My summer reading list: Steve Yarbrough

Today is the first installment of “My Summer Reading List,” a look at what books the MFA faculty will be reading in the coming months.

Today’s recommendations are from Steve Yarbrough.

“I plan to read Taylor Branch’s three-volume work America in the King Years. I’m writing a novel narrated by a high school history teacher who thinks obsessively about this time in the South, and reading Branch seems to be a good way to work myself back to those years that I witnessed first-hand.

“I also plan to re-read T. Harry Williams’ 1970 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Huey P. Long, which I last read as a college sophomore. I remember it as a great book, with an extravagant subject.

“And I’m currently working my way through the complete fiction of William
Maxwell, longtime fiction editor at The New Yorker. I have just finished his novel The Folded Leaf, which was written in 1945 and is fairly shocking, given the time period, in its depiction of an unconsummated love affair between two young men in the midwest. Maxwell is one of those writers other writers love, but he never had a really huge popular success. He died a few years ago. He’s a beautiful stylist. Check out All the Days and Nights, his collected stories.”

Coming Wednesday: Lillian Faderman’s list.

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