Rita Bullwinkel & Liza St. James on Selected Stories by Robert Walser • Matt Sussman on A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole • Claire Stringer on Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich • Blair Johnson and Ra Malika Imhotep on The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath • Lydia Magyar & Emerson Whitney on The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector • Evan Kennedy on The Blue Octavo Notebooks by Franz Kafka • Miranda Tsang on Gogol’s Wife and Other Stories by Tommaso Landolfi • Isabel Balée on The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Álvaro Mutis • Sanford Jenkins on Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin • Claire Mullen on Lands of Memory by Felisberto Hernández
Tommy Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California. He is the author of the bestselling novel, There There (Vintage, 2019), named one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, among other awards.
An Oakland-native, we had met Tommy a time or two when he had come by the store to browse for books and tell us about his novel in progress. Little did we know that this would turn out to be one of the year’s biggest books—a brilliant representation of Oakland and the Indigenous community and its vibrant legacy here. So, when we asked him to curate our Books section, he was game and sent us a wide array of titles which he gathered together under the theme: “Authors, some you may know, some you may not, who made we want to write, or write better.”
Enjoy a few of the responses to his selections here, or purchase the print issue to read them all.