We wanted to take a moment and reflect on the meaningful books, music, movies, and television that were created or that we experienced this year -- those moments of grace in a sometimes dark world.
Maureen Langloss, Flash Fiction Editor
I'm grateful for A Grace Paley Reader, edited by Kevin Bowen and Nora Paley (2017). I'd already read most of the stories in the collection, but the essays were new to me. So inspiring to learn that, in addition to being a trail-blazing woman writer, Paley was also a passionate political activist. I have felt Grace beside me during this disappointing year in America--as a role model, teacher, ghost. I am thankful for her presence in my life.
Ray Shea, Memoir Editor
I am so so grateful for the movie The Florida Project. The most overwhelmingly human movie I have seen in ages; not since Moonlight has a cast affected me so deeply.
Amy Rossi, Managing Editor
I am grateful for All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg, which I read twice (the second time after discussing it with Kaitlyn). It is unique in structure and so honest and funny and painful -- the subversion of the single woman in the city trope, and I book I sorely needed. I'm also thankful for The Leavers by Lisa Ko. It made me see the world in a new way, and it's peopled with some of the most fully-drawn, surprising characters I've ever read. It's an important book for these times.
And I'm thankful for getting to listen to Guns N' Roses live, twice, including beautiful covers of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman."
Marianne Chan, Poetry Editor
This year, I’m thankful for Morgan Parker’s There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce. This collection of poems made me want to smoke cigarettes and cry in the bathtub. It also made me want to laugh a lot, put on some high shoes, walk out into the world, eat an olive soaked in gin, dance a little, and feel myself. I love this book, and I think it was an important read in 2017 and will continue to be for years to come.
I must give a shoutout to our dear contest judge Juan Martinez's Best Worst American. It's such a weird, whimsical collection, and I liked the combination of flash and longer short stories. Plus, I've spent a lot of time both in Florida and in Vegas, so those stories especially spoke to me.
For music, I have to go with Kesha's album Rainbow. 14 whole tracks of girl-power-pop, everything from power ballads to folk songs--and her duet with Dolly Parton is everything.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice, Editor-in-Chief
Read: Jami Attenberg's All Grown Up. This is such a cliche, but no book has made me laugh until I cried and cry until I laughed like this book. Jami's voice is a gift, and I feel like this book gave me permission to explore my own voice in a way I haven't before.
Listen: The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit. The album's gorgeous (listen on Vinyl...yes, I'm a hipster), but the song "Anxiety" is a personal anthem.
"Anxiety How do you always get the best of me? I'm out here living in a fantasy I can't enjoy a goddamn thing..."
Watch: The O.C. for the 51st time. Signed up for Hulu just so I could binge the sun-drenched drama. The will-they-won't-they love between Marissa and Ryan feels like a dispatch from a happier, simpler time.