By Colorado Review Associate Editor Sarah Lin
With spring upon us and the end of the academic year almost in sight, the editors at Colorado Review have been seeking inspiration and enlightenment in our reading lists to give us that final push through to the close of the semester. Think we all have similar tastes? A survey among the magazine’s staff reveals a rather eclectic bookshelf:
Marianne Colahan is decompressing from writing and defending her MFA thesis, but is planning to re-pick up Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and finally sink her teeth into Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (editor Stephanie G’Schwind favorite novel ever, by the way).
Serena Dietze just finished reading Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, by C. J. Pascoe, and is now reading Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage, by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas. “Both sociology texts and really interesting.”
Joanna Doxey most recently read The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, by Heidi W. Durrow. According to Joanna, the book is “an easy read, [with] a quite complex view that incorporates an internally poetic voice of a preteen with narratives circling around her horrifically violent past.… Quite stunning.” Prior to that she read David Benioff’s novel City of Thieves, and next on her list is Dinaw Mengestu’s second novel, How to Read the Air. Joanna is inspired to seek out How to Read the Air because of Benioff’s first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, which she describes as being “quietly sad yet moving without being maudlin (hard balance to strike)” and says that “it was instantly put on my list of favorite lifelong books.”
Lisa Feld is reading the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy, as well as Tana French’s novel Faithful Place. Beyond that, she’s eagerly awaiting new releases in science fiction.
Over spring break Lauren Gullion read The Madonnas of Echo Park, a “great first novel by Brando Skyhorse that takes multiple, interweaving perspectives of various characters in Echo Park, the eastern part of Los Angeles.”
Merrill Shane Jones is diving into Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy; the dime novel Jesse James, the Outlaw, by W. B. Lawson; The Book of Mormon (not the musical!); and Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower.
Sarah J. Lin recently began The Lonely Polygamist, by Bradley Udall, and is planning to eventually make her way through the stack of other books on her nightstand: Picking Bones from Ash, by Marie Mutsuki Mockett; A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg; and Inheritance, by Lan Samantha Chang.
Nicholas Maistros just finished reading Michael Cunningham’s latest book, By Nightfall, about “a New York art dealer whose seemingly easy life gets turned upside down when his wife’s brother, Mizzy (short for ‘The Mistake’), comes to stay with them.” It’s a “fantastic, lushly written novel” that secures Cunningham as one of Nicholas’s personal favorites.
R. B. Moreno has been searching out classic travel writing, in support of his graduate thesis, which hopes to join the same genre. This means Bruce Chatwin, Barry Lopez, Colin Thubron, Joan Didion, Bill Buford, Robert Pirsig, and that other godfather of creative nonfiction, Paul Theroux. For a taste, consider this opening from Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express: “I had dressed and tied my shoes with more than usual care, and left the stubble on my upper lip for a mustache I planned to grow. Slapping my pockets to make sure my ballpoint and passport were safe, I went downstairs, past my mother’s hiccuping cuckoo clock, and then to Wellington Circle to catch the train. It was a morning of paralyzing frost, the perfect day to leave for South America.”
Peter Stenson finished reading The Dart League King, by Keith Lee Morris, describing it as an “amazing book with an actual plot and multiple POVs (drug dealer, dart league champ, town slut, smart disturbed kid, undercover DEA agent).” He also read Tinkers, by Paul Harding (“didn’t enjoy it, but admired it greatly”); World War Z, by Max Brooks (a “genre zombie book that was awful but amazing”); The Easter Parade, by Richard Yates (“beautiful, that’s it”); and Richard Yates, by Tao Lin (“I don’t know why this book was written, but more importantly, why I took the time to finish it”).
Felicia Zamora has been reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard,; Full Catastrophe Living, by Zach Savich; and Moral Ground: Ethical Actions for a Planet in Peril, edited by Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson.
So what’s on your reading list, lately? Anything we should add to ours?