Ocean Vuong, Elizabeth Acevedo, Ben Lerner: The Books Briefing

Chloe Aridjis is not a poet, but her book Sea Monsters works like a poem, finding its meaning not in plot but from vivid images that combine and change meaning as the book progresses.

Every Friday in the Briefing of Books, we include Atlantic stories in books that share similar ideas.

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What We Read

Lake Vuong

(Mengwen Cao)

Going home is Ocean Vuong

“In a way, Vuong uses the same magic through his poetry, and now, his book; he creates a world out of his life and, thus, makes what readers experience real, beautiful, and ours.”

???? On Earth We Are Brief, by Ocean Vuong
Sky Night Sky With Outgoing Bars, author Ocean Vuong

Souvankham Thammavongsa


Souvankham Thammavongsa on the inner lives of children
“Legends and myths need advice and discipline. But when I write fiction, I try not to rely on what I have done in poetry. Fiction has to be different. It amazes me to write all the time. ”

???? “Edge of the World” from the How to Call the Knife, by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Elizabeth acevedo


Elizabeth Acevedo’s work is unacceptable in young lies

“Acevedo’s work is a masterpiece of diversity. The author was a poet and an English teacher before he became a writer, and a songwriter before the poet, but his first impressions and difficulties in storytelling stemmed from the beliefs his mother had told him as a child of Acevedo. ”

???? Poet X, author Elizabeth Acevedo
???? With Fire Above, author Elizabeth Acevedo



Boy, undisturbed

“The whole purpose of this book is to illuminate white supremacists, who look angry in the Midwest in the late 1990s, to illuminate America today.”

???? Topeka School, by Ben Lerner

book cover


A strange story on the beach that would make Mallarmé proud

“Marine life has little or no control over what happens to Luisa, or how she adapts to her journeys. Rather, it works as a poet, a catalyst, a repetition, and an analogy. ”

Mon Animals, by Chloe Aridjis

About Us: This week’s letter was written by Kate Cray. The book he is currently reading is Middlemarch by George Eliot.

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Kate Cray is an assistant editor at The Atlantic.

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