Recommendations from Electric Literature executive director Halimah Marcus
John Cheever$18.95 $17.43
Cheever is a short story master, a classic stylist, and also totally out there. If you haven't read Cheever and think you know what he's about, you're probably wrong. My favorites include "Oh Youth and Beauty," "The House Breaker of Shadyhill," "Reunion" and "The Enormous Radio."
Richard Yates$16.95 $15.59
"Revolutionary Road," published in 1961 and set in the 1950s, is about Frank and April Wheeler, a couple who fancy themselves more interesting and artistic than their neighbors. Richard Yates doesn't pull any punches. He gets you down and then he hits you while you're down there, but it's worth it. The writing is excellent, the characters are real, you might even enjoy it.
The Mortgaged Heart collects McCuller's short stories, essays, and poems, including two of my absolute favorites,"Who Has Seen the Wind?" and "A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud," which is the seminal text of my tree/rock/cloud worshiping religion that permits the consumption of alchohol.
Kazuo Ishiguro$16.00 $14.72
Isuguro's word-perfect novel about a emotionally stilted, loyal butler to a "great" man is an essential work of the modern canon. Utterly heartbreaking and galvanizing.
Elif Batuman$17.00 $15.64
Set at Harvard in the 90s, "The Idiot" is about Selin, an exceptionally intelligent freshman who's good at school but bad at everything else. Batuman brings her considerable skills as a memoirist and journalist to bear on the campus novel, upending any expectations you have of the genre and nearly earning her a Pulitizer Prize for her debut novel (it was finalist).
Susan Choi$27.00 $24.30
A formally inventive, uber contemporary novel about the consequences of sharing, stealing, and secreting stories—one's own, and other people's. Reading it feels like holding a beating heart in your hands.