I was telling my students about the U Penn class called Existential Despair where students come to class on Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m., turn in their phones, grab a book, and read it for seven hours. When I was twelve years old, I read for seven hours straight. As a grad student, I probably read for seven hours straight, when I was in the pit of despair in 2014, I read all the Harry Potters in a row, which probably took seven hours straight but I have not read big chunks in a long time. My students want to read more but, they said, I just want to know what to read. I said, I get that. That’s why I went to grad school.
But I promised them a book club that would go beyond our semester together in Intro to Creative Nonfiction and so I’m going to organize it here. We can post comments back and forth. Maybe I’ll make a page per book but for now, I’m going to start with a list of books and the order in which we’ll read them. Anyone can opt in or opt out but I’ll be here, reading these books along with you. Or them. Or you and them. And me.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian Sherman Alexie
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Diaz
Me Talk Pretty One Day David Sedaris
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers (another reason why I write nonfiction)
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain (one reason I cook and write and write about Eggs)
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City Nick Flynn (the other reason I write nonfiction)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Tom Robbins
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston
Diary of Anne Frank Anne Frank
Refuge Terry Tempest Williams (one reason I write nonfiction)
A Visit from the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan