EDITOR’S NOTE:

Another year has come and gone, and it’s time once again to present The Nobbies, the official book awards of The Nervous Breakdown.

Below you’ll find this year’s winners, our picks for the best books of 2011.

Congrats to the victors, and their publishers.

And thanks, as always, for reading.

-BL

Consider this from the character Sophie in the short story FlyOver State, “our house was the only rental on the block.Maybe something unseemly happened there: adultery, Judaism, modern dance” from Emma Straub’s brilliant debut story collection OTHER PEOPLE WE MARRIED (Five Chapter Books, 2011).This sharp, evocative sentence encapsulates the way Emma Straub sees the world through her characters: a little bit normal, with shades of absurdity, and a kind of irony that causes you to smirk.

Jackie was from Newport, Rhode Island, which as far as Franny knew was Nowhere, Rhode Island, and even though she was from Brooklyn, they both felt like total rubes at Barnard, where all the city girls wore going-out clothes to English class just because they felt like it. Their dormitory room was exactly the same as all the others on the hall, narrow and Spartan, perfect for two eighteen-year-old nuns. Jackie tried to spruce it up with some pictures she’d cut out of magazines, mostly models dressed up to look like Ali MacGraw. The two girls tried to do the same—sweeping bell-bottoms and collegiate sweaters. The effect was not great on Jackie, with shoulders as wide as an Iowan football player or on Fran, who stood just over five feet and had to hem every pair of pants by several inches, sometimes cutting off the bells entirely.

Clearly, Emma, you are a liar. Your book, Fly-Over State, is billed as a novella, when everyone can see that it is nothing more than a short story. How do you sleep at night?

I had no idea this interview was going to be so hostile. But, yes, you’re right, it is a short story. It is a long short story, at least by my own standards. When Flatmancrooked approached me about their New Novella series and Launch program, the emphasis seemed to be on the ‘New’ and ‘Launch.’ It is also possible that I am a bad listener. Hopefully, the story is satisfying enough that one feels as though they’ve read a novella.

Tonight there will a release reading for my book of prose poetry, In This Alone Impulse, at KGB Bar in NYC at 7pm. In celebration of its polyvocal soul, I’ve gathered a number of friends and fellow literarians to help me read from the book, including:

Lincoln Michel, James Yeh, John Madera, John Dermot Woods, Rozalia Jovanovic, Nicolle Elizabeth, Todd Zuniga, James J. Williams III, Terese Svoboda, Emma Straub, Sasha Graybosch, Nick Bredie, Nora Jean Lange, Joe Sullivan, Peter Schwartz, Timmy Waldron, and Brianna Colburn.

All outstanding writers in their own right, I really look forward to hearing how they give voice to these poems. The reading will also feature videos from people across the country, including BL Pawelek, Ryan W. Bradley, and AD Jameson. I’ve personally been recording videos for these poems for a while now, and I encourage you to watch one or two here. (Want to make one of your own? I’ll send you a copy of the manuscript and let you have at it!)

Here’s a link to the event listing. Please come, or suggest it to a local friend!