Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to a time far, far ago aka last year. We asked our wonderful NYWC staff, board members and workshop leaders to share their favorite thing(s) they’ve read this year.
Many picked things that were released last year, while others even chose classics. Some selected fiction, others selected nonfiction. We hope you’ll find something that will intrigue you so much that you’ll either read it right away or head to you nearest local bookstore and/or library to pick it up! So here it is, NYWC’s Favorite Reads of 2019:
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
This sweeping, semi-autobiograhic novel is heavily reliant on the liberation of metaphors, and the fragile inconsistency of memory, to tell a story of the painful war between mother and son – especially when both of their bodies are products of war itself. I drank every word, punctuation and pause in this book.
Red at The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
The storytelling in this novel is immaculate. A teen pregnancy and its consequences are narrated by five different family members over the course of decades. This book is filled with the soulful exuberance, community adoration and sheer realness that I personally believe can only be found in Brooklyn (where the author is from, and where most of her characters dwell).
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
I really like Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller, who was previously known to the world as Emily Doe in the Brock Turner case. She masterfully takes control of her own narrative and exposes the many ways our criminal justice system fails survivors. And she is a deft writer — I look forward to whatever she publishes next.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
The book that stayed with me the most is Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. Intriguing plotline, sometimes implausible but haunting characters and interesting analysis of mental illness. Would love to discuss if anyone has read as no one I know has and my book group recently disbanded.
The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles
This powerful novel written by a historian chronicles the true-life story of a free black man and his family in 1860s north Texas, including Indian wars and race relations in this fraught time. It is told in poetic prose from the points of view of blacks, Indians, and a Quaker Indian agent.
Inland by Téa Obreht
The second novel from this brilliant young migrant from the former Yugoslavia, Inland is set in Arizona territory in the mid to late 19th Century. Two intertwining plots join a tough frontier wife waiting for her husband and sons to return from a desperate search for water in a terrible drought, to a ghost-haunted cameleer, veteran of an intriguing chapter in the American West.