Read This Book

Read This Book (07/14/2021)

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that you should add to your TBR pile or nightstand or hidden stack under the bed, right away!

For the longest time, I would proudly claim that I don’t read much non-fiction. My pride was not a result of any prejudice against the genre, but rather my defense ready for anyone who was getting ready to make me feel less about choosing to read fiction. There were many reasons I had a hard time getting into non-fiction; I could never find something that held my interest, was too long, or just didn’t appeal on another level. Then I discovered memoirs.

Within a few months, I was obsessed. This sub-genre within the genre was giving me the best of both worlds; a story as well as scratching that itch to learn more about the world we live in. I ate it all up. From Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, you couldn’t keep me away.

In my infinite quest to keep searching for more memoirs to add to my shelf, I stumbled upon my pick.

The Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco

If you are unfamiliar with Richard Blanco, he is a famous poet and essayist, who read the poem “One Today” for Obama’s second-term inauguration.

This memoir is him recounting his childhood experience of living as a Cuban-American and what it meant for him to hold onto that hyphenated identity. He captures the essence of what it means to exist in a crossroads of nostalgia, for where you are and for what you have left behind.

His stories start with the hilarious (convincing his grandmother to shop at Winn-Dixie for the first time, making an American Thanksgiving) and move on to poignant but heart-breaking tales of growing up gay in the suburbs of Miami.

A mix between David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Blanco reminds you of what it means to come into an identity, and what it means to carry the stories and memories of the people who got you there, all the while making you snort in the process.

Come tell me what you thought of this read if you do pick it up on Twitter @JavedNusrah.

Happy Reading!