Welcome to Bronx Week 2018, a week-long celebration of all the amazing things that are great and unique about the Bronx! I have lived in the Bronx all my life and it may have its ups and downs, but it still a place I love and still call home. So in honor of Bronx Week, here are some interesting book selections that either take place in the Bronx or delve in the history of this mysterious borough:
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
The Education of Margot Sánchez by Lilliam Rivera
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.
A touching and provocative collection of memories that evoke the history of one of America’s most influential boroughs-the Bronx-through some of its many success stories.
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
In her extraordinary bestseller, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses readers in the intricacies of the ghetto, revealing the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. Focusing on two romances – Jessica’s dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and Coco’s first love with Jessica’s little brother, Cesar – Random Family is the story of young people trying to outrun their destinies. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between survival and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty.
Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories by Jerome Charyn
Bitter Bronx is suffused with the texture and nostalgia of a lost time and place, combining a keen eye for detail with Jerome Charyn’s lived experience. These stories are informed by a childhood growing up near that middle-class mecca, the Grand Concourse; falling in love with three voluptuous librarians at a public library in the Lower Depths of the South Bronx; and eating at Mafia-owned restaurants along Arthur Avenue’s restaurant row, amid a “land of deprivation…where fathers trundled home…with a monumental sadness on their shoulders.”
The Old Neighborhood by Avery Corman
With his marriage falling apart and his job uninspiring, successful advertising executive, middle-aged Steve Ross returns to his childhood neighborhood in the Bronx.
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class, some of his classmates clamor to read their poems aloud too. Soon they’re having weekly poetry sessions and, one by one, the eighteen students are opening up and taking on the risky challenge of self-revelation. There’s Lupe Alvarin, desperate to have a baby so she will feel loved. Raynard Patterson, hiding a secret behind his silence. Porscha Johnson, needing an outlet for her anger after her mother OD’s. Through the poetry they share and narratives in which they reveal their most intimate thoughts about themselves and one another, their words and lives show what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.
The Bronx, New York by Kathleen A. McAuley and Gary Hermalyn
With a population of more than one million and covering over 42 square miles, the Bronx is a vibrant part of New York. The Bronx was given its name in 1898 when the new borough was named after its single largest geographical feature: the Bronx River. The Bronx showcases the borough’s rich history in a personal way through vintage and contemporary images.
Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano
Set in the 1970s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy Award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving–and troubled. This is Sonia’s own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But–click!–when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real life–the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times.
The Bronx: The Ultimate Guide to New York City’s Beautiful Borough by Lloyd Ultan and Shelley Olson
Often overlooked by most tourists and locals alike, the Bronx—one of five boroughs that comprise the city of New York—is rich in cultural and historical attractions. From the Bronx Zoo (the largest urban zoo in the United States) to the New York Botanical Garden (one of the most visited botanical gardens in the world), this borough has something for everyone.