In all of my previous columns regarding books — all two of them — I’ve said in some way or another that I have no authority to really judge the literary pieces I write about, and, yet, here I am, at the helm of this issue, selecting the pieces that go inside. So, I want to thank Haley Goldberg for letting me choose these pieces after I’ve made it publicly known that I don’t think I can. Haley: thank you.

I read a lot (you’re thinking, no shit, sherlock, you write about reading for goodness sake) but reading without a pen in my hand to annotate and look for critical and stylistic elements in the text is rare. I always look at writing with the eye of an English major. So when I picked pieces for this, I tried to, well, not read the submissions like that. I tried to revert back to the fifth-grader-who-reads-under-blankets-past-bedtime-because-books-are-your-best-friend type of reader; instead of looking for all the academic hogwash, I just read them for what they are. That being said, the submissions I received (and there were a lot) were impressive, to say the least. Y’all can write! So there I sat, crouched over and frazzled in a coffee shop with the submissions sitting in front of me, and I had to make the hard decisions.

I hope what I chose, and what graces these pages, takes you to some new places and makes you think a little bit differently.


By Hannah Weiner

The F Train Downtown

By Olivia Lloyd

Desire Under the Mosquito Netting

By Giancarlo Buonomo


By Peter Wagner


By Alana Weiss Nydorf

Ballet Class, 2001

By Carlina Duan


By Logan Corey

Fucking Locally

By Allison Epstein

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