Reading List for One Book One Bronx
June 2019 — Selection
We the Animals
by Justin Torres
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Aug 30, 2011)
List Price: $18.00 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 126
Synopsis: An exquisite, blistering debut novel. Three brothers tear their way through childhood smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful. Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.
May 2019 — Selection
The Crazy Bunch
by Willie Perdomo
PublicAffairs (Apr 02, 2019)
List Price: $18.00 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 128
From a prize-winning poet, a new collection that chronicles a weekend in the life of a group of friends coming of age in East Harlem at the dawn of the hip-hop era
Willie Perdomo, a native of East Harlem, has won praise as a hip, playful, historically engaged poet whose restlessly lyrical language mixes “city life with a sense of the transcendent” (NPR.org). In his fourth collection, The Crazy Bunch, Perdomo returns to his beloved neighborhood to create a vivid, kaleidoscopic portrait of a “crew” coming of age in East Harlem at the beginning of the 1990s. In poems written in couplets, vignettes, sketches, riffs, and dialogue, Perdomo recreates a weekend where surviving members of the crew recall a series of tragic events: “That was the summer we all tried to fly. All but one of us succeeded."”
April 2019 — Selection
Training School for Negro Girls
by Camille Acker
The Feminist Press at CUNY (Oct 23, 2018)
List Price: $17.95 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 232
"This flawlessly executed work reinvigorates the short fiction genre." —BUST "Acker perfectly captures the varied experiences of her characters, making clear that each of [their] lives is worth exploring individually, and valued as being one shining part of the ocean of human experience." —NYLON When you’re black and female in America, society’s rules were never meant to make you safe or free. Camille Acker’s relatable yet unexpected characters break down the walls of respectability politics, showing that the only way for black women to be free is to be themselves.
March 2019 — Selection
by Akwaeke Emezi
Grove Press (Feb 13, 2018)
List Price: $24.00 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 240
An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.
Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: As?ghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves?now protective, now hedonistic?move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.
Narrated from the perspective of the various selves within Ada, and based in the author’s realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and mental health, plunging the reader into the mystery of being and self. Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.
January 2019 — Selection
Bloodchild and Other Stories
by Octavia Butler
Seven Stories Press (Oct 04, 2005)
List Price: $14.00 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 224
A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes "Bloodchild," winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and "Speech Sounds," winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, "Amnesty" is a story of a woman named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between humans and a species of invaders. Also new to this collection is "The Book of Martha" which asks: What would you do if God granted you the ability—and responsibility—to save humanity from itself?
Like all of Octavia Butler’s best writing, these works of the imagination are parables of the contemporary world. She proves constant in her vigil, an unblinking pessimist hoping to be proven wrong, and one of contemporary literature’s strongest voices.
December 2018 — Selection
If Beale Street Could Talk
by James Baldwin
Penguin Books (Oct 06, 2006)
List Price: $14.95 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 197
In this honest and stunning novel, Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin creates two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.
Now a Motion Picture (Annapurna Pictures, Dec 14, 2018)
Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, If Beale Street Could Talk honors the author’s prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.
November 2018 — Selection
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
by Audre Lorde
Crossing Press (Jun 01, 1984)
List Price: $14.95 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 190
essays & speeches
October 2018 — Selection
by Ernesto Quiñonez
Vintage (Mar 14, 2000)
List Price: $15.95 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 224
“A new and authentic voice of the urban Latino experience.” —Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican
In a stunning narrative combining the gritty rhythms of Junot Diaz with the noir genius of Walter Mosley, Bodega Dreams announces the arrival of a writer who The Village Voice has already hailed as “a Writer on the Verge.”
The word is out in Spanish Harlem: Willy Bodega is king. Need college tuition for your daughter? Start-up funds for your fruit stand? Bodega can help. He gives everyone a leg up, in exchange only for loyalty — and a steady income from the drugs he pushes.
Lyric, inspired, and darkly funny, this powerful debut novel brilliantly evokes the trial of Chino, a smart, promising young man to whom Bodega turns for a favor. Chino is drawn to Bodega’s street-smart idealism, but soon finds himself over his head, navigating an underworld of switchblade tempers, turncoat morality, and murder.