Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Photo Credit: Phoebe Autry
I am trying to nurture some of the good habits I picked up in 2013, one of them being to read organically, without too much planning or fuss. There is something so beautiful about letting one book lead you to another. BUT. There are several books that have either recently come out or are scheduled for publication that I am really hoping to read. The list below is based on The Millions' Most Anticipated preview and only covers the first half of the year. {I am using this list because it is generally regarded as one of the most comprehensive}. It already looks like 2014 will be a great year for immigrant literature!

The UnAmericans 

by Molly Antopol 
I am currently reading Molly Antopol's debut short story collection and, to be honest, only three stories in, I am kind of shaken by it. More soon. Antopol is one of the National Book Foundation's 5 under 35 finalists for 2013.

Little Failure 
by Gary Shteyngart
This is Shteyngart's much buzzed about memoir of immigrating to the States from the USSR in the late 1970s.

The Scent of Pine 
by Lara Vapnyar 
This book's hero is a Russian immigrant academic who is feeling disillusioned with her life in America. She escapes her faultering marriage and shacks up with a colleague at a cabin in Maine where she remembers a Soviet children's camp she attended 20 years ago. People are calling the book "Russian Scheherazade". Ha! 

On Such a Full Sea 
by Chang-rae Lee 
A dystopian futurist novel in which immigrants are working in self-contained labor colonies. Oh, America.

An Unnecessary Woman 
by Rabih Alameddine 
A book about a "reclusive seventy-two-year-old Aaliya Sobi, who lives alone in an apartment in Beirut and spends her time translating books into Arabic and then stowing them away, never to be read."

Europe in Sepia 
by Dubravka Ugresic 
A collection of essays by Ugresic so that we know what to think about what's going on in Europe right now. 

All Our Names 
by Dinaw Mengestu 
Mengestu {of MacArthur, 5 under 35, 20 under 40 fame} writes a love story about two African men separated by a political revolution. The story "dramatizes the clashes between romantic idealism and disillusioned practicality, as well as between self-preservation and violence, all while blurring the identities of those who can move on, those who stay behind, and those who simply change." Fuck, yeah.

Family Life 
by Akhil Sharma 
“Life is extraordinary until tragedy strikes."


I have also promised {myself} to make an honest effort and read:
  • More literature in translation.
  • More southern literature. 
  • All of Adichie, Didion, Mengestu. 
  • Contemporary Israeli writers.
  • More short stories.
If you have recommendations that fit any of the above mentioned categories, please let them be know.


  1. Don't stop short with only contemporary Israeli writers when there are countless Palestinian authors writing about their experience of generational forced migration and home-less-ness. Whether in the diaspora or still in the occupied territories, they are worth reading for the least reason of providing a counterpoint to Israeli authors.

    1. YES! Absolutely. My reading resolution is a reflection of my ignorance, not of my lack of interest. I am only thinking of these as start-off points. Since I have your attention, would you be willing to recommend authors and/or titles? THANK YOU in advance!

  2. Definitely! I'm in transit right now but will write soon with recommendations from my library.

  3. Thanks, Buddy. I have also enjoyed your blog and will continue to check in to read your posts.