What I’m Reading

January 2015

Citizen by Claudia Rankine. Yes, it is awful that I haven’t read this yet. I know.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche Yes, it is awful that I haven’t read this yet. I know.

Native Son by Richard Wright. It’s one of my favorites, and I have not read it in a very long time.

Long Division by Kiese Laymon. Most of last year I ran around shoving Kiese Laymon’s essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America into the hands of anyone who would let me. I’m looking forward to reading his fiction.

The Tyranny of the Meritocracy by Lani Guinier. I don’t see how working on bettering our education system isn’t the top priority of everyone, even those who don’t consider themselves to be ‘political.’ For all my generalized frustrations, it is wonderful when someone makes a coherent analysis of current failings.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. Yes, it is awful that I haven’t read this yet. I know.

Esther Stories by Peter Orner. I read these stories at the end of last year. They will not let me go.

Various works by the following poets:

Amiri Baraka. We lost him at the beginning of this year. I believe I’ll dig into some of his plays, as well as his poetry, as I am not as familiar with his stage work.

Nikki Finney

Natasha Tretheway

Kwame Dawes

Sean Hill Who I will note , with great pride, teaches at my MFA alma matter

 

Graphic-wise, I’m still dug into Fatale and Morning Glories and Saga and Pretty Deadly and East of West and Chew and Lazarus. My wonderful comic book store person recommended Black Science and he was, as always, right. I know I should check-out Sex Criminals, but I’m holding off on it for a little bit longer.

 

October 2014

Sooo….maybe I should go ahead and make updating this page an every-other-month goal….ahem

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Gripping and simple and beautiful thus far.

The Other by Thomas Tryon. When people ask me to list my favorite books of all time, this always makes the top five. I discovered it randomly at a young age at a Hospice Book Sale. It has never left me. It never will. I read it at least once a year. October, in general, is a good time for doing so.

White Girls by Hilton Als. There is nothing I can say about this book that has not already been said by so many.

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness by Kevin Young. Damn, y’all. Just…damn.

I am still working my way through Fatale and Morning Glories. I am also doing my best to stay caught-up with SAGA. But, as many of you know, I experience physical anxiety without narrative closure, so I’m also trying to keep my pace at one that will not leave me chewing my lips raw in anticipation of the next release. Well see how that goes.

I am ashamed to see that there is no poetry here. No short stories, either. This shall be rectified.

August 2014

Man, is it August? Okay, it’s not as if I didn’t read anything in July, but I did spend more time reading apartment listings and mover’s contracts than anything interesting or literary.

Ah, but now that I am (sort-of) settled in Maine, I can once again get back to it. Here’s what I’m up to this month.

Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. My fella at the Columbia comic book store, Rock Bottom Comics, recommended this after we discussed our mutual love of Lock&Key. I haven’t even cracked it open yet, but I did pick it up from my new comic book store in Bangor, Top Shelf Comics. Here’s hoping my new store is as awesome as my last, and that this series is just as creepy and wonderful as promised.

The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van by Roddy Doyle. Look, there’s gonna be a lot of Roddy Doyle on here. Sometimes I play the New Yorker Fiction Podcast of his and pretend he’s reading me to sleep.

The poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I just moved to Maine; it’s kind of required.

Roxane Gay’s essay collection Bad Feminist comes out this month. This is important. This is very important.

 

June 2014

The Leavetaking by John McGahern. Quiet people trying to live quiet lives but not allowed to do so by a culture that condemns their marriage. And, of course, all of this vividly experienced through McGahern’s remarkable prose.

Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Bathes. Look, it’s not easy reading, but it’s well worth the pain for his ideas on the way humans interact with photographs, especially as he discusses the cultural meanings created, e.g.  “great photographers are great mythologists.”

Pity the Beautiful poems by Dana Gioia. Children who lose parents are orphans. But we have no word for parents who lose children. Maybe this is because for many years it was expected that people would lose at least one child. Or maybe it is because to name something is to enact power over it, and there is no power to be had over this grief.
I don’t know.
For awhile now, it has bothered me that English doesn’t have this word. My sister lost a child this year. It bothers me more now. Dana Gioia lost a child. Some of his poems are about this grief.

After the Revival poems by Carrie Jerrell. A great combination of high art and honky-tonk for which I happen to have a massive soft spot.

Re-reading Locke&Key the graphic series written by Joe Hill, art by Gabriel Rodriguez. This series finished-up earlier this year and now that the trades are out and about, I’m reading through them in large chunks.

The Last Broadcast by Andre Sirangelo and Gabriel Iumazark. I picked the first floppy of this up at Rock Bottom, my local comic book store, solely for the art. I have not been disappointed.

Morning Glories written by Nick Spencer,  art by Joe Eisma. This series has been going on for awhile. It’s been acclaimed for awhile. I didn’t pick it up because the cover features a young girl in a prep school uniform and I assumed there was some kind of awful school-girl fantasy element to it . I was wrong. I often am.

I also want to mention that both John Fullbright and Mick Flannery have new albums out. Both great song writers. Both great musicians. Both albums decidedly worth at least a listen, and I happen to think a purchase.

 

May 2014

Yell Hound Blues poems by the ever lovely and fierce Anne Barngrover

The Art of the Lathe poems by B.H. Fairchild. I’m (very) late to this collection, but I can’t stop reading it.

The Color of the Land Race, Nation, and the Politics of Landownership in Oklahoma, 1832-1929

Anything Roxane Gay cares to pen. Seriously, I’d read a book about algorithms if she wrote one.

And, I ain’t gonna lie, I’ve also been re-reading the Ken Bruen series. Ya know what? It’s summer. I gots time to indulge my crime genre fix. Also, I miss Galway and these books are lie twisted, heart-broken love letters to that city.

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