Summer Reading Lists - Angela Palm

This is the seventh in our series of 2017 Vermont Book Award finalists' summer reading lists.

Angela Palm

Angela Palm

Today's summer reading list was contributed by Angela Palm, author of Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here (Graywolf Press, 2016), an Indie Next selection, winner of the 2014 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, and a Kirkus Best Book of 2016. Kirkus calls Riverine "an intelligent, evocative, and richly textured memoir."

Thank you so much for sharing your list with us, Angi!

Angela Palm's Summer Reading List


I just picked up Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli in an especially well curated airport bookstore—they had so many books from Coffee House Press! Forty questions from U.S. immigration forms guide the essay’s shape as Luiselli tells not only of her experience in applying for a green card as a Mexican immigrant, but also the stories of the thousands of children who arrived in the U.S. from Mexico, Guatamala, and El Salvador, some of whom she interacted with as an immigration court translator. I didn’t fully understand the scope of this refugee crisis, but through this book I'm learning about it. It’s gut wrenching and beautifully written. This book is important and it reminds me that “political issues” are not simply political issues—they’re human issues. And how we respond to them defines our humanity.


Next, I’ll be reading The Girl of the Lake, a new short story collection by Bill Roorbach just out from Algonquin. I find Bill personally to be an absolutely unique individual and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through his writerly eyes in his past works. This one will no doubt be just as great. I would describe Bill’s work as having serious heart and I can’t wait to see what kind of characters he’s concocted in these pages.


Third on my list is Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer. A friend posted a picture of this book on Instagram a few weeks ago and described it as being about “middle aged lady sex/parenting/marriage/friendship/existential angst and also it’s very funny in a dark, smart way.” Since I am deep into most of those things, I had to order it immediately.