Sunday, April 29, 2018

Jennifer Caloyeras

Jennifer Caloyeras is a novelist and short fiction writer living in Los Angeles. Her debut short fiction collection, Unruly Creatures (2017), was published by West Virginia University Press. She is the author of two young adult novels: Strays (2015) and Urban Falcon (2009). Her short stories have appeared in Monday Night Literary, Wilde Magazine, Storm Cellar, Booth and other literary journals.

Recently I asked Caloyeras about what she was reading. Her reply:
I am definitely what someone might call a book devourer. I am at my local library at least once or twice a week returning stacks of book and replacing them with new ones. I typically read between two and four books a week, so getting to share some recent picks with readers is fantastic.

I recently finished Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists. This is such a beautifully written book. It’s about four young siblings who see a fortune teller and she predicts the exact dates that they will each die. We follow each child and see how knowing this information affects them. I love the structure of the novel – each section is told from the point of view of a separate character. The book covers so many emotions. Books that deeply explore character are my favorite!

When I was recently vacationing out in the woods, I read an aptly titled nonfiction book, The Hidden Life of Trees by a forester named Peter Wohlleben. It is such a fascinating book about how trees communicate with one another and how they take care of one another. Did you know they will share their nutrients with a nearby sick tree? It’s book one in a three-part series investigating the wonders of nature. The second book in the series, The Inner Life of Animals, is out now.

Senlin Ascends, by Josiah Bancroft, is a laugh out loud satire in the vein of Candide or Don Quixote. It’s about a newlywed named Senlin who is on his honeymoon with his wife. Their destination: The Tower of Babble - a tall building wrought with legend and lore. No one really knows how tall it is, but they do know that each level is vastly different. Senlin is warned not to separate from his wife in the medina-like streets that surround the tower, but he loses her within minutes of descending the train. He spends the book looking for her as he rises through the various floors of the tower, meeting all sorts of colorful characters who propel him to the next adventure.

Last but not least is The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu. I have to begin by saying that I was a summer camp junkie when I was young, so I find all books about summer camp immediately appealing. In this story, a group of young girls attend Camp Forevermore in Canada. On an overnight kayaking trip, something happens that will irrevocably change the course of their lives. This book is part mystery, part coming of age, part suspense.

There are two book sitting on my desk waiting for me to crack them open. The first is The Power by Naomi Alderman. With a rave blurb from Margaret Atwood, what could go wrong? This is a dystopian novel where women suddenly have all the power and Alderman explores how this changes everything. The second book is An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Celeste and Roy are newlyweds whose lives are uprooted when Roy is sentenced to twelve years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. At the end of his sentence, Celeste has to decide whether she can move on with Roy or continue life without him.

Happy reading, everyone!
To find out more about what Caloyeras is reading, follow her on Instagram or on her Facebook author page.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo.

The Page 69 Test: Unruly Creatures.

--Marshal Zeringue