Five New Books From Longhorn Nation to Read During Social Distancing

Good Citizens Need Not Fear
By Maria Reva, MFA ’18 

When a bureaucratic glitch omits an entire building and its residents from municipal records, tenants of 1933 Ivansk Street apartments are forced to survive without the support of an already-crumbling government. Michener Center graduate Reva’s collection of nine stories centers on these tenants in the years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Inspired by her experiences growing up in Ukraine, Good Citizens Need Not Fear has been praised for its dark satire, fearless humor, and dazzling surrealism and absurdity.  


Animals at the End of the World
By Gloria Susana Esquivel, Translated by Robin Myer 

UT Press’ Animals at the End of the World centers on the lively imaginations of six-year-olds Inés and María, the granddaughter of Inés’s grandparents’ maid. In Colombian author Esquivel’s debut novel, the two girls become best friends while maneuvering the adult world, using their wit and creativity. As Inés believes it’s the end of the world, the girls escape Ines’ grandparents’ house and confront the “animals” of 1980s Bogotá. This adventure is cut short, though, when Inés realizes she must face her demons alone. 


Barn 8
By Deb Olin Unferth

Picture this: A couple of egg industry auditors sneak onto a farm in the dead of night to steal a million chickens. It didn’t happen—but it could, says Deb Olin Unferth, a UT professor who teaches creative writing at the Michener Center and New Writers Project. Her latest novel, Barn 8, explores the perils of factory farming and follows a group of renegades who conceive this wild heist. The Alcalde spoke with Unferth about factory farming, eggs, and why we should consider what a chicken might have to say about all of this.


American Tacos: A History and Guide
By José R. Ralat  

American Tacos is a must-have guide for taco amateurs and aficionados alike. Ralat—the current taco editor at Texas Monthly and author of the nationally renowned Taco Trail blog—traveled to 38 different cities, from California to Texas, in search of every type of taco. From the puffy taco to the breakfast taco, Ralat tells the story of how each dish was developed, tried, and proven true in their respective regions. With glowing reviews from journalists and chefs, Ralat’s latest is a treat for both your mind and your stomach. 


Run Me to Earth
By Paul Yoon 

When three orphans are devastated by an earth-shattering loss, they must fight to survive in the tumult of 1960s Laos. The book follows teens Alisak, Prany, and Noi through their journey navigating bombed out landscapes, treacherous open fields, and grueling days rescuing noncombatants. A visiting professor at UT’s Michener Center, Yoon has received critical acclaim for Run Me to Earth, a story that spans decades, interweaves impactful storylines, and teaches readers the meaning of hope, life, and perseverance.  


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