Bro. Rion is the author of Insurrections, a PEN America Award Finalist for Debut Fiction. His debut book has been exclaimed as “…energetic and musical—fully inhabiting a diverse array of storytelling styles.” From the first story I was enamored with the detail, pace, and sly humor, so much so I’ve become an evangelist for his book. Whether it has come in the form of encouragement, exhortation, or simply haranguing readers, I’m convinced everyone should read this book.
So as I reflected on the energy this book has generated for me, I began to wonder about the type of books that had the same effect on the writer, Rion. So with that thought in mind, MahoganyBooks presents for both your reading enjoyment and discussion pleasure ‘Author Favorites featuring Rion Amilcar Scott.’
|Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
More than any other book I’ve read, Ralph Ellison’s classic is a multi-layered exploration of what it means to be human. Almost every sentence is loaded with multiple meanings and bottomless wells of subtext. It’s the monument I’m forever aspiring to.
|Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul
I haven’t been to Trinidad, my parents’ homeland since I was a teenager, but every time I read Naipaul’s linked story collection, I am transported there.
|Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
I don’t know if this can be called Octavia Butler’s best. Perhaps the two Parable books top Wild Seed, but this is the one I return to, the one I fall into. It involves a centuries-long battle of wills between lovers. It’s a book that works on the reader on multiple levels. Mostly, it gets at the stark truth about what partnership truly is.
|Sula by Toni Morrison
I read Sula with my mouth open, my eyes wide. The title character is bold, audacious and entirely true and real–perhaps too real for the teenager I was. The book suggested that the world was far more complex than I had previously dreamt it to be. It’s a book that has stayed with me, images from its pages flickering in my mind, returning often as if to remind me how much a part of me the book has become.
|Drown by Junot Diaz
here’s a tough vulnerability to Junot Diaz’s Yunior, the main character of most of the stories in Diaz’s first collection. The story of Yunior, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, unfolds slowly and with each story, he’s at a new stage in his life and there’s a new layer to his humanity. Yunior’s returned twice more in later books, each time the picture grows more complicated. I imagine I’ll be re-reading Drown and Diaz’s other two works for years to come.
About Rion Amilcar Scott
Rion Amilcar Scott’s work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Fiction International, The Washington City Paper, The Toast, Akashic Books, Melville House and Confrontation, among others. A story of his earned a place on the Wigleaf Top 50 (very short) Fictions of 2016 and 2013 lists, and one of his essays was listed as a notable in Best American Essays 2015. He was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and earned an MFA from George Mason University where he won both the Mary Roberts Rinehart award and a Completion Fellowship. He is a Kimbilio fellow. His short story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky) was published in August 2016 and was chosen for The Rumpus’s Book Club. Wolf Tickets is forthcoming from Tiny Hardcore Press. Presently, he teaches English at Bowie State University.