This week the CO received/checked out from the library the following books:
The light of fires. The light of stars.
The light that reflects off rivers.
Light that penetrates through cracks.
Then there’s the type of light that reflects off the skin.
—Nilo Cruz, Anna in the Tropics
This lush romantic drama depicts a family of cigar makers whose loves and lives are played out against the backdrop of America in the midst of the Depression. Set in Ybor City (Tampa) in 1930, Cruz imagines the catalytic effect the arrival of a new "lector" (who reads Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to the workers as they toil in the cigar factory) has on a Cuban-American family. Cruz celebrates the search for identity in a new land.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs, playing too much Dungeons and Dragons, and trying to catch glimpses of nudity on late-night cable TV. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school—when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria—his social doom is sealed for the next four years.
But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. And although he’s just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that maybe this summer things will be different. If all goes according to plan, that is.
There will be trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through, and state-of-the-art profanity to master. He will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy of ’85, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, with a little luck, things will turn out differently this summer.
When they reach the camp, their struggles are far from over. Na Pho is a forgotten place where life consists of squalid huts, stifling heat, and rationed food. Still, Vonlai tries to carry on as if everything is normal. He pays attention in school, a dusty barrack overcrowded with kids too hungry to learn. And, to forget his empty stomach, he plays soccer in a field full of rocks. But when someone inside the camp threatens his family, Vonlai calls on a forbidden skill to protect their future—a future he's sure is full of promise, if only they can make it out of Na Pho alive.
In her compelling debut, Laura Manivong has written an evocative story that is vividly real, strongly affecting, and, at its heart, about hope that resonates in even the darkest moments.
-All summaries from Amazon.com
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