “writes in the tradition of Gertrude Stein.” No wonder I’ve been following her around like a puppy on crack. I’ll just be going to the store to get my copy now …

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