Books I Read in January

january book1
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by songbirdmama

Wow, I don’t think I have ever read this much hard fiction since high school but it’s a good break outside of the poetry box with the dual high points of Junot Díaz’s eclectic lingua franca of the New Hersee/Dominicano experience and Djuna Barnes’ solid everywoman prose essay style of 1911-1930 New York City.

For the near future, I need to add some grammar/essay writing books into my diet so I can get some more basics down and then start writing/submitting a couple of poetry reviews. Though I’m not sure that what I want to do is an actual poetry book review style review, I would love to find that in-between road of reviewing that would get a person who liked reading Oscar Wao to get to reading some Smoking Lovely. Ya know? Cuz some of the poetry reviews I’m reading seem more interested in talking to people who already have the book in hand as opposed to getting the poetry into new hands. But that’s a rant for another day.

“The real Bronx has nothing to do with facts, as the real Greenwich Village has nothing to do with facts, as no real good woman has anything to do with facts.”
Djuna Barnes from New York: Prose Essays

• Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio by Jimmy Santiago Baca
• City Eclogue by Ed Roberson
• Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
• DC: The New Frontier, Vol. 2 by Darwyn Cooke
• The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
• Swamp Thing Vol. 2: Love and Death by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, and Shawn McManus
• May Day Speech by Jean Genet
• Slapboxing with Jesus by Victor D. LaValle
• Facts for Visitors: Poems by Srikanth Reddy
• Dark City by Charles Bernstein
• The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
• New York: Prose Essays by Djuna Barnes

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  1. Victor is amazing! You should read his book “The Ecstatic.” It is also fantastic. And he has a new novel forthcoming this Fall. I have heard him read from it and it is pure unadulterated mind-candy awesome!

  2. Hey Oscar,
    glad you got some good reading in. It makes me want to add a few books to my list and check my bookshelf!

    To share, this is what I was reading this in January:
    *A Mercy & What Moves at the Margin
    both by Toni Morrison
    *The Healing & Corregidora both by Gayl Jones
    *Voices by Lucille Clifton

  3. C. Dale: Thanks for the recommendation. I have to say, I really wasn’t feelin “Slapboxing with Jesus” very much. Many of the urban scenarios seemed very cliché and the language just didn’t click for me. I will be reading “The Ecstatic” and hope to give “Slapboxing” another go around.

    T Betts: I’m diggin your list. I plan on gettin to Ms Morrison very soon as I am very ashamed to say I have never read one Toni Morrison novel.

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