I’ve been terrible, readers. This spring’s schedule of teaching and keeping up with multiple writing jobs has overwhelmed me and I haven’t been able to keep up with regular posts. But I haven’t abandoned Writerly Life! This blog will still be a vital source of tips and techniques and larger thoughts about what it means to be a writer; but I’ll have to hold myself accountable and devise a posting schedule that is truly manageable. So for the future, let tell you to expect a weekly post, but one with greater length and substance than your average posts. I’ll be working hard on those posts to make sure they’re up to a high standard, and that they get you thinking about writing, memory, life, creativity, and much more. Don’t give up on me yet!
At the same time, of course, I’ll be wearing my other hat of acting as co-editor of my new literary magazine, Two Cities Review. You’ll see me over there, writing about the intersection of writing and city life, and you can expect any relevant post about writing to wander over here as well.
For now, keep reading, and keep writing. What I have been working on this week, as my classes wind down, is a list of book recommendations for my students, and I thought you might benefit from it as well. I’ve collected by no means an exhaustive list, but this is a list of my favorite reads from the past three years of my reading. I’ve grouped them according to category. Enjoy, and make sure you take a good book as a beach read this week, not a bad book!
Dystopia, Magic Realism, or Thought-Provoking Strangeness:
On Such a Full Sea, Chang-rae Lee
At Night We Walk in Circles, Daniel Alarcon
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
After Dark, Haruki Murakami
Swamplandia!, Karen Russell
1Q84, Haruki Murakami
Tense Family Drama
Family Life, Akhil Sharma
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, Nick Flynn
Stunning Suspense and Action
Deliverance, James Dickey
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
Modern Life: Romance, Relationships, etc.
The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.,
The Surrendered, Chang-rae Lee
Dear Life, Alice Munro
NW, Zadie Smith
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner
A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul
Time’s Arrow, Martin Amis
The Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware
Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan