To say that Pollinger’s Notebook was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement in the extreme. We had just opened up to submissions for the first time, and we thought it might take a while to get some good material. But the very next day, there was Pollinger’s Notebook, by Mark Burgh, sitting in our inbox, looking all innocent and unassuming. As soon as we opened that email, it blew us away.
Part of the fun of Pollinger’s Notebook is the format. It’s the technical journal of a scientist doing research on mice. Journal entries are interspersed with meeting agendas, call logs, and technical documentation. But despite being strung together through a series of separate documents, the narrative is strong and never hard to follow. The format also helps readers feel like they are discovering the tale for themselves, which makes it even more personal.
But all formatting praise aside, Pollinger’s Notebook is still a fantastic story because it makes us love the characters and yearn for the things they want. That alone is the mark of a good story, no matter the tricks used to tell it. The fact that we feel the pain and love that the protagonist feels makes it an easy choice to put this story on the list of the best stories of 2013.
Stay tuned as we revisit our favorite stories from 2013, and get ready to cast your vote in the biggest Reader’s Choice poll this side of whatever convenient landmark you are near.