Columnist Elrena Evans "just finished reading Lottery by Patricia Wood, and it was so good I read an entire chapter standing in the middle of the staircase because I kind of forgot to keep walking. It's about a young man with an IQ of 76 who, as you can probably surmise from the title, wins the lottery. The characters are wonderfully crafted, and the plot kept me guessing right up until the end."
Suzanne Kamata, Fiction co-editor, reports "I'm reading The Guardians by Ana Castillo, one of the most innovative and engaged writers around. This novel is about Mexican-Americans near the border between New Mexico and Old Mexico. Castillo delivers hard truths in poetic prose without ever being preachy."
Columnist Jessica Berger Gross is "about to start Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth--what appears to be a VERY intimate look at the birth experience, from a midwife who works and lives in an intentional community in southern Tennessee. I'm also excited to read a new anthology about the yoga luminary BKS Iyengar, Iyengar: The Yoga Master, with essays from prominent yoga teachers, including my own teacher Patricia Walden."
Columnist Deesha Philyaw writes, "Of course the first thing that caught my eye about Victor Lavalle's book, Slapboxing with Jesus, was the unforgettable title (which Lavalle borrows from a Wu Tang Clan song). I'm happy to report that the stories in this collection are living up to the promises of that title: they are incredibly original, populated by memorable characters (primarily black, primarily male, primarily coming of age in the 1970s, mostly in Flushing, Queens) whose daily lives are captured brilliantly by Lavalle's tight, fiber-optic-clear prose. This is such a great read, I already took a peek into Lavalle's novel, The Ecstatic, which features a 315-pound, Ivy-league-educated, schizophrenic narrator, and his dysfunctional family--mom, grandma, and younger sister--all living under the same roof."
Finally this month, editor, columnist, and unabashed foodie Caroline Grant is enjoying David Kamp's United States of Arugula: The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra-Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. "The title says it all: this is a fun, upbeat, entertaining and informative cultural history of American food habits."