An Idaho farmer who aches for absolution after a tragedy is given one more chance at redemption. Two runaways cross paths in a Tennessee bus station with only one ticket between them. A family sees looters racing toward their home as they escape an Oregon wildfire. A young couple takes a reckless turn off a state highway in Utah and find themselves in a nightmarish government biohazard area.
These and 46 more shorts make up an anthology that will surprise readers with each new thought-provoking story as they skip across different genres, moods, and states of mind. Together, they provide a character-driven sampling of the American experience over the last 60 years — the kind and the cruel, the heroic and criminal — in unpredictable and exciting ways.
50 States is an award-winning debut collection of short stories that captures the human condition and how perception shapes destiny. The book spans several literary genres with each short story set in a different state across America.
"No matter how short or long, Becker captures some unique piece of emotion or poignant thought that lingers long after the next story arrives. Each story was well-written and thought-provoking."
"Each tale focuses on the emotions of the different characters, and it is this depth that will hook readers in!"
“Written in sparse, understated prose reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout’s ‘Olive Kitteridge,’ Becker’s tightly focused stories pack a punch.”
A cleverly conceived, character-driven, if overstuffed, anthology sure to delight and enchant.
"...Richard is a superb writer, with an eloquent tongue and a tremendous turn of phrase, and these gems are each a standalone high-brow work of art."
"The authors' storytelling bore a resemblance to the style of the acclaimed Russian short storyteller Anton Chekhov in brevity and addressing salient issues of human existence" — OnlineBookClub
A stellar debut with 50 States! I stayed for Richard's imaginative writing that made me feel as though I was really beside these characters and experiencing their pain and joy. I fell in love with how each short story packs a punch and is memorable on its own
The writing is gripping, the characters are regular people from all walks of life forced to survive with the hand that destiny dealt them, the action is fast and entertaining, and the atmosphere is immersive.
"An impressive short story collection that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions."
Author Richard R. Becker has announced the release of 50 States, an intriguing collection of short stories that captures the kind and the cruel, the heroic and the criminal as it examines the American landscape over the past 60 years. This raw, unorthodox approach to the human condition is a standout work that frames the smallest glimpses of unconnected lives as the fabric of a nation.
Last year, American writer Richard R. Becker set out on an ambitious story writing project: write 50 short, short stories in 50 weeks, sharing one a week on his Facebook page. What emerged was a cross-genre exploration of the human condition. The collection, called 50 States, is also a composite of periods and places, with each story set in a different state.
With all 50 stories complete, Richard is exploring publishing options for the collection while simultaneously starting work on two more writing projects. So, we decided to catch up with him and ask a few questions about the projects. ...
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hey, my name is Richard Becker, and 50 States is my debut collection of short stories. While this is my first book of fiction, I’m no stranger to publishing. I’ve contributed to five nonfiction books and also have a sketchbook shelved with the Brooklyn Art Library.
Aside from books, I’ve worked as a professional writer, journalist, and communication strategist all my life. Telling stories is not new, but having the freedom to express ideas outside of commercial restraint is especially liberating.
Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.
Thanks so much for including me on TRB! My name is Richard Becker, and I’m the author of 50 States. Until recently, I was best known as an accredited business communicator and president of Copywrite, Ink., which is a writing services and strategic communication firm based in Las Vegas.
For more than 30 years, I’ve developed campaigns for clients all over the world, including the City of Henderson, Fidelity Investments, McDonald’s, National Emergency Number Association (NENA), U.S. Air Force, and Volkswagen. Concurrently, I’ve worked as a journalist, magazine publisher, and university instructor. I’ve also been very active in my community, helping out on nonprofit and professional organization boards. Right now, for example, I’m serving as a city council-appointed parks commissioner for the City of Las Vegas.
Over the years, I’ve refocused my work with those who aspire to make the world a better place or seek to advance humankind. Along with this, I’m investing more time into writing fiction. ...
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was raised by my grandparents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after my father was killed in a car accident. They were poor and my grandmother suffered with cancer. Just before she died, I was relocated to live with my mother and her new family in Burnsville, Minnesota, and later Las Vegas. I left Las Vegas to attend school, but fate led me back. I don’t have any pets because my daughter is a travel softball player, but I’m pretty sure I will have a dog someday.
Richard R. Becker is an award-winning American writer. His debut collection of experimental and speculative fiction began as a project to write one story a week for 50 weeks.
As a journalist, Richard has written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, with his byline appearing in the Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, and publications for Simon & Schuster and Paramount Communications. He also scripted a documentary produced with PBS and contributed to five books related to marketing, public relations, and management.
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write 50 States?
Growing up, I was always the kid with a story. Every stuffed animal, every game, every play activity had a back story. The only problem was that I couldn’t read or write, so I’d either illustrate my stories or share them verbally. It wasn’t until I switched majors in college from psychology to journalism, with an emphasis in advertising, that I learned to write well enough to establish a career as a journalist and copywriter. However, I became so busy writing articles and commercial work that I could not focus on fiction writing. ...
An exciting debut author has released a new collection of 50 short stories that captures the human condition and how perception shapes destiny. The book, 50 STATES by Richard R. Becker, spans several literary genres with each short story set in a different state across America.
This week, Ira spoke with Richard Becker, author of 50 states, a collection of short short stories. His experimental and speculative fiction began as a project to write one story a week for 50 weeks. In this non-fiction episode of Ira’s Everything Bagel, Richard talks about his career as a strategic communicator and writer; his decision to write a book of fiction, connecting stories with all 50 states; how the project started and then grew into book form; why he chose the path to fiction; the reaction to some of his stories (some negative); his approach to writing in short form and how technology helps get the word out about his work (think websites, blogs and social media!)Richard is an award-winning American writer. His debut collection continues to expand many of these stories for inclusion in a second collection, and he expects some will evolve into larger works.
Wisconsin-born Nevada author Richard R. Becker has released the audiobook edition of 50 States, a debut collection of short stories that takes place across the American landscape over the past 60 years. The book's Kindle edition broke Amazon's top 100 bestselling literary short story category in January 2022, climbing to number 62 and remaining in the top 100 for ten consecutive days.
Please give us a short introduction to what 50 States is about.
50 States is a collection of 50 short stories that capture the human condition across the American landscape over the last 60 years — the kind and cruel, the heroic and criminal — in unexpected and suspenseful ways.
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an award-winning American writer who has worked as a copywriter, journalist, and strategic communicator for more than 30 years. Before retiring from teaching, I taught classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for 20 years.
Before writing fiction, I contributed to five nonfiction books, including “Beyond Generation X: A Practical Guide for Managers,” the American Ambulance Association’s “Public Relations Handbook,” and “Forget Us Not: Armenian Genocide Commemorative.” I’ve also scripted a documentary produced with PBS. ...