Books: Anthologies Pt. 5

We’re nearing the end of the anthologies! As much as I enjoy these large collections of stories by various authors, I’m ready to talk about some individual titles. This post will cover the Caribbean and Latino anthologies I have, then all we have left is Shakespeare and two small student publications I picked up during my time at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Although I have two Shakespeare anthologies, they contain the same content so it shouldn’t be too bad (I actually enjoy a lot of his work).

To begin, let’s get into The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature—a small-ish anthology at around 507 pages (before the Bibliography). It’s organized into six sections based on year, and each section is further separated into Poetry and prose, and Non-fiction works. There is a general introduction to the anthology as a whole as well as introductions to each section that give brief histories on the authors and works being presented.

1900-29 includes works by:
Tropica (Mary Adella Wolcott), Tom Redcam (Thomas Macdermot), J.E.C. McFarlane, Albinia Hutton, H.S. Bunbury, Astley Clerk, P.M. Sherlock, Eva Nicholas, Clara Maude Garrett, H.D. Carberry, Claude McKay, H.G. De Lisser, A.R.F. Webber, C.L.R. James, Leo Oakley, Harvey Clarke, Edward Baugh, and Amy J. Garvey

1930-49 includes works by:
Una Marson, George Campbell, Louise Bennett, Roger Mais, Vera Bell, A.J. Seymour, The Mighty Chalkdust, The Mighty Sparrow, Albert Gomes, The Beacon Editorials, Victor Stafford Reid,  Alison Donnell (one of the anthology’s editors), Mervyn Morris, Gordon Rohlehr

1950-65 includes works by:
Martin Carter, Elma Napier, Samuel Selvon, Jean Rys, Karl Sealy, Henry Swanzy, George Lamming, Sarah Lawson Welsh (one of the anthology’s editors), Reinhard Sander & Ian Munro, Evelyn O’Callaghan

1966-1979 (don’t know why the number formatting changes from here) includes works by:
Dennis Scott, Anthony McNeill, Christine Craig, Mahadai Das, Rajkumari Singh, Sylvia Wynter, Gerald Moore, Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, James Berry

1980-1989 includes works by:
Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mikey Smith, Jane King, Grace Nichols, Lorna Goodison, Jamaica Kincaid (one of my favorites), Harry Narain, David Dabydeen, Ramabai Espinet, Denise Decaires Narain

The 1990s includes works by:
Jean Binta Breeze, Benjamin Zephaniah, Mutabaruka, Lawrence Scott, Carolyn Cooper, Merle Hodge, John Vidal, Derek Walcott

(Just as a note, I have omitted repeat authors in many of the sections.)

There is a good variety of content in this anthology, and you won’t be disappointed if you decide to pick it up. However, I’m biased and I would say that about any of my anthologies. 😉


I took two Latino/a Literature courses during my undergrad program—[Into. to] Latino Literature and Hispanic Women Writers. The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature was acquired during the first of the two (the HWW course called mostly for individual books by specific writers, to be discussed at a later date).This is a large anthology. It begins like most with “Contents”, but also has an Alternate Table of Contents. Contents is arranged by time period, whereas the Alternate Table of Contents is arranged by region.

Here’s a brief picture of what that looks like:

Colonization: 1537-1810
Annexations: 1811-1898
Frontier Memoirs
Southwestern Newspaper Poetry
The Chacón Family
Acculturation: 1899-1945
Upheaval: 1946-1979
The Nuyorican Poets
San Antonio Women Poets
Puerto Rican Young Lords
Into the Mainstream: 1980-Present
Writers of Latinidad
Popular Dimensions
Dichos [manifestations of popular wisdom]
Chistes [jokes]
Cartoonistas [comic strips]
Teatro Popular [theater]
Cuentos and Leyendas [folktales and legends]
Canciones [songs]
Appendix 1: Chronology—Literature and History
Appendix 2: Treaties, Acts, and Propositions
Appendix 3: Influential Essays by Latin American Writers

Alternate Table of Contents
Cuba (3rd highest number of works)
Popular Dimensions
Dominican Republic
Mexico (highest number of works)
Popular Dimensions
Puerto Rico (2nd after Mexico)
Popular Dimensions

Now that you have an idea of how this anthology is organized, let’s talk about some of my favorite authors in this collection. There are very few authors whose entire bibliography I enjoy. Many authors are hit or miss in my eyes, even the ones I really like (except Octavia Butler, I LOVE her stuff…all of it). I was exposed to the authors below in my Hispanic Women Writers course (one of the authors below actually taught said course), along with many others, and these are still among my favorites. The works included can be found in a variety of locations besides this anthology, and I’d suggest looking to see if any of them are available for free online.

I’ll list my favorites and their works that are included in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature:

Nicholasa Mohr (Upheaval/Puerto Rico)
May, 1945
The Wrong Lunch Line: Early Spring 1946
Aunt Rosana’s Rocker (Zoraida)
A Journey toward a Common Ground: The Struggle and Identity of Hispanics in the U.S.A.

Rosario Ferré (Upheaval/Puerto Rico)
The House on the Lagoon (one of my favorites)
Thanksgiving Day, 1936
Writing in Between

Isabel Allende (Into the Mainstream/Chile)
From Part 1: December 1991 to May 1992

Julia Alvarez (Into the Mainstream/ Dominican Republic)
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Daughter of Invention
Entre Lucas y Juan Mejía
Bilingual Sestina
The Sisters

Pat Mora (Into the Mainstream/Mexico)
A Child, a Child
La dulcería
Coatlicue’s Rules: Advice from an Aztec Goddess
Manliche’s Tips: Pique from Mexico’s Mother
Consejos de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: Counsel from the Brown Virgin

Judith Ortiz Cofer (Into the Mainstream/Puerto Rico)
The Story of My Body
The Latin Deli: An Arts Poetica
The Chameleon
Hostages to Fortune

Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés (Into the Mainstream/Cuba)
Muchacha (After Jamaica)
**I love her most because she was my favorite professor at UCF. She’s an awesome woman, writer, teacher, mentor, etc., etc. I can’t speak highly enough of her.**

Another Latino author that I really like is James Cañon. He isn’t included in this anthology, but I have his book Tales from the Town of Widows, and we will definitely get to that later on when I start talking about individual books in my collection.

In my next post I’ll briefly talk about the Shakespeare anthologies I have, and then we’ll only have one more part to this series on anthologies. Hang in there, we’re almost through. 🙂

As always, if you have any questions you can contact me here.

Happy Reading!


Books: Anthologies Pt. 4

I have a deep love and appreciation for multicultural literature. I’ve had the privilege of taking entire classes that focus on Latino and African American/Caribbean Literature. These were always my favorite classes because the experiences of these writers are much deeper than those of other writers I have encountered. I could go on and on about this, but I won’t bore you with my infatuation. Instead, let me introduce you (or re-introduce you if these aren’t new to you) to The Norton Anthology of African American Literature and Best African American Fiction 2009.

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature begins with musical and oral traditions. Music is a central part of the Black experience–regardless of country of origin–and its place at the beginning of this anthology hints to its importance.

The Vernacular Tradition covers Spirituals, Gospel; Secular Rhymes and Songs, Ballads, Work Songs, and Songs of Social Change; The Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Hip Hop, Sermons and Prayers, and Folktales. Some of the musicians include Duke Ellington, Andy Razaf, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G.), and Nas. Orators include James Weldon Johnson, C.L. Franklin, Howard Thurman, G.I. Townsel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, James Alexander Forbes, Jr., and Bert Williams.

The anthology continues from here in a chronological fashion–as with many of the other anthologies we’ve been over so far:
The Literature of Slavery and Freedom 1746-1865
Phillis Wheatley, George Moses Horton, Sojourner Truth, Martin R. Delany, Harriet Jacobs, Victor Séjour, James M. Whitfield, Frances E.W. Harper, Harriet E. Wilson
Literature of the Reconstruction to the New Negro Renaissance, 1865-1919
Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Pauline E. Hopkins, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson, William Stanley Braithwaite
Harlem Renaissance, 1919-1940
Angelina Weld Grimké, Anne Spencer, Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer, Rudolph Fisher, Langston Hughes, Helene Johnson
Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, 1940-1960
Melvin B. Tolson, Dorothy West, Richard Wright, Robert Hayden, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry
The Black Arts Era, 1960-1975
Hoyt Fuller, Malcom X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, June Jordan, Lucille Clifton, Ishmael Reed, Toni Cade Bambara, Nikki Giovanni
Literature Since 1975
Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Clarence Major, Sherley Anne Williams, Alice Walker, Ntozake Shange (have you seen For Colored Girls?), Gloria Naylor (The Women of Brewster Place is also a great movie), Rita Dove, Essex Hemphill, Edwidge Danticat (love her! but we’ll get into that in a future post)

Following these main sections of literature are:
Timeline: African American Literature in Context
Selected Bibliographies
Audio Companion Notes by Robert G. O’Meally (Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English, Columbia University)

Yes, that says “audio companion notes”. This 2nd edition of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature does come with a 2-disc audio companion (that I never actually opened…shhh, don’t tell anyone). The first disc includes music by Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Mahalia Jackson, Zora Neale Hurston, Ma Rainey, Big Maybelle, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, and John Coltrane among other greats; and the second disc includes spoken words by Booker T. Washington,W.E.B. Du Bois, Countee Cullen, Margaret Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Toni Morrison, Rita Dove, and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, just to name a few.

I definitely feel the need to crack that seal now and give the audio companions a listen. Reading them is one thing, but I know from past experience with other audio companions that listening to them brings an entirely new dimension to the works included.


Best African American Fiction 2009 is a much smaller anthology, only about 315 pages compared to 2700+ pages of the Norton anthology we just went over, and begins with two introductions–one by the series editor, Gerald Early, and one by guest editor E. Lynn Harris. There are three main sections–Stories includes eight stories by eight different authors, Novel Excerpts includes four different authors, and Young Adult Fiction includes four different authors as well. Because this anthology is small, I can list the entire Contents. Yay!

Following the two introductions the contents are listed as:

Pita Delicious by ZZ Packer
Albino Crow by Chris Abani
Orb Weaver by Emily Raboteau
The Saving Work by Tiphanie Yanique
Dance for Me by Amina Gautier
Cell One by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In the Blink of God’s Eye by Edward P. Jones
This Kind of Red by Helen Elaine Lee

Dark Reflections by Samuel R. Delany
The Great Negro Plot by Mat Johnson
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

Excerpt from Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
Excerpt from Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers
Excerpt from Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Excerpt from Up for It: A Tale of the Underground by L.F. Haines

The anthology ends with Permissions and Credits and a section about the editors.

The authors included in this anthology were all new to me when I picked it up, with the exception of Junot Diaz. I haven’t purchased any other books in this series, but I would. Small anthologies such as this one are particularly enjoyable for me because I get to experience a variety of authors in a way that is not as overwhelming as the larger anthologies. I fully intend to expand my collection of small anthologies…as soon as I am able to make some space on my existing bookshelves.

I encourage you to explore some African American literature in whatever capacity you have access to. It will definitely open your eyes to some great literature if you haven’t encountered it before.

In my next post we’ll get into some Caribbean and Latino literature, so look out for that.

And as always,
Happy Reading!


Books: Anthologies Pt.3

Hiya! Let’s just get into it. In this post I’m covering The Norton Anthology of English Literature (8th edition) and The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women (2nd edition).

English Literature is distinct from American Literature in that English Literature is…well…English. The texts in this anthology are taken mostly from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, with a few texts from other countries.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature is organized as follows:

The Middle Ages (to ca. 1485)
[Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Middle English, and Medieval English Literature]
Including (among others): Beowulf, The Wanderer, The Myth of Authur’s Return, Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Sir Thomas Malory

The Sixteenth Century (1485-1603)
Including (among others): John Skelton, Sir Thomas More, The English Bible, William Tyndale, Anne Askew, Book of Homilies, Roger Ascham, Mary 1 (Mary Tudor), Lady Jane Grey, Elizabeth I, Edmund Spenser, Frobisher’s Voyages to the Arctic, Drake’s Circumnavigation of the Globe, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Thomas Campion, Richard Barnfield

The Early Seventeenth Century (1603-1660)
Including (among others): John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, Ben Jonson, Mary Wroth, Elizabeth Cary, Sir Francis Bacon, Robert Burton, Thomas Hobbes, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Richard Lovelace, Katherine Philips, Andrew Marvell, Lucy Hutchinson, Margaret Cavendish, John Milton

The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1785)
Including (among others): John Dryden, Samuel Pepys, Aphra Behn, Mary Astell, Matthew Prior, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Frances Burney, John Locke, Olaudah Equiano, Oliver Goldsmith, William Cowper

Popular Ballads

Poems in Process

Selected Bibliographies

Appendixes [the book’s spelling]
Literary Terminology
Geographic Nomenclature
British Money
The British Baronage
Religions in England
The Universe According to Ptolemy
A London Playhouse of Shakespeare’s Time

If you’re unfamiliar with English Lit. or just want a point of reference, this is a good place to start. The texts are all before 1800, so they are Old English. I would like to get my hands on some more recent English Lit., but there are so many books in my physical “to read” collection already, and even more on my “to read” list.

The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women is the best because women make the best writers. There are some pretty good male writers out there, but they can’t hold a candle to these chicks. There’s so much more raw emotion in literature written by women. Okay, so I’m biased, but who cares? This anthology covers a multitude of fabulous female writers from the middle ages to the late twentieth century. I’ll give you a breakdown of the sections and list just a few authors within each.

Literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Margery Kempe, Juliana Berners, Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Anne Finch Countess of Winchilsea, Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Helen Maria Williams

Literature of the Nineteenth Century
Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley (yes, Frankenstein!), Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Fanny Fern (Sara Willis Parton), Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Florence Nightingale, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Louisa May Alcott

Turn-of-the-Century Literature
Constance Fenimore Woolson, Alice James, Kate Chopin, Lady Augusta Gregory, Olive Schreiner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (I LOVE The Yellow Wallpaper), Edith Wharton, Charlotte Mew

Early-Twentieth-Century Literature
Willa Cather, Amy Lowell, Gertrude Stein, Virgina Woolf, Mina Loy, Elinor Wylie, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Marianne Moore, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Zora Neale Hurston, Djuna Barnes, Dorothy Parker, Louise Bogan, Meridel Le Sueur

Later-Twentieth-Century Literature
Dorothy Livesay, Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Bishop, May Sarton, Muriel Rukeyser, Tillie Olsen, Ruth Stone, Margaret Walker, Judith Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Doris Lessing, Denise Levertov, Anne Sexton, Patricia Beer, Maya Angelou, Ursula Fanthorpe, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Lucille Clifton, Diane Wakoski, Margaret Atwood, Sharon Olds, Linda Hogan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Jamaica Kincaid, Jorie Graham, Rita Dove, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Rebecca Brown

There are some great writers in this book, but I’m partial to Zora Neale Hurston, Jamaica Kincaid, Maya Angelou, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This is a great introduction to some of their most popular works, but it would be very beneficial to delve deeper into their material. Their perspectives on life and the female experience are phenomenal, and are guaranteed to give you “feels” (like the kids say. haha).

In my next post I’ll introduce (or re-introduce) you to The Norton Anthology of African American Literature as well as Best African American Fiction 2009. Multicultural literature has such a rich quality to it that cannot be matched by anything else. I won’t get into it now, but keep an eye out for my next post.

BTW, if you aren’t following Christine’s Book Collection yet, go ahead and do so–you’ll be notified whenever I post something new.

Happy Reading!