August is flying by. My family came to visit in the beginning of the month, and since then, I’ve been busy with cookouts, meteor showers, and birthday parties on top of the usual schedule of dancing, yoga, and poetry dates. I’m surprised that I even found time to read this summer. And my reading has been all over the place, thanks to recommendations from colleagues and friends.
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Borrowed from my colleague, this was the first book I fell in love with this summer. I related to much of the story—the pressure of being the overachiever, the isolation of being a minority—and thoroughly enjoyed the language from beginning to end.
- Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: Another borrowed book. Took me back to the 80s with its depiction of AIDS, Reagan, high school, sibling relationships, and New York City.
- The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani: Ever read a mystery novel that centers on conjoined twins and where most of the main characters are Black? Me neither. That’s one of the reasons I’m enjoying it so much.
Poetry Book Club
- Citizen by Claudia Rankine: A lyric essay which sparked as much conversation about race as it did about the poems and craft, if not more.
- Black Zodiac by Charles Wright: A dense mediation which our small group thought inaccessible at first; together we came to appreciate the book, especially the last poem, “Disjecta Membra.”
- The Gift by Hafiz: Just starting this book for our September meeting.
- Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davis: Fascinating story about an imposter. Reads like historical fiction, but with the footnotes to back everything up.
- Domingos Alvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World by James Sweet: Halfway through this account of a slave taken from West Africa to Brazil who used his healing powers to buy his own freedom. Of course, freedom has it consequences.
- My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor: Slowly but slowly reading this book. I only seem to have time to read it before bed.