Events: First half of May 2017

I will be reading from “The Subway Stops at Bryant Park” at the following venues during the first half of May 2017. Stay tuned for more events throughout May, June and July.

Thursday, May 11th, 7:00-9:00pm The Desmond-Fish Library, 472 Route 403, Garrison, NY. 845-424-3020

Tuesday, May 16th, 7-9pm Book Launch at Book Culture, 536 West 112th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). West will read from her book and will then be interviewed by author Marie Myung-Ok Lee. Books will be available for sale and there will be wine. 212-865-1588

Thursday, May 18th, 7-8PM Watchung Books, 54 Fairfield Street, Montclair, NJ. 973-744-7177

from Leapfrog

For those of you who are following how a small press releases a short story collection, here is what Leapfrog Press has just posted on their blog about the upcoming launch. Leapfrog is a small publisher with an enormous heart. They have been honorable and hard-working every step of the way, and I hope the book does well as much for them as for me.

Click here to read their blog post.

Kirkus reviews my book


Well this is a thrill. Kirkus Reviews wrote a lovely review of my forthcoming book. It’s a bit of an out-of-body-experience to read the nice things a complete stranger has to say about my stories. They were so private when I wrote them, and now they are out in the world. The book doesn’t come out until May, so this is a trade review for bookstores and people who want to pre-order the book. This is certainly a lovely way to begin this book’s life in the world. 

The Galleys are in


The galleys for my forthcoming book (The Subway Stops at Bryant Park) came in the mail this week. What a thrill. The book comes out officially in May, but now is when we begin to try to create a buzz for the book. I’m sending galleys to something called “long lead” publishers – those publishers who need a long lead time in order to publish a review. So I’m sending them out with personal letters to places like The New York Times Book Review (a girl can dream), as well as venues that might want to sell the book, or places where I might do a reading (libraries, bookstores, cafes, etc.) If you know of any that I should be contacting, say the word.

Beautiful Mom- Audio

My childhood friend Erin deWard narrated a short story of mine, “Beautiful Mom”. It may only be available for a few days as they are posting new work every day in December to promote their audio book site. I’m so tickled though, to have my story read out loud, and to have it be read by such a good dear friend of mine who is so talented is great too.

What to Buy: Holiday 2016 Book Recommendations

A lot of people ask me what books to buy for friends and loved ones, and so I’ve compiled this handy-dandy list of book recommendations in three categories (YA, poetry and fiction). Feel free to share your own recommendations.
~~~ 1) YOUNG ADULT: El Deafo, by Cece Bell. This is a graphic novel. The author is deaf and tells the semi-autobiographical story of a deaf kid in grade school. It was sweet and funny and all, but more than that, I felt that I came to understand, the tiniest bit, what her world was like as a deaf child, and how annoying well-meaning but clueless friends can be. (other recs: The Book Thief, The War That Saved My Life, Roller Girl (also a graphic novel), and The Whys and Wherefores of Littabell Lee, an old book from the 70s that I rediscovered and loved this year)
~~~ 2) FICTION: I’m tied between Olive Kitteridge by Eliz. Strout and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Olive Kitteridge is a collection of connected short stories. If you want to write short stories, you should read this. If you like crabby, broken-hearted, middle-aged protagonists, read this. In All the Light We Cannot See, well, be ready for something different. It is about WW2 and is sometimes horrifying, but there’s great beauty too, and a young blind protagonist I will never forget. And the chapters are incredibly short … like a page or two tops. For some reason, this is a selling point for me. (other recs: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt and Byrd by Kim Church)
~~~ 3) POETRY: I haven’t read a lot of poetry, but my sister gave me Mary Oliver’s book The Leaf and the Cloud, and I was transported. Her work relies a lot on the imagery of nature, which I love. And while it’s accessible, it’s also suitably complex so that it won’t bore more sophisticated readers.