Rumpus, February 20, 2015

Writer’s Chronicle, Fall 2014

SLAM Magazine,  December 11, 2013

Hayden Ferry Review, Fall 2012

Architectures of Possibility, Spring 2012

Fugue, Spring 2011

National, April 18, 2011

New Statesman, March 31, 2011

Rumpus, February 23, 2011

Zisk, Fall 2010

Wag’s Revue, July 2010

Wired, June 22, 2010

“David Shields in Conversation with Sarah Manguso,” The Believer, June 2010

Tin House, Summer 2010

Publishers Weekly, March 15, 2010

3 Quarks Daily, May 10, 2010

Quarter After Eight, May 2010

Purple State of Mind, April 26, 2010

Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2010

Style Weekly, March 16, 2010

Publishers Weekly, March 15, 2010

Portland Press Herald, March 14, 2010

Salt Hill Journal, March 4, 2010

Quarterly Conversation, March 1, 2010

Dazed and Confused, March 2010

GQ, February 2010

Publicola, February 24, 2010

Rumpus, February 15, 2010

Henri Art Magazine, February 13, 2010

Millions, February 10, 2010

BookSlut, February 2010

City Arts Magazine, July 1, 2008

Willow Springs, Fall 2008

Loggernaut, October 25, 2005

Writer’s Chronicle, May 2004

Nextbook.org, May 2, 2004

M Magazine, Spring 2003

Zisk, Fall 2002

Poets & Writers, July/August 2002

Centralbooking.com, May 1, 2002

The Stranger, December 23, 1999

Arts & Sciences Perspectives, Winter 1997

University Week, October 17, 1996

Urban Desires, June 1996

Beatrice, May 28, 1996

Bricolage, Spring 1996

Back to all Books >

Other Publications


Contributor, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy (Ten Speed Press, 2015)

“Life vs. Art,” Poets & Writers, January 2015

“Reality, Persona,” Essaying the Essay, Welcome Table Press, 2015

“Letter to James Franco,” Tin House, Summer 2014

“I Can’t Stop Thinking Through What Other People Are Thinking,” New Letters, Summer 2013; reprinted in The White Review, November 2013

“Prologue,” Mississippi Review, February 2013

“Literature Saved My Life!” Salon, February 8, 2013

“Book Notes,” Large Hearted Boy, February 6, 2013

“How to Write Yourself Into Existence,” The New York Times Magazine, February 1, 2013

“Life Is Short—Art Is Shorter,” The Writer’s Chronicle, February 2013

“David Shields’s Favorite Books That Could Save a Life,” Goodreads, February 2013

“The Inspired Reader,” Poets & Writers, January 2013

“How Literature Saved My Life,” Ecotone, December 2012

“Softy for Softy,” Another Thing That Interests Me, March 20, 2012

“Saving My Life,” Little Star, 2012

“The Mute World War II Airman,” Significant Objects, Fantagraphics Books, 2012

“Softy for Softy,” Another Thing That Interests Me, March 20, 2012

“Real Life,” What to Read in the Rain, 826 Seattle, 2011

“Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief,” Defunct, November 2011

“Still Hungry,” Los Angeles Review of Books, September 2011

“The Good Books,” PEN America, Spring 2011

“Life Is Short; Art Is Shorter,” Los Angeles Review of Books, May 2, 2011

“Ideas for Modern Living,” Guardian, February 27, 2011

“Book Notes,” Largehearted Boy, February 25, 2011

“The Writer’s Job,” Huffington Post, January 18, 2011

“3 Sugar Solutions,” Nightlights, 2010

“Fred Tomaselli,” Bomb, Fall 2010

“On Tiger Woods,” Five Dials, Summer 2010

“In Writing, Art, And Music, Everybody Steals,” Huffington Post, May 28, 2010

“All Great Works of Literature Either Dissolve a Genre or Invent One: A Reading List,” The Millions, May 17, 2010

“Long Live the Anti-Novel, Built from Scraps,” The Millions, May 17, 2010

“Collage Is Not a Refuge for the Compositionally Disabled,” Untitled Books, May/June 2010

“What We’re All Looking For: Notes on Our Reality Hunger,” The Normal School, Spring 2010

“Living With Music: A Playlist,” The New York Times, April 7, 2010

 “Writers’ Recommendations,” Poets & Writers, March 31, 2010

“26 Shifting Nonfictions,” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2010

“Trouble Seeing the Line Between Fact and Fiction,” Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2010

Excerpt from Reality Hunger, The New York Times, March 12, 2010

Excerpt from Reality Hunger, Knee-Jerk, March 2010

“Risk,” Faultline, Spring 2010

“Letters,” McSweeney’s, Spring 2010

Reality Hunger: A Crash Course via the Epigraphs,” Powells.com, February 23, 2010

“Best Books,” The Week, February 17, 2010

Excerpt from Reality Hunger, International Literary Quarterly, February 2010

“Required Reading,” Creative Nonfiction, January 2010

Excerpt from Reality Hunger, Fawlt, January 2010

“Life as Art,” 110/110, January 2010

“Against Fiction,” Five Dials, January 2010

“Manifesto,” World Literature Today, January 2010

“Reality Hunger,” Salmagundi, Fall 2009

“Mimesis,” PEN America, Fall 2009

“Contradiction,” Mississippi Review, Fall 2009

“Some Thoughts Occasioned by the Contemplation of Fred Tomaselli’s Work,” Fred Tomaselli, Prestel, Fall 2009

“All the Best Essays Are True,” A Public Space, Fall 2009

“The Mute World War II Air Man,” Significant Objects, September 2009

“Excerpts from Reality Hunger: A Manifesto,” Western Humanities Review, Summer 2009

“Selections from Reality Hunger: A Manifesto,” The Normal School, Summer 2009

“Autobiography as Criticism, Criticism as Autobiography,” The Iowa Review, Spring 2009

“Excerpts from Reality Hunger,” Fictionaut, April 1, 2009

“Autobio,” The International Literary Quarterly, February 2009

“How We Are in the World,” Brown Alumni Magazine, February 2009

“Perfect Sound Forever,” The Stranger, September 3, 2008

“I Could Go On Like This Forever,” City Arts, June 13, 2008

“Memory,” Columbia, 2008

“Vertigo,” The Stranger, April 15, 2008

“Reality/Memory,” Lake Effect, Spring 2008

“Notes for Eulogy for My Father,” New England Review, Spring 2008

“Reality, Persona,” Truth in Nonfiction, University of Iowa Press, David Lazar, editor, 2008

“Blur,” Fawlt, October 21, 2007

“Excerpts from Reality Hunger: A Manifesto,” Seneca Review, Fall 2007

“The Trouble with Being Food,” Between the Lines, 2007

“Conversations with My Father: A Meditation on Life and Death,” nor, Spring 2007

“DS,” Willow Springs, Spring 2007

“Let Me Tell You What Your Book Is About,” Northwest Edge, Summer 2006

“The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead,” Conjunctions, Spring 2006

“Spider’s Stratagem,” Iowa Review, Spring 2006 (reprinted in The Writer’s Portable Mentor, 2010)

“Reality Hunger: A Manifesto,” The Believer, March 2006

“There’s Only One Rule: Never Be Boring,” Rules of Thumb, F & W Publications, 2006

“Death Is the Mother of Beauty,” Black Ice, December 2005

“Three Essays,” Conjunctions, Fall 2005

“Boys’ Bodies,” Conjunctions, Spring 2004

“Myths of Place,” Zisk, Fall 2004

“Ye Olde Mind-Body Problem,” Seattle Research Institute bookmark series, June 1, 2004

“Why Not Go Pro?” The New York Times, May 6, 2004

“A Life in Words,” Pacific Northwest, March 28, 2004

“The Wound and the Bow,” The Believer, January 2004 (reprinted in Prime Times: Writers on Their Favorite TV Shows, Crown, 2004, and selected for Best American Sports Writing 2005, Houghton Mifflin, 2005)

“Gaddis,” Conjunctions, Fall 2003

“Bring the Pain,” Zisk Magazine, Fall 2003 (reprinted in Elysian Fields, Winter 2004)

“Retrofeminist of the Night,” The New York Times Magazine, November 2, 2003

“Men and Games and Guns,” Yale Review, July 2003

“Words Can’t Begin to Describe What I’m Feeling,” Verbatim: The Language Quarterly, Summer 2003 (reprinted in Zisk, Fall 2004)

“Notes on the Local Swimming Hole,” Columbia, Spring 2003 (reissued in Seattle Research Institute bookmark series, June 1, 2004

“Matsui Among the Americans,” Playboy Japan, May 2003 (reprinted as “The Anti-Ichiro,” Slate, March 31, 2003

“Welcome to America,” The Stranger, January 9, 2003

“Charles Barkley’s Head Fake,” Slate, November 22, 2002 (reprinted as “I Sing the Body Athletic” in Amazon.com, May 8, 2004 and Haiduts.net, May 26, 2004)

“36 Tattoos,” Village Voice, October 16, 2002

“Is This Heaven? No, It’s A Sports Movie,” ESPN.com, August 26, 2002

“Everything I Know I’ve Learned from My Bad Back,” SpineLine, May/June 2002 (reprinted in Utne Reader, September 2004)

“These Days, I Want to Keep It Real,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 19, 2002

“Adventures in Autobiography,” Amazon.com, May 8, 2002

“The Lure of the Real in Today’s Culture,” Seattle Times, April 9, 2002 (reprinted in mobylives.com, April 9, 2002)

“The Capitalist Communitarian,” The New York Times Magazine, March 24, 2002

“Foreign Guys Can Shoot,” The New York Times Magazine, March 3, 2002

“Letter to J.D. Salinger,” contribution to Letters to J.D. Salinger, University of Wisconsin Press, 2002

“The Two Faces of Ichiro,” Weekly Gendai, Japan, January 19, 2002

“The Only Solution to the Soul is the Senses: A Meditation on Bill Murray and Myself,” Tin House, Fall 2001 (reprinted in Cooking and Stealing: The Tin House Nonfiction Reader, Bloomsbury Press, 2004)

“Being Ichiro,” The New York Times Magazine, September 16, 2001 (reprinted in Japanese Playboy, January 2002)

“Baseball Is Just Baseball,” McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, August 10, 2001

“The Same Air,” Fourth Genre, Spring 2001

“Confession Begets Connection: Details of One Life Resonate with Another,” “Writers on Writing” series, The New York Times, April 9, 2001 (reprinted in Writers on Writing, Volume II, Holt, 2003)

“Satire,” “Doubt,” “S&M: A Brief History,” Western Humanities Review, Spring 2001

“Life & Art,” Post Road, Spring 2001; reprinted in “Life & Art,” To Fathers: What I’ve Never Said, Story Line Press, 2001

“Rebecca’s Journal,” Quarterly West, Fall 2000

“In Praise of Blurriness,” The Stranger, October 25, 2000

“Bob Knight, C’est Moi,” Salon, September 27, 2000

“Secret Spaces of Childhood,” Michigan Quarterly Review, Summer 2000

“The View: A Diptych,” “Properties of Language,” Northwest Edge, Summer 2000

“The Guilty Pleasures of Seattle,” Salon, June 1, 2000

“The Good Father,” The New York Times Magazine, April 23, 2000

“The Problem,” Seneca Review, Spring 2000

“Race to the Basket,” Amazon.com, January 6, 2000

“Story of Our Lives,” Threepenny Review, Winter 2000

“Taboo Topics, True Subjects,” Austin Chronicle, November 19, 1999

“Just Win, Baby,” The New York Times Magazine, October 31, 1999

“Recollection,” The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop   (Hyperion, 1999)

“Fifteen Ways of Looking at Vince Carter,” Saturday Night, March 2000; reprinted as

“Vince Carter as African-American” in Taking Sport Seriously: Social Issues in Canadian Sport (Thompson Educational Publishing), 2000

“Victory Video,” Another Chicago Magazine, #35, 1999

“Gary and Me,” Seattle Weekly, October 7, 1999

“On Views and Viewing,” McSweeney’s, Spring 1999

“The Two Best Buildings in Iowa City,” from Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, 1999

“A Preview of Coming Attractions,” Web del Sol, Spring 1999; reprinted in Brevity, Spring 1999, 5-Trope, Summer 1999, and Creative Nonfiction, Fall 2005

“Rhetorical Questions,” Last Tangos, #1, 1998

“Loud Sound,” Asha, Summer 1998

“Video Store,” Chicago Digital Cafe, March 24, 1998

“The Heroic Mode,” Seneca Review, 1997

“It,” Bricolage, Issue 14, 1997

“Are You Who I Think I Am?” Details, February 1997

“Top Ten Albums,” Soma, January/February 1997

“The Presidency,” 4D Books, October 1996

“Stuttering,” “Almost Famous,” Third Coast, Summer/Fall 1996

“Pop-Up Culture,” Brown Alumni Magazine, July 1996

“Problems and Solutions to Problems,” The Subject at the Vanishing Point,” “The Cultural Contradictions of Late Capitalism,” “The Cultural Contradictions of Early Capitalism: Postcards from Camp,” Bellingham Review, Spring 1996

“Sugar, My Sugar,” The New York Times Magazine, March 10, 1996

“If the Lyrics Are Sad,” Harper’s, February 1996

“Discerning the Forest in the Literary Trees,” Boston Globe, June 17, 1995

“Almost Famous,” San Francisco Review of Books, March/April 1995

“Why We Live at the Movies,” Fathoms, 1995

“Optical Illusions,” Vogue, April 1995; reprinted as “Girls Who Wear Glasses” in Best American Erotica 1996, Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1996 (chosen by readers as one of top 100 favorites in Best American Erotica series, 2003)

“Payton Love,” Seattle Weekly, April 12, 1995

“Act and Shadow,” Seattle Weekly, January 25, 1995

“Always,” Seattle Weekly, October 5, 1994

“Life Is Elsewhere,” Witness, Volume VIII, #2, 1994

“How to Make a Paper Hat,” Paragraph, Fall 1994

“Trial by Fury,” Writing on the Edge, Fall 1994

“Loud Sound,” Infant Tongues: The Voice of the Child in Literature, Wayne State University Press, 1994

“Almost Famous,” Witness, Volume VIII, #1, 1994

“Why We Live at the Movies,” Rotund World, 1994; reprinted in Utne Reader, September/October 1994

“Stuttering,” Verbatim, Spring 1994

“Sports,” Open City, #2, 1993; reprinted as “Sports Complex” in Harper’s, April 1994

“Information Sickness,” Zyzzyva, Spring 1993; reprinted in Harper’s, June 1993, and in Utne Reader, March/April 1994

“Air Time,” Paragraph, Winter/Spring 1993

“Eight Essays,” Witness, Volume VII, #2, 1993

“Desire,” The Threepenny Review, Spring 1993; reprinted as “In the Film Womb” in Utne Reader, September/October 1993, and as “Desire” in In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal, W.W. Norton, 1999

“Literary Pointillism,” American Notes and Queries, October 1992

“Living in the World,” Pequod, #34, 1992

“The Tradition Is Here, The Memories Are Waiting: Six Sporting Events in Search of a Sponsor,” The Stranger, June 29, 1992; reprinted as “The Tradition Is Here, The Memories Are Waiting: Several Sporting Events in Search of A Sponsor,” Witness, Volume I, #2, 1992

“The Nimbus of His Fame Made A Nullity of Us All,” Ergo, 1992

“Where We Lived and What We Lived For,” The Stranger, January 12, 1992

“Life Story,” The Stranger, December 15, 1991; reprinted as “Life Stories,” Utne Reader, May/June 1992, and as “Life Story,” in AnOther Magazine, Spring 2012

“Horizontal Hold,” Seattle Weekly, June 5, 1991

“Tube Test,” Seattle Times, May 21, 1991

“Acting Native,” Seattle Weekly, April 17, 1991

“The Big Board,” The Village Voice, July 10, 1990

“Tabloid TV Goes to Twin Peaks,” Seattle Weekly, May 23, 1990

“Wish You Were Here,” contributor to article, Alaska Airlines magazine, March 1990

“Oprah and the KING People,” Seattle Weekly, November 22, 1989

“Father’s Day,” The Village Voice, July 25, 1989; “Stories on Stage” theatrical production of story, Chicago, 1996

“Autobiographic Rapture and Fictive Irony in Nabokov’s Speak, Memory and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight,” The Iowa Review, Winter 1987

“A Note on the Conclusion of ‘The Dead,’” James Joyce Quarterly, Summer 1985


Short Stories

“The Imaginary Dead Baby Seagull,” Conjunctions, Fall 2007 (an early version of this story appeared in Between C and D, Fall 1989)

“Boys vs. Girls,” Witness, Fall 2005

“Flood,” Isotope, Winter 2004 (reprinted in substantially different version in Web Conjunctions, December 18, 2006)

“Deep Breathing,” Nerve, March 25, 2004 (reprinted in Conjunctions, Spring 2007)

“A Brief Survey of Ideal Desire,” Conjunctions, Spring 2003 (reprinted in The Story Behind the Story, Norton, 2004)

“Homeland Security,” Northwest Edge, 2003

“Properties of Language,” Yale Review, July 2001

“Ice,” Ploughshares, Spring 2001

“The Society,” Hayden’s Ferry Review, Spring/Summer 2000

“The Ecstasy of Looking: Six Proofs,” Conjunctions, Spring 2000

“Possible Postcards from Rachel, Abroad,” Web Conjunctions, February 15, 2000 (reprinted in German literary magazine Edit, Fall 2011)

“The Rachel Mysteries: A Trilogy,” Nerve, July 20, 1999

“Say Cincinnati,” Reaching Out, April 1997; reprinted in Listen With Your Heart, Friends Publications, 1998

“Audrey,” Listening to Ourselves: More Stories from “The Sound of Writing,” As Heard on National Public Radio, Anchor Books, 1994; “Stories on Stage” theatrical production of story, Chicago, 1995

“Gookus Explains the Eternal Mysteries,” Welter, 1992

“Interference,” Wind, Volume 22, #71, 1992

“Nothing,” Sun Dog: The Southeast Review, 1992

“Heart of a Dybbuk,” Confrontation, #48/49, Spring/Summer 1992

“The Fourth Wonder of the World,” Folio, Winter 1991-1992

“The Sixties,” Harper’s, December 1991

“The Heroic Mode,” Agni, #34, Fall 1991

“Dead Father,” The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1991

“Ode to the Donner Party,” Story, Summer 1991

“The Moon, Falling,” Black River Review, Summer 1991

“War Wounds,” Conjunctions, Spring 1991

“Mother’s Child,” Vital Lines: Contemporary Fiction about Medicine, St. Martin’s Press, 1990

“Contemporary Film Criticism,” Movieworks, The Little Theatre Press, 1990

“Notes on Suicide,” After Hours, Fall 1989

“The Gun in the Grass at Your Feet,” The Quarterly, Summer 1989; reprinted in English at Work, Glydendal, Norway, 1994

“Johnny Roseboro, Jim Gilliam, Tommy Davis, et al.,” The South Carolina Review, Spring 1989

“Naming Names,” Letting Go, February 1989; reprinted in To Say What Is Ours, National Stuttering Project, 1990

“Shadow and Glass,” Oxalis, Winter 1990

“Romania,” Letting Go, February 1989

“Third Rail,” Turnstile, January 1989

“Northern Light,” On the Edge, May 1989

“Oaxaca,” Lake Effect, Summer 1989

“Centrifugal Force,” Lake Effect, Summer 1989

“Wells,” From the Heartlands, Bottom Dog Press, December 1988

“Lies,” Lake Effect, Fall 1988

“Babies,” Northern Light, Summer 1988

“The War on Poverty,” Four Quarters, Fall 1988

“The Third Rail” (in a different version and under sponsorship of PEN Syndication), San Francisco Chronicle, January 12, 1986

“The Transportation of Dirt,” Northern Light, Spring 1986

“Arnie & The Boys,” Northern Light, Fall 1985


“Dying Is Easy,” “Tigre, Tigre, Burning Bright,” Knee-Jerk, September 2010

“The Sadness of the Yankee Fan,” Tin House, Spring 2010

Book Reviews

Matthew Battles, Palimpsest, The New York Times Book Review,  July 2015

Kevin Young, The Grey AlbumThe New York Times Book Review, April 20, 2012

Ander Monson, Vanishing Point, The New York Times Book Review, April 18, 2010

Thomas Glave, Whose Song? and Other Stories, The New York Times Book Review, January 7, 2001

Nicholson Baker, The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber,Village Voice Literary Supplement, May 1996 (reprinted in War of the Words: Twenty Years of Writing on Contemporary Literature, Three Rivers Press, 2001)

Curt Sampson, Full Court Pressure, Seattle Weekly, April 26, 1995

Nicholson Baker, The Fermata, American Book Review, February 1995

Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods, Philadelphia Inquirer, October 16, 1994

Frederick Barthelme, The Brothers, Los Angeles Times, January 2, 1994

William Vollmann, Butterfly Stories: A Novel, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 14, 1993

Charles Baxter, Shadow Play, Seattle Weekly, March 3, 1993

Kathryn Harrison, Exposure, Boston Globe, February 21, 1993

Janette Turner Hospital, The Last Magician, Boston Globe, September 13, 1992

Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet; Daniel Richler, Kicking Tomorrow, Seattle Weekly, September 2, 1992

Hugo Hamilton, The Last Shot, Boston Globe, June 14, 1992

Thomas Pynchon, Vineland, Seattle Times, January 14, 1990

Lorrie Moore, Anagrams, St. Lawrence, Fall 1989

Peter Bailey, Reading Stanley Elkin, St. Lawrence, Fall 1986

John Gardner, On Moral Fiction and Vlemk The Box-Painter, Chicago Review, Spring 1981