My summer reading list: Bethany Hazen

Bethany Hazen
Creative Nonfiction, 1st year

Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman – While participating in a poetry workshop before I knew about the MFA program at Fresno State, I read and was happily provoked by Ackerman’s Deep Play. I’m looking forward to looking at the natural world through her lens, more so after reading Mary Louise Pratt’s take on the role nature writing played in transforming the literate world’s expectations of genre. I read Pratt’s Imperial Eyes for Dr. Lisa Weston’s Travel & Contact Narratives spring 2018 course. Phenomenal class.

Shooting Polaris by John Hales – Truth, it was the only thing I asked for this past Christmas. After a first MFA semester of reading and writing and reading, the only gift I wanted was this book. Unfortunately, I’m just sitting down to read it. Fortunately, I have the time to enjoy it now, and the luxury of air conditioning during a Central Valley summer. Perhaps we can talk the Forestieres into letting us use the Underground Gardens as a summer reading retreat?

I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part by Steven Church – Confession: I already read it, but it was the first thing I picked up the second I slept off my end of term, final papers all handed-in delirium; I deserved a treat, and the book had just been released. This collection of essays earns its title and more, and ya’ll should treat yourselves to it.

Let Me Clear My Throat by Elena Passarello – I cracked the cover on Passarello’s Animals Strike Curious Poses at Mad Duck at Campus Pointe in Fall 2017 and almost fell off my bar stool before I’d even ordered a beer, her writing and her approach to her subject were so devastatingly, enviously other. Not your average dead white guy piece of lit. I can’t wait to read her take on the rebel yell.

Stiff by Mary Roach – The curious lives of human cadavers. Because what is creative nonfiction without subtitles?

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren – A geo-botanist writes about her research adventures while exposing her true motives: a contagious passion for science!


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