A Particular Kind of Black Man

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“The protagonist of my novel is forced to construct a persona because the persona that he inherits from his father and from society doesn’t match who he actually is.” Nigerian American author Tope Folarin, winner of the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing, talks about the theme of identity construction in his debut novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man (Simon & Schuster, 2019).

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Costalegre

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This book trailer by filmmaker Diego Ongaro introduces Courtney Maum’s third novel, Costalegre (Tin House Books, 2019), which tells the story of an American heiress and art collector, her neglected teenage daughter, and the elite group of artists who escape into the Mexican jungle on the eve of World War II. For more from Maum, read her installment of Ten Questions.

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Esmé Weijun Wang on Taking Compliments

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“We can be unrelentingly hard to ourselves, and under such circumstances, it’s a shame to not let the world’s light stick to us when we have the chance.” Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias (Graywolf Press, 2019), speaks about the importance of prioritizing compliments over criticism in this PBS NewsHour video.

Roughhouse Friday

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“Every conversation between us then had a way of spiraling into the same abyss. Real men were impossible to understand. Real men suffered. Real men were broken.” Jaed Coffin reads from his second memoir, Roughhouse Friday (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and talks about his experiences barroom boxing in Alaska with Kathryn Miles for Portland Public Library’s Literary Lunch series.

Summer Reading Recommendations

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In this PBS NewsHour video, NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the Washington Post’s Carlos Lozada highlight their favorite books for summer reading, which include Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press, 2019), Jill Ciment’s The Body in Question (Pantheon, 2019), and José Olivarez’s Citizen Illegal (Haymarket Books, 2018).

The Starless Sea

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The Starless Sea (Doubleday, 2019), the follow-up to Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus, follows a graduate student who discovers a library book that inexplicably tells a story from his own past leading him to a mysterious underground world filled with ancient books, lost cities, pirates, painters, and lovers.

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Gay Boys and the Bridges Who Love Them

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“It is not what drove your body here like a stolen car. / why you abandoned it on this unreasonable ledge....” This Button Poetry video features sam sax’s poem “Gay Boys & the Bridges Who Love Them” from his second collection, Bury It (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), and is directed by Seth Moore and Cole Smothers with choreography by Matthew Bovee and Sarah Adam.

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The Future of Books

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“The questions that I try to answer in the book, through fiction, are questions about people I knew when I was a child…I made up the answers because I could not access the real answers.” In this Entertainment Weekly video, De’Shawn Charles Winslow, author of the debut novel, In West Mills (Bloomsbury, 2019), speaks with fellow debut authors Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Sarah M. Broom, Linda Holmes, and Lisa Taddeo about the inspiration and evolution of their books. Winslow is featured in “First Fiction 2019” in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Dunya Mikhail With the National Arab Orchestra

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“Yesterday I lost a country. / I was in a hurry, / and I didn’t notice when it fell from me...” Dunya Mikhail reads her poem “I Was in a Hurry” in Arabic and English, accompanied by the National Arab Orchestra. Her fourth poetry collection, In Her Feminine Sign (New Directions, 2019), is featured in Page One in the July/August 2019 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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