Criticism & Features

NBCC Reads

NBCC Good Reads 3: San Antonio Panel


Panelists [from left] Norma Alarcon of Third Woman Press, PEN Southwest Fiction award winning novelist Rod Davis, NBCC fiction finalist Sandra Cisneros, NBCC Balakian winner Steven Kellman, and NBCC member/moderator Gregg Barrios, entertain a comment from the audience at the May 30 NBCC Good Reads 3 event in San Antonio.

Moderator Barrios, a playwright and former book editor of the San Antonio Express News, reported, “The room at Gemini holds 40 but we squeezed in around 60. It was like the opening of a Broadway show. Everyone, from NBCC members here to the organizers and especially the readers, want another when the Fall list appears. We are indeed hungry for this type of engagement.” (Links to reports on the event in the San Antonio Express-News and the San Antonio Current below.)

Alarcon recommended Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s book of poetry, “Dictee” and Barack Obama’s first book, “Dreams from My Father.”

Cisneros spoke about Edwidge Danticat’s NBCC award winning autobiography “Brother, I’m Dying” and Dagoberto Gilb’s “The Flowers,” part of the NBCC Good Reads 3 listing.

Rod Davis described reading “Treasure Island” on a visit to Mexico City as a boy, and how reading Cisneros’s novel “Caramelo” brought back memories of that trip. And he admitted his guilty pleasure in James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux novels.

Barrios touted “The Lazarus Project” by Aleksandar Hemon and the overlooked “The Bad Girl: A Novel” by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Kellman, who recommended a forthcoming book of Gore Vidal essays and Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth,” noted, “There is something unique about written literary criticism. What is happening to replace the loss of pages devoted to books in American newspapers, is the advent of literary blogs, some of which are quite fine. But most of them don’t do quite the same thing as a sustained work of analysis that has been thought through and written over a period of days or weeks.”

A drawing of a baker’s dozen of books from the NBCC Good Reads 3 Spring List and from the panelist’s choices brought cheers and applause from the audience.

San Antonio Express-News story here.

San Antonio Current blog post with all the panelists’ recommendations here.

Good Reads@Gemini Ink on YouTube here.

photo credit:Jennifer Herrera, San Antonio Current