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George Saunders’ Endearing Fox 8, Postmodernism Fiction, Italo Calvino’s Lightness, Propositions, and so on.

I have been teaching a lot of foxes this semesterand murder.I should say that by now I shouldn’t really be surprised how my workshop classes end up experimenting with murder, mystery and light-heartedness, yet still, I’m often amazed by how much beauty and brokenness emerges from the stories we… Read more

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Power to the alternate memory of history

Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is the most ambitious novel I’ve so far read this year. Madeleine Thien’s 2016 Man Booker finalist is not only ambitious in its narrative structure but also in its memorialization and retelling of the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong’s communist regime. Lovers of fat… Read more

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Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad Invites Us to Commune with the Past

This book will break your heart            then mend it                       and break it again.The history of slavery is a loaded cannon but Colson softens the blow without diminishing the cruel realities of that era by converting the metaphor of the “underground railroad”… Read more

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The Year of the Hare

It’s that time of year when I think about the next classes for Spring, and if time permits, beyond Spring. The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna magically fell into my lap while I was browsing. I was skimming through the selected poems of Herbert Lomas online when I saw Arto’s book listed at the… Read more

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On Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing novel

This is not going to be a review.I came to this great novel via my compatriot and mentor in Syracuse, Arthur Flowers. He left me a phone message praising the novel and also suggesting that it reminded him of some of the strategies I was dealing with (or needed to pay attention to) in my… Read more

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Reading for pleasure, the deliciousness of it to surprise you.

One of those moments at Wash park, Denver.I haven’t read for pure pleasure in a long time. I’d almost forgotten the feeling, the thrilling joy of the gullible trip. This means I’ve lately been reading with alloyed delight, having all kinds of intentions in mind: discovery, study, theory,… Read more

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Current African Literature Sample

Lining up for books at the African Writers Trust International Conference in Uganda, 2015. Left to right: Melissa Kyeyune, Jennifer Makumbi, Goretti Kyomuhendo, Jackee B Batanda, and yours truly. AWT imageOften I’m asked, besides Chinua Achebe and Amos Tutuola, which other African writers should… Read more

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Changing My Mind and Other Readings

At a library in MemphisWhere did reading take you this year? is how goodreads posed my 2015 in books. So I’m going to share my reading list which is likely to extend into 2016, and ask you dear reader to share yours too.Making and exchanging reading lists is one of the ways to stay engaged with… Read more

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On Milan Kundera–Ignorance, The Odyssey, and Teju Cole

I did not read The Unbearable Lightness of Being but watched the movie instead. As all movies adapted from great books, I was left wondering what I had missed. Later, when I had a chance to read The Curtain, I underlined almost every sentence. I loved the plot summaries of all the books that… Read more

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The Liminal in Ali Smith continued

Picture taken outside Memphis library, Tennessee, May 2013 David Whyte in his book, Crossing the Unknown Sea, suggests that, “at the threshold of loss, we look back to gain a glimpse of the nature of anything we have ever held in our hands.” After reading several works of Ali Smith: Hotel… Read more

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