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Poetry, fiction, memoirs on book club list


January 07, 2009

Memoirs about growing up in Nogales and surviving a bicycle accident, poetry that was written in China and a novel about biracial sisters are on the winter/early spring calendar for the Piper Online Book Club at Arizona State University.

The book for discussion this month is “Just Breathe Normally” by Peggy Shumaker.

Shumaker, a poet and professor emerita at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, tells her story of recovery, and of searching her past.

The selection for February is a book of poetry by Mary Ruefle titled “Apparition Hil” One critic said of the book, “These jolly poems about disappointment, irrelevance, and peripheral experiences give the willing reader a feeling not unlike that delivered by a tumbler of armagnac.”
Another reviewer said, “A master of memorable imagery and lyrical clarity, ‘Apparition Hill’ continues to document Mary Ruefle as a master poet.”

Ruefle was born in Pennslvania and spent her first 20 years traveling around the United States and Europe with her mother and her father, a military officer. She graduated from Bennington College in 1974.

The book for March is “Caucasia,” Danzy Senna’s debut novel. The book tells the story of two biracial sisters growing up in racially charged Boston during the 1970s. It has won numerous awards, including he BOMC Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and an Alex Award from the American Library Association.

Senna received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, where she received several creative writing awards. She also writes about issues or race, identity and gender, particularly on the experience of being mistaken for white. She is currently working on a memoir.

For April, the selection is Alberto Rios’s “Capirotada,” a memoir of growing up in Nogales, Arizona, which also was chosen for OneBookAZ, a program that sponsors discussions of the winning book throughout the state. OneBookAZ begins April 12.

Rios, the Katharine C. Turner Endowed Chair in English and a Regents’ Professor at ASU, has written nine books and three collections of short stories. He has won numerous awards, including the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award, the Walt Whitman Award and the inaugural Western States Book Award for Fiction.

For more information about the Piper Online Book Club, which is sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, go to www.asu.edu/piper, or call (480) 965-6018.

Book List:

• January: “Just Breathe Normally” by Peggy Shumaker.

• February: “Apparition Hill” by Mary Ruefle.

• March: “Caucasia” by Danzy Senna.

• April: “Capirotada” by Alberto Rios.


Media contacts:

Tom McDermott, thomas.m.mcdermott@asu.edu
(480) 727-0818