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In my daily life, I’m a juggler.  I constantly am juggling work—my day job and Kundiman, the nonprofit I co-founded—my marriage, social life, other responsibilities, and writing.  Thankfully, I live in New York City and mostly commute by subway; hence, I have a built-in time for reading.

 

Here are five titles I’m currently juggling.

 

Poetry:

3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri (Graywolf): idiosyncratic verse that is existential yet conversational; poems that are cantankerous as they are humorous; scientific language colliding with the vernacular.  Seshadri is a witty, rollercoaster, fun read.

 

not so, sea by Mg Roberts (Durga Press): full disclosure, I blurbed this collection, however, upon rereading it I’m struck again by the beauty and experiment of Roberts’ language.  She delves into matrilineal discourse, questioning and evoking in her non-lineal fashion, taking on everything from immigration, memory and the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships.

 

Fiction:

The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst (Vintage): I might be overreaching, but Hollinghurst to me is the Jane Austen of our contemporary time, or at least of the gay set.  His observation on manners in this sweeping novel is spot on.

 

Nonfiction:

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (Scribner): I’m late to this excellent account of the struggles growing up in the South Bronx, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the nation.  Published a decade ago, set in the 80s, the individuals depicted in the book are around my age, and only by some unknown twist of fate did we arrive at different stations in life.  What’s special about Random Family is the depiction and honoring of the subjects’ personal points of view.  A heart-rending, important book.

 

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert  (Henry Holt): waiting on the wing, Kolbert is a favorite (science) writer, and I had read an excerpt from this book in The New Yorker.  What are we doing to the planet?  Are the damages irreversible?  Kolbert possesses such skill for dissecting scientific facts and presenting them in lay terms—that even I can understand!

 

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Published Apr 03, 2014 - Comments Off

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