“In the U.S. you have a game where you play cops and thieves, [right]?...—Cops and robbers! We used to play cops and Pablo Escobar. Some of us would be the cops trying to apprehend Pablo Escobar and his cronies, and then the other group would be Pablo Escobar and his gang. We all wanted to be Pablo Escobar because he was obviously the one with the most power.”—Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author of Fruits of the Drunken Tree, who grew up in Colombia and Venezuela before relocating to the U.S. to attend college, on KMUW’s “Marginalia


9. “Bernice, Bob, and the Great Comet of 1812”

10. “2 Benjamin 2 Button”

11. “The Rich Person Who Was Not Very Happy”

Vargas 12. “A Diamond as Big as a Ritz Cracker”

—Brian Boone, “The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ranked,” at McSweeney’s


“[T]his book is the closest thing I have to feeling like I’m free in a country in which I’m not.”—Jose Antonio Vargas, author of Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, on WBUR’s “On Point

Zecher +++

“[T]he process of revising was a lot of extracting…political monologues and…op-eds squished into dialogue because that’s not what novels are supposed to be. Fiction is not supposed to be an op-ed disguised as a fictional story. For me, fiction is the anti op-ed.”—Moriel Rothman-Zecher, author of Sadness Is a White Bird and one of the National Book Foundation’s recently announced 5 Under 35 honorees, in the Washington Post


Page 49: We did not take the children to the killing fields of Choeung Ek, in Cambodia, for spring break when Joanie was eight. The bracelet she brought in for show-and-tell was not, as she claimed, found in a shallow grave. It was a souvenir from our trip to Legoland.”—Patricia Marx, “Dear Publisher”—a mother’s attempt to correct “a few tiny errors” in the paperback edition of her daughter’s memoir, The Whore of Babylon—in “Shouts & Murmurs” (The New Yorker)

Megan Labrise is a staff writer and the co-host of the Kirkus podcast, Fully Booked. The photo above of Moriel Rothman-Zecher is by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey and the photo of Jose Antonio Vargas is by Elena Siebert.