Best of Times, Worst of Times

America's first Gilded Age produced Mark Twain, Henry James, Willa Cather, and a flock of other notables. Will our current climate of economic imbalance, ruinous vanity, joyous nihilism, and wild-eyed millennialism produce a similar wealth of literary talent? Only posterity can say for sure. But this volume of stories from such luminaries as Junot Diaz, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Walter Mosley sets the bar admirably high.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.