Stillhouse's Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us, and all of us here at Stillhouse Press are eagerly awaiting the end of the semester, the chance to see our families, eat good food, and relax. As you make your own holiday plans, here are a few books our staff heartily recommend.

Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for a bookworm relative or just need something to while away those dark afternoon hours, we’ve got you covered. Cheers to you and yours, and happy reading!


   Prayers for the Living  , Fig Tree Books, 2015

Prayers for the Living, Fig Tree Books, 2015

"Imagine the American dream—with all its possibilities and pitfalls—told through the lens of matriarch, Minnie Bloch, the narrator of Alan Cheuse’s Prayers for the Living. As a reader, I find Minnie’s voice remarkably engaging, at once fierce and philosophical. She witnesses her son's transformation from an impassioned rabbi to an American business executive. Sex, faith, and lineage weave through this novel, creating a taut multi-generational fabric. As a writer, I am fascinated by Cheuse’s chutzpah in reassessing one of his earliest novels, The Grandmother’s Club (1986), and rewriting it into a book as fresh and relevant as tomorrow’s news headlines about a mogul’s rise and fall. Eloquent and inspiring, Prayers for the Living is hands down my must read for 2015."

- Marcos L. Martínez, Editor in Chief

Marcos L. Martínez is a founding editor of Stillhouse Press and a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction. As a Sally Merten Fellow, he has taught creative writing in Northern Virginia high schools and public libraries; his work has appeared in Whiskey Island, The HIV Here and Now Project, The Washington Blade, and RiverSedge.


   The Things We Don't Do ,  Open Letter, 2015

The Things We Don't Do, Open Letter, 2015

“I've really enjoyed The Things We Don't Do by Andres Neuman. One of my Intro. to Creative writing students brought it in and asked if I had read it, and I hadn't but the first story, ‘Happiness’ hooked me with its voice. Plus, I think I'd read just about anything that has a blurb from Roberto Bolaño on the cover.”

- Justin Lafreniere, Prose Editor

Justin Lafreniere is a writer living in Northern Virginia. He is the Fiction Editor for So to Speak and has been published in Charlotte Viewpoint, The Western Online, and Frostwriting.


   The Empathy Exams,   Graywolf Press, 2014

The Empathy Exams, Graywolf Press, 2014

“I suggest that people read Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, the winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. The essays in this collection range from working as a medical actor helping to train doctors, a 100-mile endurance race known as the toughest race on the planet, and an unusual disease which some people are not sure even exists. In all of these, Jamison contemplates the subject of empathy by examining the pain of others. It’s a great collection, and Jamison’s voice brilliantly tackles the subject.”

- Katie Ray, Prose Intern

Katie Ray is a creative nonfiction student in George Mason University's MFA program. She has previously been published in Prime Number and the Eckerd Review.


   Nets  , Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015

Nets, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015

“Jen Bervin’s Nets should be familiar to many, even if they’ve never read or heard of it. Exploring Shakespeare’s sonnets, Bervin fashions poems out of what she takes away, creating an entirely new poem from what remains. Visually minimal as well, Nets is an example of the structural aphorism ‘less is more.'"

- Douglas Luman, Poetry Editor

Douglas Luman is a poet and editor. He is currently Stillhouse Press' Poetry Editor, the Book Reviews Editor for the Found Poetry Review, Editor of So to Speak, and Assistant Poetry Editor of the journal Phoebe. He can likely be found asleep in a library somewhere in Northern Virginia.