Monday, January 16, 2012

Good Short Literature at Your Fingertips: The Chicago Reader Presents 2012 Pure Fiction


Every year the Chicago Reader, the local independent culture and politics newspaper puts out the Pure Fiction issue. They released the 2012 Pure Fiction Issue this past Thursday.

I probably wouldn't have picked it up from the side-of-the-road box if I had my phone or some other reading material. Being an election year also contributed to my inspiration. I've got plenty of benefits industry magazines to read for staying "ahead of the game" and for decluttering the home that I don't normally read the indepth newspapers. But hey,a fiction issue makes for a good gateway back into reading a newspaper.

The first story alone, Sky Boys: Lunch is served 69 stories above Manhattan by Steve Trumpeter, has easily made up for the cost of a little more clutter. A piece of "ancillary" historical fiction dramatizing Charles C Ebbets' photograph Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper, it provides a work up to the photograph while also giving the reader perspective on the life and times of someone who had the career of putting together a skyscraper at the 69th story.

I've seen this photo in passing plenty of times. It always just sat in the background without grabbing my attention, though. This story transported me into the photograph. I imagined myself on top of those girders. Actually, more like I felt the fear of someone standing all the way up there. I could feel the paralysis that would overtake me if I looked down. The urge to grab onto a vertical pillar overtook me. Then there was the feeling of falling backwards to my doom after relaxing and trying to eat my sandwich. Pretty scary but a lot more fun to happen in my imagination than to experience it in real life.

The story spans about six or seven magazine-sized pages, and if I didn't have to sit in front of a computer to work or do work stuff at home, I would've flown through the story in about a half hour, enjoying every moment of it.

I've only read that story so far. Hopefully the other ones match it's muster or better. The other stories are:


LINKS OF INTEREST: Chicago Reader, 2012 Pure Fiction Issue, Charles C Ebbets', Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper

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