BOOKS I READ: Ghostbread by Sonja Livingston (2009). A memoir of growing up poor and adrift in western New York, the bleak stories chilled by the winds coming off Lake Ontario. The daughter of a single mother managing seven children from multiple absent fathers, Livingston recalls the grit necessary to…

BOOKS I READ: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857) (trans. Joan Charles, 1949). Charles Bovary’s second wife, Emma, is impetuous, needy for love, passion, and the finer things. She overwhelms her husband, the country doctor, taking on lovers at a time when a woman’s reputation could be damaged, while piling…

BOOKS I READ: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (2000). The Iranian Revolution and the overthrow of the Shah from the perspective of a precocious girl. Marji is wise to the inconsistencies and contradictions of the upheaval that becomes the Islamic Revolution, as the religious front takes…

BOOKS I READ: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (2014). A novel-length poem detailing the erosion of one’s soul as hurtful racist quips drip, one after the other—in today’s parlance, micro-aggressions. Sometimes the reaction is a resigned, but befuddled, “come on, man.” Other times the reaction is anger, as…

BOOKS I READ: Wayward by Dana Spiotta (2021). The city of Syracuse in upstate New York and the 2016 election are the backdrop for this novel about fraying associations, husband-wife, mother-daughter and status-quo versus activism. Sam, approaching the end of middle age, suddenly decides to restart her life by buying…

BOOKS I READ: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (2018). Written in verse, this novel is Xiomara Batista’s writing log as she runs into the cruelty of high school, the expectations of her devout Christian mother, and the demands of the church. With her twin brother and her best friend…

BOOKS I READ: The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard (2003). A love story that, like a mushroom, rises out of the fungal mass that is the world after World War Two. Aldred Leith and the much younger Helen Driscoll become entwined during his visit to Kure, Japan. He is a…

Mauricio Matiz

I write personal stories and poems that spring from where I live— New York City—often touched by where I was born—Santa Fe de Bogotá. https://medium.com/matiz

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