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JAMES ENGLISH The Rose Tradition

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In this subtle and tense story, James English sets us down among the complicated relationships within a family and a neighborhood and lets us watch a betrayal unfold. It's a variation of the tale of a stranger coming to town--only the stranger is already there, and the town is someone's family.

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CATHERINE ELCIK What The Doctor Taught Me

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When family crises buffeted author Catherine Elcik with grief and stress, she found solace in the unlikeliest of places: Doctor Who. Or perhaps not so unlikely. For from this television program about time-shifting and agelessness and loss and endurance, Elcik learned powerful lessons about coping with the thieveries of illness and death. In this beautiful essay, Elcik offers wisdom to all of us--Whovians or not.

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MELANIE SENN The Art of Drumming Badly

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To hear Melanie Senn tell it, she is not a good drummer. But what matters more than her musical and percussive talent is her skill in telling the story of how she took to the drums--at first as a way to connect to her musician husband, and then as a way to experience delight. In "The Art of Drumming Badly," Senn shares her joy in learning something new and in learning not to care about inhibitions and expectations.

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S.E. CLARK Foxes

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S. E. Clark's "Foxes" places us in an unsettling world part fairy tale, part parable, in which the innocent and the sinister battle in the lives of children. Clark's spare prose tells the tale of a small community preyed upon in subtle ways by the story's eponymous foxes.

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JANE FLETT Monsters

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Sermonette and Tom meet at a concert. Tom is at the mic. Sermonette is watching. They go on to skirmish and flirt, resisting the monsters of Jane Flett's title even as those monsters grow within them. The narrative seethes with passion and inventive language as it takes us through this richly unconventional love story.

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JANE HAMILTON Finding Forgiveness in a Ziploc Bag

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Travel is supposed to be so broadening, in the words of Sinclair Lewis. But anyone embarking on a Thanksgiving-motivated journey knows that travel can be aggravating, maddening, and bewildering too. In an essay first audio-published in The Drum in July 2013, Jane Hamilton recounts a trip with her husband when the combined forces of the TSA and a Ziploc bag threatened to undo them.

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theme: comedy

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genre: essay

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