Sunday, March 3, 2013

Small Town Mutant Journalism

I'm thinking of organizing my spring term course in creative nonfiction/literary journalism/mutant journalism around writing about a nearby town. So I'm thinking about some books for the syllabus, books about towns and small cities, books about people in a place that's neither rural nor urban nor suburban. Narrative, immersive work, not history or formal scholarship. Below is a list from my shelves. I'd be interesting in hearing recommendations, of books, longform narrative journalism, and documentary film.

"Kid Cannabis," Mark Binelli, Rolling Stone (via Jonathan Ringen)
Couer D'Alene, Idaho

"Escanaba's Magic Hours," Tom Bissell, Magic Hours
Escanaba, Michigan

Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger
Odessa, Texas

Hometown, Peter Davis
Hamilton, Ohio

Dogtown, Elyssa East
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Cold New World, William Finnegan
New Haven, Connecticut

The Great Plains, Ian Frazier

Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene
McIntosh County, Georgia

"Dr. Don," Peter Hessler, The New Yorker (via Matthew Shaer)
Nucla, Colorado

"Midnight in the Garden of East Texas," Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly (via Max Linsky)
Carthage, Texas

Mules and Men, Zora Neale Hurston
Eatonville, Florida

Home Town, Tracy Kidder
Northampton, Massachusetts

The Other Side of the River, Alex Kotlowitz (via Anna Clark)
St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Michigan

"The All-American Bank Heist," by David Kushner, GQ (via Max Linsky)
Monroe, Washington

Wisconsin Death Trip, Michael Lesy
Black River Falls, Wisconsin

The Undertaking, Thomas Lynch
Milford, Michigan

"The Acme Corporation," Alec MacGillis, Harper's
Acme, Michigan

Class A, Lucas Mann
Clinton, Iowa

Blessed Assurance, A.G. Mojtabai
Amarillo, Texas

Dakota, Kathleen Norris

Down at the Docks, Rory Nugent
New Bedford, Massachusetts

The Right Side of the River, Roger Pinckney
Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

"The Heart of Football Beats in Aliquippa," S.L. Price, Sports Illustrated (via Max Linsky)
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Methland, Nick Redding
Oelwein, Iowa

"Looking for a Ghost," Wright Thompson, (via Matthew Hunte)
Alcorn, Mississippi

Killings, Calvin Trillin

"The Secret Sharer," JoAnn Wypijewski, Harper's
Jamestown, New York

"A Boy's Life," JoAnn Wypijewski, Harper's
Laramie, Wyoming


Brother's Keeper, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
Munnsville, New York

Harlan County, USA, Barbara Kopple

My Winnipeg, Guy Maddin (via Anne Mette Lundtoffe)

Wisconsin Death Trip, James Marsh
Black River Falls, Wisconsin

Nimrod Nation, Brett Morgen
Watersmeet, Michigan

Roger & Me, Michael Moore
Flint, Michigan

Vernon, Florida, Errol Morris