AWM Staff Reads: March

Reading Recommendations from the staff of the American Writers Museum.

Like many people around the world, we spent half of March working from home. The benefit of all this time at home? Giving us an excuse to knock some books off our to-read list. Check out what the AWM Staff read in March, and let us know what you’ve been reading recently in the comments!

This list is also available on Bookshop.org, which benefits independent bookstores. We also strongly encourage you to support your local bookstore by ordering through them online directly. They need our help more than ever, and we need them to stick around.


After Edward by Tom Stuart

After Edward by Tom Stuart

From the publisher: “Edward II wanders on to the empty stage, bloodied and confused. He has no idea where he is, or how he got here, but he does have an ominous feeling that something is wrong. As that feeling grows, so too does the threat on the other side of the auditorium doors. Edward finds himself locked inside the theater with some rather anarchic fellow inmates: Gertrude Stein, Harvey Milk and Quentin Crisp. As they set about unraveling what has happened, only one thing is certain: everything is not as it seems… After Edward welcomes us into a chaotic world of pride and shame, with moments of elation, outrageous humor and heart-breaking tenderness. Oh, and Maggie Thatcher.”

–Matt, Storyteller


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

After binge-watching the latest season of Anne with an E on Netflix (before the quarantine, believe it or not), I decided to re-read Anne of Green Gables. There is something so comforting and sweet in these uncertain times about Anne and Prince Edward Island. She helped remind me that any situation can be made better with a little imagination.

–Ari, Data Operations Coordinator


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This is the second Liane Moriarty book I’m really looking forward to reading more. A blend of mystery, melodrama, and acidic satire of upper class parenthood. It’s a reminder that people’s private lives are not always what they seem and I love the way Moriarty’s characters are empathetic even when extremely flawed.

–Lindsay, Sales & Partnerships Associate


Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas

Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas

From the publisher: “The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953) was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His work, noted for its lush metaphors, musicality, and playfulness within traditional forms, was largely responsible for modernizing poetic verse.”

–Linda, Director of Development


Black Panther Vol. 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Black Panther Vol. 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

From the publisher: “A new era for the Black Panther begins as the kingdom of Wakanda enters its final days! Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates confronts T’Challa with dramatic upheaval in his homeland that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil…If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt – but can its monarch, one of a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!”

–Carey, President


Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Chandler’s second novel following the exploits of private detective Philip Marlowe has everything you might want from a hardboiled crime novel — crooked cops, a blackmail ring, and a murderous femme fatale. What it might lack in overall narrative cohesion, it makes up for with style, snappy dialogue, and memorable characters in spades. The narrative voice of Marlowe himself is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of the first-person POV in fiction.

–Cassidy, Storyteller


King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Aubrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Aubrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

Stuck at home, I took a look through my childhood bookcase and was excited to find my childhood copy of King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub. After the King refuses to leave his bathtub, his page calls upon everyone from his naval commanders to the court jester to an entire masquerade party trying to get the King out. Filled with beautiful illustrations, this book is sure to delight the young (and the young at heart).

–Matt, Storyteller


Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

From the publisher: “Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass took various forms during the poet’s lifetime. The 1855 first edition was a thin pamphlet of 12 poems; the great final edition encompassed more than 300. It is the 1892 edition of Leaves of Grass — commonly called “the Deathbed Edition” — that remains the bard’s definitive version of what is indisputably an American classic.”

–Linda, Director of Development


Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them…and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

–Noelle, Education Program Coordinator


Making Shadow Boxes and Shrines by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Making Shadow Boxes and Shrines by Kathy Cano-Murillo

I enjoy reading shrines, in that they are often art pieces that tell a story within a frame. Making Shadow Boxes and Shrines called out to me from my shelves this month. Aside from how-to projects, it tells a brief history of shrines throughout the world. Some of the many common themes of shrines are described, like personal expression, memory keeping and tributes to hopes and dreams. A gallery section includes artists describing their work. It’s inspiring to read and to try out your own projects.

–Cristina, Facilities Supervisor


The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury’s compelling prose keeps me riveted and makes me think life is not that different on Mars.

–Christopher, Director of Operations


Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

From the publisher: “The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight…Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets. John Perry is taking that deal.”

–Carey, President


The Rumi Collection by Rumi

The Rumi Collection by Rumi

From the publisher: “Rumi’s poems are beloved for their touching perceptions of humanity and the Divine. Here is a rich introduction to the work of the great mystical poet, featuring leading literary translations of his verse…To display the major themes of Rumi’s work, each of the eighteen chapters in this anthology are arranged topically. Also contained here is a biography of Rumi by Andrew Harvey, as well as an introductory essay by Kabir Helminski on the art of translating Rumi’s work into English.”

–Linda, Director of Development


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

I love how this book breaks down the basic elements of cooking. She provides simple guidelines and tips so you have the basics to start but then the agency to make it your own dish.

–Noelle, Education Program Coordinator


The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

From the publisher: “The narrator, a communist double agent, is a ‘man of two minds,’ a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.”

–Olivia, Storyteller


Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

A magical story that I find myself returning to again and again. This one would be fun to read as a family.

–Christopher, Director of Operations


Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss

Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss

I grew up on Dr. Seuss books and now I’m enjoying reading them all over again with my my 4-year old daughter. We especially like to read Wacky Wednesday together and find all of the silly things on each page. She thinks it’s hysterical. It’s also teaching her how to count in a fun way. “By cracky! Five more things are very wacky!” We also like to go to Seussville, where kids can read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss and his friends.

–Karie, Director of Marketing & Private Events


The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

From the publisher: “A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East…The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.”

–Carey, President


Visit our Reading Recommendations page for more book lists.

One thought on “AWM Staff Reads: March

  1. Rae Meyer says:

    The Yellow House is indeed captivating and unforgettable. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is another beautifully written gem. It is a novel in the form of a letter from a son to his immigrant mother. A letter she will never read that lovingly describes their fraught relationship with each other and with their adopted country.

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