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During quarantine, the IAHI staff have been keeping busy both in and out of the “office” by doing some much needed reading. We’ve compiled a list of our personal favorite books to read that keep us entertained and sane.

Today’s list is brought to you by Dan Grossman, a graduate research assistant at the IAHI and graduate student in IUPUI School of Liberal Arts English MA program. He also a recipient of the Facebook Covid-19 Grant.

  1. You are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation by Sarah Urist Green 
    Green is a former curator, who spearheaded the Andy Warhol Industries exhibition at Newfields.  If you’re familiar with the PBS digital series The Art Assignment, you’ll be familiar with the types of assignments contained within. These are exercises that parents and children can do together, dreamed up by 50 + contemporary artists, to make the most of their time while sheltering in place.  
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    I think of Solitude because of when I read it, as a Peace Corps volunteer. I had time on my hands to savor this magnificent novel that chronicles the life and times of the Buendía family in the town of Macando. You might have enough time, and solitude, in your current situation as well for this monumental work.
  3. Pimp My Airship by Maurice Broaddus
    This from the back cover of the book is spot on: “All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar — all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protester know as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah.” Pimp My Airship is a world where dirigibles piloted by “Afronauts” can rise into the clouds above Indianapolis, but where oppression is still alive, and large sections of Indy have been turned into a prison. 
  4. The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
    When I seek refuge from contemporary poetics with its (occasionally) boring moral righteousness and groupthink, I head to Charles Baudelaire. The Flowers of Evil is, to my taste, the most magnificent book of poetry ever written; decadent, snide, ironic, obscene in some parts, absurdly beautiful in others.
  5. Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer
    Set in the Egypt of 1290-1100 BC, it is the story of one man’s four lives, in the shadow of the pharaohs. It influenced me, I think, quite a bit in my writing of Rogue Elephants: A Novel of The Peace Corps, available for free online, which I describe as ‘The Sheltering Sky Meets Seinfeld’.

We hope you enjoyed this list! Stay tuned for more staff book picks!

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