Reading List

Minding the Gap Delve Deeper Reading List

Adult Fiction

Meyer, Philipp.American Rust. Spiegel & Grau, 2009.

Set in a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town, American Rust is a novel of the lost American dream and the desperation—as well as the acts of friendship, loyalty, and love—that arise from its loss. From local bars to trainyards to prison, it is the story of two young men, bound to the town by family, responsibility, intertia, and the beauty around them, who dream of a future beyond the factories and abandoned homes.

Chang, Leonard.Triplines.Seattle: Black Heron Press, 2014.

In this autobiographical novel, Leonard Chang, the author of critically acclaimed classics of Asian American literature, delves into his past, focusing on a pivotal period of his childhood when his mother was preparing to leave his alcoholic father, when he was befriended by and apprenticed with a local marijuana dealer, and when he began to discover the voice of his adulthood. This deeply felt and moving account of his preadolescence gives us a look at a young boy trying to find a sense of self and worth amid the turmoil of a fractured family life.

Birch, Dywane D.Silent Cry.Strebor Books, 2012.

In the sequel to Beneath the Bruises, this searing novel explores the effects of secondhand domestic violence on children. Silent Cry is the story of K’wan Taylor, the now fourteen-year-old son of Syreeta and Randall Taylor from Beneath the Bruises, who withstood his father’s sporadic outbursts and berating tirades by wishing, praying, and hoping his father would disappear. Feeling helpless and hopeless, K’wan spent most of his young life burdened with the pressure of believing he had to protect his mother from his father’s abuse, but not knowing how.

Whitmer, Benjamin.Cry Father.Gallery Books, 2014.

For Patterson Wells, disaster is the norm. Working alongside dangerous, desperate, itinerant men as a tree clearer in disaster zones, he's still dealing with the loss of his young son. Writing letters to the boy offers some solace. The bottle gives more. Upon a return trip to Colorado, Patterson stops to go fishing with an old acquaintance, only to find him in a meth-induced delirium and keeping a woman tied up in the bathtub. In the ensuing chain of events, which will test not only his future but his past, Patterson tries to do the right thing. Still, in the lives of those he knows, violence and justice have made of each other strange, intoxicating bedfellows.

Mun, Nami.Miles From Nowhere.Riverhead Books, 2008.

Teenage Joon is a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father's infidelity; he has left the family, and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of thirteen, decides she would be better off on her own, a choice that commences a harrowing and often tragic journey that exposes the painful difficulties of a life lived on the margins. Joon's adolescent years take her from a homeless shelter to an escort club, through struggles with addiction, to jobs selling newspapers and cosmetics, committing petty crimes, and finally toward something resembling hope.