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Like a Champion

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Vincent Chu’s debut story collection is funny and big-hearted, imbued with a generosity and warmth that reminds us that moments of glory can happen when we least expect it. In eighteen stories that shine a light on people far from champions, Like a Champion is an ode to underdogs and long shots, disappointed worker bees and hopeful lovers, sad office parties and one-sided ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published February 28th 2018 by 7.13 Books
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4.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  55 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Michael Ferro
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My full review of Mr. Chu's collection is now published at Fiction Writers Review:

VERDICT: It's a great book!

"The devil may be in the details, but as evidenced in Vincent Chu’s debut story collection, so are the angels. Many of the protagonists the author’s stories of quotidian American life are average joes, often marked by some strain of loneliness that has become commonplace in our modern society these days. And for that reason, it is quite easy for t
I'm working with Vincent to promote this debut collection up through its release. We're looking for readers who would like to review this fiesty collection of stories! Hit me up here on goodreads with a private message if you'd be willing to accept a digital arc in return for a review!
Rebecca Gransden
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A gentle stoicism marks these stories, almost overlooked. These tales are unshowy, recounting the tensions of mundanity, the silent challenges of the everyday, the ordinary. Set in office spaces, backroads, suburbia, and everywhere familiar in-between, Chu takes the normal and instills it with a refreshing quality. I’m still trying to pin down what this exactly is, but it has a great deal to do with the clear and condensed writing style. These stories feel accomplished without being dry, quietly ...more
Leo Robertson
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I looooooved this book!

As the title suggests, this is a book of everyday heroism. These characters aren't the traditional model of champions—but what makes a champion? Is it the accomplishment of a feat humans have never completed before, or might it be someone who accomplishes something they've never done before? Can it be as simple as a recently fired man avoiding an easy act of vengeance, the unexpected ability to laugh at oneself? Dissolving envy in order to learn why our rivals aren't as pu
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Let's take a moment to talk about reading slumps. Whether you read a book every once in a while for pleasure or rely on a strict schedule to maintain your reading goals or posts, everyone finds themselves in a reading slump. There are days when even my favorite genre or author can't inspire me to pick up a book. As a blogger who maintains a precise reading schedule, I've developed many tactics to pull myself out of the dreaded reading slump. For years now, one of my go to strategies has been to ...more
Joe Milazzo
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t know if the great American short story writer Bernard Malamud is a literary figure in danger of suffering neglect or not. But I would like to believe that, if he were still among us to defend his reputation, Malamud would find an ally in Vincent Chu, whose debut collection, Like A Champion, was published earlier this year by 7.13 Books.

Chu is a more consistently affable storyteller than Malamud (the latter could sometimes get too infatuated with his own glumness), but it would be a mista
Oct 13, 2017 added it
Shelves: blurbed

“In LIKE A CHAMPION, Vincent Chu decidedly hands us a scrappy collection of surprising, energetic stories and good, weird, sometimes sad people. It is an intimate book that made me laugh out loud more than once. We are safe in Chu’s hands as he tackles the anxious thoughts of people who want to be loved and included, of characters all-too-painfully human, and he knows exactly when to close the door on these little stories. I read this book quickly, thinking oh bless their h
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read it. And blurbed it, yo.

“Vincent Chu can do many things, tell a story, create indelible characters, and craft spot-on dialogue, but what he does most movingly in Like a Champion is unpack our greatest fears, hopes and desires, in other words, what makes us human.”
Furious Gazelle
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Characters find triumph in small moments in Vincent Chu’s new short fiction collection, Like a Champion. These quietly hopeful stories are a breath of fresh air.

Chu hands us a diversity of characters, all underdogs to varying degrees. For the most part, the stories follow a pattern: someone is having a rough day (or month, or year, or life), but then the universe sends them a small token of hope, or they find just enough courage to do something virtuous, and for one shining moment, they feel lik
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
The man across from Henriette read a book. It was a very big book, a Hunger Games or Game of Thrones kind, with a sword and flame and chess piece on the cover. Dean had never read such a big book. The man was on the very last page and Dean felt guilty suddenly for spying on him during this personal moment, but he did not stop. It was not often, he reasoned, that he would get the opportunity to observe another person at the exact moment they
Mark Phillips
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny, poignant, empathetic, and heartfelt. This is the best collection of short stories I've read since James Joyce's Dubliners. In fact, I feel that in the same way Joyce's collection of short stories embodied Irish middle class in Dublin during the early 20th century, Like A Champion does so for life in contemporary California. It's a great read that will stick with you. I highly recommend!
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I devoured these stories, couldn't stop reading. They are full of heart, insight, and perspective. The main characters are messy and flawed, some lovable, others downright unlikable. But we're always given a glimpse into what makes people speak and behave the way they do. No excuses for bad behavior or hurtful words (and they are there), just a gentle offering to see people as they are, but with a different lens.
Ben Arzate
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, ebooks
Full Review

Like a Champion is an excellent debut. Most of the stories are funny, entertaining, and charming. Vincent Chu has a way of writing prose that makes you feel like a close friend is telling the story to you. Highly recommended.
James Figy
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like a Champion is not a book about winners. The characters in Vincent Chu's debut story collection don't walk into any arena with certainty, with a win all but assured. They know they've got practically no shot but keep going for the gold anyway. The basketball team in "Squirrels," for example, simply want to "walk away from defeat chin up," after facing the toughest school in their league. "What else can you do in life?" the narrator says. "Nothing." They're not champions, but they find a way ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are moments in everyone’s life where they are faced with a decision. It could be something as simple as wanting people to try your dish at a party or something as important as facing a cheating spouse. In these moments we find the courage to speak up and do something, either to announce how good the dish is or to ignore the conversation that might end the relationship. In Like A Champion, Vincent Chu’s debut collection of short stories, we get to witness these moments of everyday people wo ...more
Jess Coopz
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Oct 27, 2018
Steph Post
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Apr 06, 2018
Melissa Perry
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Apr 29, 2018
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Nov 15, 2017
Vincent Chu
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Jay Vasudevan
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Jan 19, 2018
Jamie SW
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Jan 11, 2018
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Nov 26, 2017
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Dec 25, 2017
Ryan Luetzen
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Oct 30, 2017 added it
Nice book
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Vincent Chu was born in Oakland, California. His fiction has appeared in PANK Magazine, East Bay Review, Pithead Chapel, Fjords Review, STILL Magazine, Cooper Street, Stockholm Review, Chicago Literati, Forth Magazine, The Collapsar and WhiskeyPaper. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Sundress Publications Best of the Net. Like a Champion is his debut collection. He can be found onli ...more