Author Approved: The Poets of Puna Press Share Their Latest Reads
“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
The above quote is from the picaresque novel A Confederacy of Dunces, which happens to be the book one of Puna Press’s own authors is currently reading.
Making a cheese dip may not be the go-to activity for Puna’s authors when they’re taking a break from writing (or maybe it is), but one thing they definitely do is read the works of other writers. Here our writers tell us which books are presently on their night stands… or next to them at the bar… or with them on a hammock in Nicaragua (this one is actually true.) You’ve probably heard it before: good readers make good writers. So if you’re looking for the next thing to pick up, why not check out the diverse mix of books these fine writers are reading.
Also should be noted — Puna’s authors aren’t at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century (or maybe they are.)
Michael Klam multitasks:
Human Chain by Seamus Heaney and The Book of Books by Jimmy Jazz. Both talk about living and memory in different ways.
Adam Greenfield makes the most of his sparse free time:
I’ve been mostly too busy to read, actually, but I did force myself recently to pick up a book and read something not electronic.
So the one I’m sort of currently reading here and there is a collection of short novels by a Japanese writer named Kenzaburo Oe. The book is called Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness and it’s like Murakami on a top shelf sativa with high CBD content.
There’s existentialism, love, power, sadness, and greed that leaves both a pleasant and shocking aftertaste. It’s one of those books where after you finish a story, you softly and slowly close the book, all with a far-off look on your face, then sigh, smile, and try to absorb what the fuck you just read.
I’m a fan.
Ed Decker goes for an old favorite:
I am re-reading A Confederacy of Dunces for the 4th time. It is the second funniest book ever written and gets better with every re-read.
It was written by a guy name John Kennedy Toole who suffered from paranoia and depression due in part to the fact that he couldn’t get his grand masterpiece, A Confederacy of Dunces published. At the age of 31 he committed suicide leaving the handwritten version of his manuscript (the only one) on top of his bedroom armoire.
A few years after his death, his mother found the manuscript and submitted it to an editor – poorly handwritten manuscript and all — and the editor LOVED IT, and published.
It is a must read!
Ola Hadi connects with a surfer’s personal story, while absorbing his cultural experience, while traveling herself:
while in Nica I read Surfer’s Code by Shaun Tomson. Tomson was a pro surfer from South Africa that writes very simply and genuinely about lessons he’s learned from the ocean and living through apartheid and change in the surf universe.
He makes connections between his ocean lessons and life experiences. It’s not super rich in diction or poetic, but it’s super authentic and that makes it so beautiful. I definitely dog-eared some pages that caught me by surprise in that this very simple diction could really hit you with force and resonate deeply, because there’s no way to write like that without having first-hand experience.
Learning to surf in my 30s has given me such a deep appreciation for how difficult surfing is, and that reverence definitely transfers to anyone who’s genuinely lived it.
Tomson understands that part of the thrill of surfing is sharing the story, sharing the stoke.
* Ola has a lot more to share about her recent travels, other books on her list, and the power of reading and sharing stories. This will be featured in an upcoming blog post.
Anna Zappoli learns about an icon:
I am reading The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I like the way she starts the book “It was 1976” and she continues with all the news of that time the innocence of all.
I didn’t know that Carrie Fisher was a writer before receiving this book. I like the way she shares herself with words. I like her honesty.
My son gave me this book as a gift.
Ted Washington finishes up a trilogy:
I’m currently reading Death’s End by Cixin Liu. This is the third and final book of The Three Body Problem series.
Cixin Liu is China’s foremost science fiction writer and this series is awesome. I will admit however that the first book, so far, was the best.
It is great reading another culture’s interpretation of the future of man. No spoilers, but the author starts with the past, in particular the Chinese Revolution. The revolution is not that far removed and some people are alive today that lived through it.
Western thought has been forcibly exported for centuries and in the first book you can sense the rejection of colonialism and western thought. The past will influence the future because actions taken by characters who lived through the revolution and who don’t look kindly on humanity, make decisions endangering the Earth.
The question of what is worth saving, what culture, what religion, what customs, and of course who, is posed.
Ultimately this is an alien encounter story but it is also a coming of age story for humanity and that’s messy.
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