Recommended Reading List: September 2023

Current News free nonfiction Recommended Reading

I got a lot less reading done in September. School started, and we were reading a play a week. I had some other projects to finish as well, which required reading. Plus we actually had some theater to attend, and the Las Vegas Aces were in the playoffs (and I had playoff tickets for the first time in my life!) and lots of visitors…

Heck, it’s amazing I got to read anything at all.

Not to mention the fact that I was an extreme airhead. For the first time in my life, I read an anthology out of order. I had shoved a bookmark into The Best Mystery Stories of The Year 2022 when the book arrived, apparently. I had forgotten that. I brought it for my lunch reading at UNLV and started where the bookmark was…which was at the Annie Reed story. It wasn’t until I started this write up that I looked closely and realized I had read none of the stories that preceded hers. Whoops! And wow. I guess I was busy and preoccupied in September. I still have some reading to do…

This list is much shorter than the August list, but there’s still some good stuff here.

September, 2023

Burfoot, Amby, First Ladies of Running, Rodale, 2016. Wonderful book that you can dive into and out of. Profiles of the women who broke the barriers in the running community, especially the marathons. It’s thin in some areas. (A book I read later has more.) But it’s worth reading. Everyone’s heard of Katherine Switzer, but there are a lot of other women here, also famous although maybe not as visible, who really made the whole running scene possible.

Carter, Geoff, “The Art of Survival,” Las Vegas Weekly, August 17, 2023. Fascinating article on how hard it is for visual artists to get seen in Las Vegas. I suspect this is a problem for visual artists everywhere. Take a look.

Reed, Annie, “Little City Blues,” The Mysterious Bookshop Presents The Best Mystery Stories of the Year, edited by Sara Paretsky, Mysterious Press, 2022. I personally think that Annie Reed is one of the best writers of her generation. She’s finally making her mark in mystery short fiction, with appearances in many year’s best anthologies. (Her work is often featured in WMG publications as well.) This story starts traditionally with a detective who needs to investigate a cheating spouse. But the Reno setting and the fascinating detective make for startling and excellent reading.

Rice-Gonzalez, Charles, I Just Love Andy Gibb: A Play in One Act, Blacktino Queer Performance, edited by E. Patrick Johnson & Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Duke University Press, 2016. This semester, I took a class called The Gay Plays. I loved the class (and was hugely disappointed that we didn’t get to finish the semester, thanks to an asshole with a gun who shot up UNLV). The class looked at the history of queer theater, mostly focusing on Broadway and professional theater over the past century. But the prof didn’t want to turn off students early, so he started with this one-act play, which he said was representative of some modern work being done in theater right now.

I love this play. It’s the story of a man who is stuck, who somehow encounters a teenage boy who is also stuck—only the boy is in his own room…in the 1970s…while the man is from now. The interaction is fascinating and uncomfortable and quite thought provoking. I haven’t been able to get the play out of my head since I read it, which is always a good recommendation.

Roberts, Eric M., “In The Shadows of Our Fallen Architecture,” RJ Magazine, Summer, 2023. Lovely article about “the ghosts of Las Vegas’ imploded hotels.” It’s a meditation on the changes the city has gone through, from the perspective of an artist and architect, who also illustrated the piece. Take alook.

Scotti, Anna, “A Heaven Or A Hell,” The Mysterious Bookshop Presents The Best Mystery Stories of the Year, edited by Sara Paretsky, Mysterious Press, 2022. This twisty story has a great first sentence: “It was all pretty straightforward until the dead kid climbed back up the cliff.” Oh, yeah. I was there from word one, and did not put the story down until I finished. Nice hook, great twists. Lots of fun.

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