Has It Been Another Year? My 2021 Reading List.

Without any further ado, here was 2021:

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (reread)

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

From the Umberplatzen by Susan Tepper (reread)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (reread)

The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg

Find Me by Laura van den Berg

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

The Upstairs House by Julia Fine

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (reread)

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Another Day’s Begun: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in the 21st Century by Howard Sherman

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Our Town: A Play in Three Acts by Thornton Wilder (reread)

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

The Genius and the Goddess by Aldous Huxley

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Island by Aldous Huxley

And there you go. Here’s to a 2022 filled with peace, good health, many books, and perhaps another pair of Reading Socks in next year’s stocking, too! ❤🤞

~ Kari

A Small Act of Survival

One skill I acquired (nay, fought for) during this unbelievable year was the ability to read in any noise, tv going and radio on too and 3 children almost all the time, talking… when I never really could before. The power to block everything out, even for 5 minutes at a time, has been an amazing change, a gift, a small act of survival.

Here are the books I read (fought for!) in 2020.

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

The Financial Diaries by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider

Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Salesses

First We Have Coffee by Margaret Jensen

Sleepwalking by Meg Wolitzer

A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Come to Me by Amy Bloom

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi by Peter Popham

Little Feasts by Jules Archer

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Beautiful Raft by Tina Barry

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Lakewood by Megan Giddings

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Best Microfiction 2020

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (reread)

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Educated by Tara Westover

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin

*The Magpie’s Return by Curtis Smith (*I forgot to record this one! in the midst of moving, in a pandemic summer, but it is written on my brain, and now here, fixed. Hurrah, hurray! – KN 2/6/21)

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump

What We Say and How We Say It Matter by Mike Anderson

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Rage by Bob Woodward

Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

Hoax by Brian Stelter

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

Compromised by Peter Strzok

Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation by Andrew Weissmann

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker

Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit

Here’s to more survival in the coming months.

“America, My Child”

I have new work featured alongside other writers and artists out of the United States today in Love in the Time of COVID: A Chronicle of a Pandemic. Witi Ihimaera and Michelle Elvy curate this international collection “to offer an unprecedented opportunity for voices all over the world to share, in quality fiction and non-fiction, poetry and dialogue, art and music and more, the collective experiences of the international community during COVID.” In a year when the world is so much, creativity continues everywhere.

Best of the Net 2020 Nomination

Happy to note here that “Carry Along” was nominated by The Ekphrastic Review for Best of the Net 2020. This is my first Best of the Net nomination, and this was a really short, beautiful, inspired piece that I sent in to guest editor Tina Barry and which was selected for publication last October. “Carry Along” is essentially a prose poem written to an art piece by Barbara Danin; I wrote more about it in this post.

I’d like to thank guest editor Tina Barry and artist Barbara Danin, as well as The Ekphrastic Review‘s editor and founder, Lorette C. Luzajic, and the prize nomination committee.

Here is the link to the announcement:

https://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/best-of-the-net-nominations-2020

Congrats to everyone nominated.

2020, are you looking up?

 

Apparel for Authors

I had so much fun talking to Marcelle Heath for her Apparel for Authors series. I really admire how creatively Marcelle uses the Instagram platform to merge lit and books and story with elements of personal style and presentation. Please give her some love by checking out our interview!

View this post on Instagram

✨Kari Nguyen✨ As an adult, I’ve embraced a side of myself I suppressed as a child. Growing up, I viewed dresses, skirts, and jewelry as torture items and avoided them as much as possible. Even as a senior contemplating prom, I borrowed a second-hand dress that I don’t think I tried on until the day of the dance; it was fairly sheer, it was lavender, but it was free and I didn’t have to shop for it! And I put on a full face of makeup that day, by myself, for the first time in my life, with a page of written instructions my younger sister left for me, as she was too busy with her own life to apply the makeup for me, as I was secretly hoping. (It turned out okay and I had a wonderful time. My date even proposed marriage, eventually! And we are married still.) Fast forward many years and I’ve learned that dresses and skirts don’t bite and that accessories can be really interesting and enjoyable and all of these things put together can tell a little bit of a story about someone’s day or life or moment or mood, and that is something I can really get behind. Kari Nguyen lives in New England with her husband, daughter, and twin sons. Her writing appears in seven anthologies, including Best Microfiction 2020, America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers: Northeast Region, and Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology. She is the former nonfiction editor for Stymie: A Journal of Sport and Literature. She can be found at karinguyen.wordpress.com and @knguyenwrites. Photo Credits: 1: Lacey Liebert

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Best Microfiction 2020 Selection and a Nomination for Best Small Fictions 2020, too.

Honored to share that “Bloom” was chosen for the Best Microfiction 2020 book. Thank you, judge Michael Martone and series editors Meg Pokrass and Gary Fincke! The book is available for pre-order now from Pelekinesis Press and will be publishing mid-April. Click here for more information: http://www.pelekinesis.com/catalog/best_microfiction-2020.html

Thank you, especially, to Michelle Elvy and editors at Flash Frontier for the story’s initial publication and subsequent nominations. I’ve learned that they have also nominated “Bloom” for Best Small Fictions 2020, in addition to the earlier nominations for Best Microfiction and the Pushcart Prize. Thank you to them for their continued support. Flash Frontier placed three stories in Best Microfiction 2020 which is really wonderful. Congrats to everyone. I look forward to reading it!

If anyone is interested in reviewing the book, advance copies will be available in March. Feel free to email me if interested!

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