A New Novel, Plus a Book Tour

For a while now I've been dropping hints about a new book I wrote (e.g. of hints, this tweet), and today I'm happy and proud to finally announce it.

My second novel (and third book [fourth, if you count the poetry collection I self-published when I was 19]), is titles Particles, and it will be published by Asymmetrical Press on May 5, 2015.

Here's the cover:

From the Back Cover:

When you’re born, you have no expectations. But if you were capable of having expectations, it would be reasonable to assume you would be held by your mother for more than eleven seconds; that after your cord was cut, you’d be wrapped in a blanket and then placed in the arms of your father; that you would see the woman who gave birth to you again sometime after you left that room. Melissa Lynn Gilpatrick gets none of these things. Instead, she’s born into a world full of midwestern religious values, a world of pornstars, a world of particle physicists and Broadway playwrights, a world of terrorism and technology and natural disasters.

In PARTICLES, Shawn Mihalik, author of Brand-Changing Day and The Flute Player, pulls us gently from our own reality before thrusting us violently into a deep, uncomfortable, and often hilarious exploration of the loneliness of existence and the connections we make as human beings in the first decades of the 21st Century.

And That's Not All

In addition to the new novel, I'll also be participating in my very first book tour this year. Through May and early June, I'll be traveling the Western U.S. and Canada with Colin Wright, Joshua Wagner, The Minimalists, and cellist Skye Steel in Asymmetrical's first WordTasting tour, something we hope to make a regular event. 

For a list of all the cities in which I'll be appearing, check out my tour page. And for more info about the tour (like where those other fine folks will be appearing that I won't) check out WordTasting.com.

Thanks to everyone who's helped make this new novel a reality, and thanks to everyone who reads and pays for my work. You all allow me to keep being a writer. I have more exciting things to share with you this year—stay tuned.

The Books I Read in 2014

Each year, I create a new note in Evernote that I use to keep a running list of all the books I read that year. I don't really take notes or make highlights when I'm reading, but I do, when I finish a book, almost immediately add its title and author to the list. At the end of the year, I like to look at that list and reflect, reflect on what I've felt, what I've learned, and what the books I've read ultimately mean to me.

I didn't quite read a book a week this year, which is unusual for me, but I still read a lot. 

Below is the list of all 46 books I read this year. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter and ask me questions about any of these books.

  1. Paris Review #206 (Each issue of the Paris Review is like 200 pages, and they're published quarterly, so I count them as books).
  2. Look at Me by Jennifer Egan
  3. Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman
  4. Paris Review #207
  5. Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight by Travis Langley (This is the only book on this list that I didn't enjoy on some level, and if I'm being honest, I mostly skimmed it. I thought it would be "cool." It wasn't. It was boring.)
  6. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (There's a reason this book won the Pulitzer this year, and that reason is that it's wonderful.)
  7. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
  8. Pafko at the Wall by Don Delillo
  9. Shapes the Sunlight Takes by Josh Wagner (I'm proud to be involved in the publication of this book by one of my good friends.)
  10. Adventure Time: Volume One
  11. Graveyard of Memories by Barry Eisler
  12. Chicken by Chase Night (The release date for this book is still TBD, but once it's out, people will be talking about it. It's important.)
  13. Paris Review #208
  14. Hologram for a King by Dave Eggers
  15. Players by Don Delillo
  16. How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
  17. Star Trek: Voyager: Protectors by Kristen Beyer
  18. Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game by David Mack (I'm a Trekkie. Proof positive: my Christmas ornament this year.)
  19. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (A movie memoir told in graphic novel form.)
  20. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  21. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 
  22. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling 
  23. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban by J.K. Rowling
  24. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  25. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  26. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  27. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  by J.K. Rowling (I grew up in a very religious household, and while I did often read books I wasn't supposed to read in secret, I'd never read a single Harry Potter book until this year, when I met my fiancée and she bought me the series as a boxed set. These books are wonderful.)
  28. Waking Up by Sam Harris
  29. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  30. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
  31. The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan
  32. David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview
  33. The Keep by Jennifer Egan 
  34. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  35. 10 Percent Happier by Dan Harris (This book, along with number 28 on this list, Waking Up, by Sam Harriss, have been instrumental in me developing a daily meditation habit over the last few months. Waking Up peaked my interest, but 10 Percent Happier was the catalyst for my finally doing it.)
  36. The Pale King by David Foster Wallace (This was a reread. I reread Wallace's work often.)
  37. Your Fathers Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers (This is Eggers' shortest, best, and most important book to date.)
  38. Considerations by Colin Wright
  39. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (For a long while, I was alone. I'm not anymore, and this book made me realize how much I would hate to lose the people I have in my life now.)
  40. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
  41. This Could Help by Patrick Rhone
  42.  The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (If you're an artist, or if you want to support artists, this book is one of the most important you'll ever read.)
  43. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen (reread)
  44. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (John Darnielle also happens to be the man behind my favorite band, The Mountain Goats)
  45. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
  46. Enough by Patrick Rhone

    Autumn in Montana and Free Short Stories

    It's two degrees Fahrenheit in Helena, Montana, right now. When I woke up it was minus two; the windchill was minus fifteen. My fiancée and I have the thermostats set to 65, but our small apartment's windows aren't double paned and the weatherstripping on our front door doesn't exist, so it's significantly colder than 65 degrees. The cat doesn't seem to mind (he likes to sit on the garbage can, which is by the heater and is thus warm). We humans compensate by wearing sweaters and long-sleeved shirts and curling up on the couch with cider and listening to music (Taylor Swift's 1989) and watching movies (Snowpiercer). 

    * * *

    I've added three short stories to this site: "Digital Selfie," "Number 67 Monroeville Downtown Via Oakland," and "Death Is Probably Almost Certainly the End." I wrote two of those stories a while ago, so you may have read them before; "Digital Selfie" is brand new. I've also linked to a story I published on Medium over a year ago, "The Top 10 Killer Ways to Write a List Post." 

    You can find all the stories, as well as interviews and essays, here. Or by clicking "Other Stuff" in the nav bar.