Turns out that my muse wasn’t really trying to hang out with me a La Muse. (More on that later.) Instead of writing, I took long walks, drank excellent wine, and read. A lot. I am hoping that all this reading rekindles my love for novel and inspires me to breathe life into my characters. So here’s what’s new on the reading list:
Foreign Gods Inc by Okey Ndibe— It was like the love child of Chinua Achebe and Victor LaValle. A Nigerian ex pat, reduced to being a cabdriver in NYC decides go back home to Nigeria in order to steal the local diety and sell it to collectors. Half satire, half not. Foreign Gods, Inc., tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery.
Raw by Mark Haskell Smith— This one reminds me of Erasure by Percival Everett, but without the complication of racial politics. Imagine if one of the dudes from your MFA workshop were to ghostwrite a novel for “The Situation” from Jersey Shore. Then imagine a young woman from that same class, she’s a blogger now, and is determined to unmask the ghost writer. That’s the plot here. Soapy, goofy, but smart fun. Reality TV hunk and People magazine’s “sexiest man alive”, Sepp Gregory goes on a book tour to promote his debut novel, a thinly veiled autobiography. Not that Sepp has actually read the book, he doesn’t have to, he lived it! The book becomes a sensation, a New York Timesbestseller, and, surprisingly, it even gets rave reviews from serious critics. Aside from Harriet Post, that is.
Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile— Did you read Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season? (You should! It just won the Ernest Gaines Award, but I digress.) Well, Queen Sugar covers similar territory– a black woman ends up running a sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. While Locke’s book centers around a murder, this is more of a family story. It’s a good read lots of plot twists, action, romance. Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.