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Pandemic reading ideas: Author Donna Miscolta shares some books she admires

caption: Donna Miscolta
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Donna Miscolta
Courtesy of Meryl Schenker

The pandemic has altered our daily lives. Many of us are reading more. It's a source of joy and escape. Donna Miscolta is the author of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories. We asked her to share four titles she recommends for these times.

The Conquered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting. -Veronica Montes

“What I love about this chapbook is that each little story is a miracle of language. It has vibrant imagery. It has precise and unexpected turns of phrases. And it has layers of meaning, all of which make a beeline to your heart. Montes writes about family, loss, human connection. In one story, she turns the mundane domestic task of the laundry into an exquisite meditation on the socially imposed restrictions on women's lives. It's just magical to read her writing."

Take a Stand, Art Against Hate, A Raven Chronicles Anthology

“It's an anthology from Raven Chronicles, a local small press which for decades operated as a literary magazine and published many marginalized voices. It was inspired as a response to Trump's characterization of Mexicans as rapists, when he announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, and the increase in hate crimes since then. I think this anthology is an example of the role of art in raising awareness, and in inspiring hope and social change. It just feels like a good friend to have on the shelf.”

How to Walk on Water and Other Stories. -Rachel Swearingen

“I mentioned this book in my blog. I wrote, “Each story is peopled with characters that may seem alarmingly quirky, or woefully damaged, yet you're convinced they exist in the world, because the writing touches so close to our deeply held human desires and secrets. This is what I love about the book. It's the range of stories in terms of the characters. Each story allows you to inhabit the characters, their wants, and needs, all of their complications.”

Letters to a Young Brown Girl. Poems by Barbara Jane Reyes

“These are poems that are directed at young women of color, and especially Filipino American girls. These poems are recognitions of their existence, affirmations of their power. They’re a call to rise up and be counted, to be seen. And while Reyes is speaking to young women, I think it's a book that everyone should read.”

This poem is from the section called Brown Girl Mixtape. Track: “Blackwinged Bird,” Emm Gryner (2006)

We won’t hold our tongues fast. We won’t unforget all we’ve been made to stuff back into our darkest places and sew shut. We know the heart heals with time, and that bruises heal too. We know how to leave a boy who hurts with words or fists. We know how to ghost a boy who doesn’t even deserve our ghost. We know how to change numbers and locks, that sometimes behind a bolted door, the only thing that will keep us company is a good record collection and fire. We remember not to say sorry. We know some boys do not deserve a proper good-bye.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.

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