If you ask any writer they will tell you that to be a good writer you must be a good reader. With that said, I’ve compiled a summer reading list for me to keep up with my craft. Some of these titles are new and some are old but they all will get read this summer. These are 12 books I plan on tackling.
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline. This one comes highly recommended by someone I trust. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
Salsa Nocturna: Stories – Daniel José Older. This guy is pretty big on Twitter & has a collection of books that’s impressive. A 300 year-old story collector enlists the help of the computer hacker next door to save her dying sister. A half-resurrected cleanup man for Death s sprawling bureaucracy faces a phantom pachyderm, doll-collecting sorceresses and his own ghoulish bosses.
Show and Prove – Sofia Quintero. I cannot wait for this book to come out. Sofia is a good friend so this one is an easy pick. The summer of 1983 was the summer hip-hop proved its staying power. The South Bronx is steeped in Reaganomics, war in the Middle East, and the twin epidemics of crack and AIDS, but Raymond “Smiles” King and Guillermo “Nike” Vega have more immediate concerns.
Bodega Dreams – Ernesto Quiñonez. This one is a classic & I should have read this already. The word is out in Spanish Harlem: Willy Bodega is king. Need college tuition for your daughter? Start-up funds for your fruit stand? Bodega can help. He gives everyone a leg up, in exchange only for loyalty–and a steady income from the drugs he pushes.
Contraband – Charlie Vázquez. I met this dude a few months ago & I quickly realized that I needed to read his work. This riveting work of Latino noir follows the paranoid underworld exile of Volfango Sanzo, a man so haunted by his secrets that he escapes to sprawling networks of underground tunnels and labyrinths in near-future America…
NW – Zadie Smith. I saw her speak at Barnard College and she read an excerpt, I was sold. Truth be told I tried to read this before but I wasn’t ready for the brilliance; I will be now. Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals—Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood.
The Accidental Native – J.L. Torres. This is another book that comes highly recommended from someone I trust. I picked this one up a few weeks ago. When Rennie’s parents die, he does what they would have wanted and buries them in Puerto Rico, their homeland. There, he’s shocked to discover that the woman who raised him was not his biological mother.
Night at the Fiestas: Stories – Kirstin Valdez Quade. I actually got this book sent to me for free by the publisher. I’m just getting around to this now. With intensity, dark humor, and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade’s unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters torn between their desires to escape the past and to plumb its depths.
Gathering the Waters – Keisha-Gaye Anderson. My fellow Syracuse University Alum. I’ve know her a long time. I’ve seen her perform her work so adding her to this list was a no-brainer. Its the only poetry book on this but it is worth it. Gathering the Waters is a poetic outpouring of kinship, heritage, and a woman’s transformation within the world that envelops her.
Attack on Titan, Vol 1 – Hajime Isayama, Sheldon Drzka (Translator). I had to put at least ONE comic book on this list. The anime version is incredible. In this post-apocalytpic sci-fi story, humanity has been devastated by the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming mankind.
The Devil’s Nose – Ingrid Miller. I needed a book about Ecuador. At the end of the nineteenth century, thousands of Jamaicans journeyed to Ecuador to fulfill their dreams for their future. But, to secure this dream, they had to accomplish their goal, which was to build President Eloy Alfaro’s dream project – a railroad system that would connect Guayaquil and Quito.
Reconstruction, Pieces of Life Volume 1 – Serena Wills. Last but no where near least another SU alum. A very good friend of mine that just needs to be on this list. This poetry book speaks to many levels of relationships. It reads like a story and will take you through a journey of someone being in love, marital bliss to a feeling of betrayal and broken heartedness.
It will be challenge to complete this list but I’m confident. I need to read more and I hope some of you join me in reading these books. If I’m lucky, I will do another 12 for the winter.