Mesha Maren Recommends


The literary world is abuzz about Mesha Maren’s debut novel Sugar Run, which goes on sale today. It was named one of the most anticipated books of the year by BuzzFeed and Entertainment Weekly, and this weekend’s New York Times Book Review features a full-page rave from Charles Frazier, who praises Maren as “masterly . . . clever . . . brilliant.” And if you listened to her interview with Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition, you know why Maren’s unique voice and perspective is one we need to hear right now.

Curious to know more? You’re in luck. Below, Maren shares the albums, books, and podcasts (among other things) that have inspired her recently.


Albums in Heavy Rotation

“Stronger Lady” by Hot Tears

“Belly” by Erica Freas

“Home for Orphans” by Reigning Sound

For more: Listen to a Sugar Run Spotify playlist that I made at this link.


Recommended Reads

The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan. Check out my review of this book on The Millions.

Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working-Class South by M. Randal O’Wain. I’m super excited about this essay collection that’s coming out in 2019. I read an advance copy and it is amazing.

Suspicious River by Laura Kasischke. This was an early inspiration for mixed past/present tense form that I use in Sugar Run.

What Has My Attention

Humantarian Respite Center and Border Angels are two great organizations that are providing relief for members of the Migrant Caravan.

Ear Hustle and Serial are two podcasts about the justice system that I’m currently fixated on.

The activist art that the organization Queer Appalachia and acclaimed photographer Nan Goldin are using to fight back against Purdue Pharma and their involvement in the opioid epidemic, especially in Appalachia.

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