Anna March’s Reading Mixtape #19: Truth


Truth—a higher, bigger truth—is what I want when I read. I want to nod my head in radical understanding. I want to grasp our complex, fragile humanity better. I want the ancient truths on every page, shown in unique ways. These books deliver. Not a false note in any one of them.

Reading Mixtape Header

  1. Liar by Rob Roberge
    When a liar decides to speak the truth, jump back. I read this memoir in manuscript a couple of years ago and was dazzled. Rob is unflinching in his telling, sparing nothing. He’s a masterful writer and careful sentence by sentence seem effortless and majestic. (Read an exclusive excerpt from Liar here.)
  2. The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
    Here’s a truth: there is nothing that Paul writes that I don’t want to read, and re-read, and give to friends, and put in Little Free Libraries for everyone else to read. His latest work, a memoir of a friendship and love and loss and beauty and the richness of life, is no exception. He exposes our humanity in ways at once timeless and unique. After reading this, I felt better prepared to live my life, to solider through pain, and to see the gorgeous beauty everywhere.
  3. Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones Reading these poems feels like being witness to the revolution. I can’t say it better than Brenda Shaughnessy did:

    It’s a big book, a major book. A game-changer. Dazzling, brutal, real. Not just brilliant, caustic, and impassioned but a work that brings history—in which the personal and political are inter-constitutive—to the immediate moment. Jones takes a reader deep into lived experience, into a charged world divided among unstable yet entrenched lines: racial, gendered, political, sexual, familial. Here we absorb each quiet resistance, each whoop of joy, a knowledge of violence and of desire, an unbearable ache/loss/yearning. This is not just a “new voice” but a new song, a new way of singing, a new music made of deep grief’s wildfire, of burning intelligence and of all-feeling heart, scorched and seared. In a poem, Jones says, “Boy’s body is a song only he can hear.” But now that we have this book, we can all hear it. And it’s unforgettable.

  4. Close Quarters by Amy Monticello
    This memoir explodes with love. A broken family rebuilds in unexpected ways amidst a boozy, smoky haze. A kaleidoscopic portrait of a family that is rich and warm while showcasing loss and sadness. Amy is so smart and so open—you will own a different, better heart when you’re finished reading this.


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Anna March’s writing appears regularly in Salon and here at the Rumpus and her work has been widely published including in The New York Times' Modern Love Column, New York Magazine, VQR, Hip Mama and Tin House. Her essay collection, Feminist Killjoy, and novel, The Diary of Suzanne Frank, are both forthcoming and she is at work on two new books. She teaches writing workshops, mentors writers, is active in promoting literary community and is the co-founder of LITFOLKS in LA and DC. She lives in Rehoboth Beach and Los Angeles. Sometimes she has pink hair. Follow her on Twitter @ANNAMARCH or learn more about her at ANNAMARCH.COM. More from this author →