Her new novel is In the Kingdom of Men.
Recently I asked Barnes what she was reading. Her reply:
As part of my research for In the Kingdom of Men, for the past five years, I’ve been reading nothing but novels, memoirs, scholarly texts, and articles about Saudi Arabia and the Arabian American Oil Company. Now, I’ve settled into three very different books, all nonfiction.Read more about In the Kingdom of Men at Kim Barnes's website.
The first is Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. It’s not your usual food memoir but a memoir that happens to involve food. I’m reading it for the rich detail, vivid imagery, and emotional honesty that I’m delighted to find in any good memoir. It has a real literary sensibility.
The second is Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan. I write across the genres, but it’s the personal essay that I find most engaging as a writer and as a reader. I love it when an author of personal nonfiction pushes me out of my comfort zone…and I don’t mean in the sense of what is true/not true—an academic discussion that doesn’t interest me. I’m fascinated by all the forms that essays can take, how they can surprise me with their “maziness.” I love to read authors who make what they have to work with work and don’t get lazy on me by cribbing from the fiction sheet for content—to do so is simply a failure of the imagination. I’m just beginning Pulphead, but I’m eager to see where Sullivan might take me on his wicked journey.
Finally, I’m rereading A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo because it’s the Vietnam memoir and because I—we—need to be reminded of how easily we can fall into indifference when it comes to sending our young men and women to war.
Kim Barnes's books include two memoirs, In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country—a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize—Hungry for the World, and the novels Finding Caruso and A Country Called Home.
The Page 69 Test: A Country Called Home.
The Page 69 Test: In the Kingdom of Men.