Tabitha Jensen-Blankenbiller is a graduate of the Pacific University MFA program currently living in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been featured in Hobart, Brevity, Barrelhouse, The Rumpus, Passages North, and other journals. She is a regular contributor to Bustle and PDXX Collective. A native Pacific Northwesterner, she is snobby about coffee, salmon, and what constitutes an actual rainstorm. Her essay collection "Eats of Eden: A Year of Food and Fiction" is forthcoming from Alternating Current Press in Fall 2017.

Chee's 'The Queen of the Night' Is A Blazing Star

If I can credit one book with changing the course of my life, one that nudged me deeper into libraries and out of a college major most would deem “practical,” it would be Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. It was a novel you “lived” in, recounting…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

8 Cookbooks For Your First Thanksgiving Feast

Whether you're contributing to the family potluck or hosting a full-fledged Friendsgiving in your own place, your first Turkey Day as an Adult Cooking Participant can be overwhelming. On my first Thanksgiving way back in 2005, I leapt into the deep e…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Love, Betrayal, & Fast Cars In Williams' Latest

It takes a supremely talented writer to keep a reader ravenously flipping ahead for more than 400 pages. This was the power that Beatriz Williams’ Along the Infinite Sea (G.P. Putnam's Sons) held over me. Her power to tease with pitch-perfect timing…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Chinelo Okparanta's Novel Will Move You To Tears

It may be a little early to make sweeping statements about The Year in Books, but Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees (HMH) is my runaway frontrunner for the most important novel of 2015. But not because it proclaims its importance. Narrated by…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

The Novel You'll Want To Read With Your Friends

Think you work in a bad environment? Welcome to the workplace from hell in Elisabeth Egan's A Window Opens . We visit a modern tech corporation, reminiscent of the one we saw in Dave Eggers' The Circle, this time in the form of an invented Amazon-es…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

A Summer Southern Gothic Novel You'll Love

With the strange and spectacular release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman , the southern gothic tradition has re-emerged at the center of the literary conversation. It’s in this glorious book culture moment that Let Me Die in His Footsteps , Lori Ro…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Are You Ready To Meet Your New Best Frenemy?

The last decade of our pop culture pantheon is teeming with unlikable men that we're fans of — but unlikable women? That's a whole other conversation. Pop culture seems totally fine with giving the thumbs up to guys like Don Draper and Walter White, …
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Let's Talk About Family, Shall We?

Many novels involve a character’s relationship with her family. Whether they are close or absent, dysfunctional or aloof, a family gives characters shape and context. A writer can illuminate a character’s motivations, shortcomings, deepest desires an…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Claire Fuller's Debut Is Shocking & Unforgettable

There are many things I’d like to say about Claire Fuller's debut novel Our Endless Numbered Days (Tin House). Enough that I’d like to send a copy to every friend I know so that we can all dissect it together. Enough that I’m already looking forward…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

What Do You Do When Your Book Doesn't Sell?

If you’ve ever submitted work for publication, you’re familiar with the harrowing Wait. Yet maddening as the experience is, you're in the minor leagues compared to the World Series of Soul-Crushing Waits: waiting for your book to sell. By the time mo…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

'Some Other Town' Is A Quietly Beautiful Debut

Occasionally the universe seems to be trying to tell us something. Odd little coincidences begin to add up, serendipity whispers, and a difficult (or sometimes unapparent) decision suddenly becomes clear. This idea of providence and divine influence …
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Emma Hooper's Debut Will Make Even A Skeptic Cry

I don’t cry during many books. But when I do, it is the level of ugly-cry devastation that becomes legendary. My mom still shudders when recounting my breakdown after finishing Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. And I remember my then-alarmed high…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

In Holocaust History, Does One Love Story Matter?

In the abyss of one of history’s greatest tragedies, does one person's story matter? This is the question at the heart of Sarah Wildman’s Paper Love (Riverhead), a memoir of chasing a ghost — specifically, the ghost of Valy Scheftel, a woman Wildman’…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

The New Book You'll Make All Your Friends Read

"I am trying to decide what you need to know about Finn before we start," the narrator of Chloe Caldwell's Women (SF/LD Book) sorts out aloud in the beginning paragraphs. "I don't know if I will be able to get you to see her the way I saw her. I worr…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

2014 Delivers Another Amazing Book

In fiction, there are a few types of characters: ones you instantly forget; ones who stay fresh in your mind as favorites; and once in a great while, ones who seem so real they could be in the next room over. A cast of these rare, "real" characters m…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

'The Quick' is a Nonstop Literary Thrill Ride

There are books that surprise you, and books that shock you. For The Quick (Random House), the debut novel by Lauren Owen, we may need to invent an entirely new category of literary hairpin pivots. The Quick contains a secret that must be read to be …
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

The Darkest Debut You'll Read All Summer

Katherine Faw Morris’s debut novel Young Gods (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is brutal. There is not a single moment in the book that lacks intensity; Young Gods can be described as an adrenaline shot. What is questionable is whether the violence and an…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

'Til the Well Runs Dry' Overflows with Secrets

Every good novel has a secret or two that brings it alive. What's remarkable about the secrets woven through Lauren Francis-Sharma’s 'Til the Well Runs Dry (Henry Holt) is their tenacity and heft; the way that secrets grow and stretch into characters…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

'There Goes Gravity' Hits the High Notes

Writers are told that a truly talented wordsmith can make any subject interesting. David Foster Wallace proved the point with lobsters, as did Susan Orlean with orchids. Making a narrow history approachable and captivating to a broad audience is a ta…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller

Is 'Until You're Mine's' Secret Worth Keeping?

Literary thrillers are Death Valley hot right now; they're the Lupita Nyong'o of the impending summer Adirondack chair reading season. Made popular by 2012’s blockbuster Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, an obligatory, unforeseen plot twist is the latest r…
By Tabitha Blankenbiller