My Summer Reading

Last week I got on my boombox and preached class and race and caste on assumptions about reading–who’s doing it and how’re they doing it.

Today, full fresh scoop on the books that’ve rocked my nightstand. 

My Sexiest Read, Arinze Ifeakandu’s God’s Children Are Little Broken Things 

A tender collection of 9 stories about queer love in Nigeria. My favorite story is the very first. A high class Big Man seduces a small time shopkeeper by taking the shopkeeper’s manhood in his mouth and taking the reader for a ride. The story opens big questions about what constitutes real love when we’re all playing roles in every relationship; what happens to love when those roles break? 

Arinze’s brilliance on the page has so much to do with his tenderness for his characters’ lives and his gentleness with the reader—you’re going to steep real long and slow in this tea. And don’t burn your tongue, cause the sex scenes be hotttt, babe!

My Most Shooketh Read, Lan Samantha Chang’s The Family Chao

Honestly? If I could move into this novel’s restaurant and just hang with all the grease in the kitchen overhearing the gossip, family drama and Leo Chao’s foul fcn mouth—OMG! Fedex me that experience as an early Xmas gift. This book is electric. As a writer, I was floored by its immaculate structural architecture—nothing goes to waste in this book. I mean nada. Every fcn detail comes to bite you in the ass, both as a reader and def for each of these characters.

As a human, wow! How much I relished Leo Chao especially. Very few Asian characters like him exist on the page in English reading circles. And that alone is a provocative question. Who are Asian-Americans expected to be in fiction? How are they allowed to behave and when do they say fc that? And most interestingly, how does that force you to unfc whatever assumptions you hold about “the model minority”?

My Hot Gurrrl Summer Read, Xochitl Gonzalez’ Olga Dies Dreaming

A hot Puerto Rican politician. A wedding planner with the cynicism of a gadfly. And a mother who chooses attending a slippery revolution over the visceral needs of her kids. Oh, and by the way. The politician and wedding planner are siblings. In Brooklyn. Against the tide of gentrification!

If you give into a delicious beach read, you’ll swallow this book in a day. And if you’re sorry you gulped everything down that quick, Xochitl’s got ya—gurl’s writing a TV series based on all the freshness she’s served up in her debut. Plus. Her column for The Atlantic is hilarious. There’s an excellent article in the print edition (out right now) on silence and gentrification that had me all hot and heavy under the collar remembering the many times I’ve been shushed for speaking too loud…I’m telling you this writer got game. 

Happily Sweatily Reading,