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Kiese Laymon Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Long Division (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Heavy (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Kiese Laymon is a popular novelist from the United States, who is popular for writing science fiction, time travel, feminism novels and poetry. He is particularly famous for writing novels like Long Division, Bone, Scratch, The Fire This Time, How to Slowly Kill Yourself & Others in America. In addition to being a noteworthy novelist, he is also a renowned editor as well as a professor of Creative Writing and English at the Mississippi University. The works of author Laymon often deal with the topics of feminism, masculinity, American racism, geography, family, Hip-Hop, and black life in the Southern states. Laymon maintains a blog called Cold Drank on which his essays, short fiction works, provocations feature very often. He also features some pieces penned by several guest contributors on the blog. Besides writing for several publishing houses, Laymon has penned some stories and essays for many online publications, such as contributing with his editing work for Gawker and some frequent posts for ESPN. The birth of author Laymon took place on August 15, 1974 in Jackson, Mississippi. He was brought up in his hometown and obtained his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin College. Later, he studied at the Indiana University and earned his Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Author Laymon has also studied at the University of Jackson State and the Millsaps College, from which he received a suspension after studying for one year for taking a book from the college’s library without checking out. Laymon’s mother used to work at the university as a professor of political science. The suspension of Laymon was also the result of a long criticism from the college’s administration which believed that his controversial works on the topic of race in the newspaper of the college affected the atmosphere of the entire campus ans the alumni relations in adverse ways. After this, author Laymon decided to detail his racism experience and that of living in Mississippi as a black man in the form of an essay and published it under the banner of Gawker. This essays was read on a wide scale and attracted positive and negative comments for the way Laymon portrayed racial experiences of black men. Eventually, the book was included in Laymon’s autobiographical essays’ book with the same name.

After his graduation, Laymon moved to upstate New York and took teaching job at the Vassar College. While living there, he had penned the story-line of Long Division. This book contained some explicit aspects exploring racial politics. When he tried to get the book published, Laymon received a lot of criticism and was asked to omit the explicit portions by one of the major publishing companies. But, Laymon refused to do so and was in negotiation with the publisher for a very long time. An independent publisher called Agate Publishing eventually chose to publish Laymon’s controversial books starting from 2013. After the successful release and worldwide success of his novels, author Laymon was hired by the Mississippi University for teaching Creative Writing MFA. Laymon’s book, Long Division, was named as the best book of 2013 by many publications such as The Believer, Guernica, Buzzfeed, Mosaic Magazine, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Contemporary Literature, Library Journal. The novel became the winner of the William Saroyan Prize and also received positive reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal. Besides this, it was also praised by many critics and noteworthy literary journals.

The debut book written by author Kiese Laymon in his writing career is entitled ‘Long Division’. It was released by the Agate Bolden publication in the year 2013. The main characters featured in this book include Citoyen Coldson, Shalaya Crump, Baize Shephard, etc. The setting is done in the Melahatchie coastal community in Mississippi. Laymon’s description of the story deals with violence, authorship, religion, celebrity, coming-of-age, etc. after Katrina hits Mississippi. The story is written in a lacerating, wise, and funny voice. There are two interconnected stories depicted in the novel, the first begins in 2013 and shows how 14 year old Citoyen Coldson suddenly becomes a YouTube celebrity following a meltdown at a national televised quiz show. The second story shows how he moves to his grandmother’s place in Melahatchie and learns about the disappearance of a teenage girl named Baize Shephard.

At the start of the book’s story, it is shown that Citoyen Coldson, or City, is handed a book named Long Division before leaving the city. He comes to know the name of the book’s lead character is also City Coldson, but the book takes place in 1985. The book’s City Coldson joins his love-object friend named Shalaya Crump in discovering a way of time traveling. Shalaya and City steal a cellphone and a laptop from a teenage rapper, Baize Shephard, and travel in the year 1964. Their intention is to help a fellow time traveler in protecting his family members from the dangerous Klan. In the end, the two stories get converge in City’s grandmother’s mysterious work, where City comes to know the reason behind Baize’s disappearance.

Another mind blowing book that author Laymon wrote in his career is called ‘Bone’. It was published by the Penguin publication in 2017. Laymon penned the book in collaboration with a fellow writer named Yrsa Daley-Ward. This book is actually a poetry collection. The critics have hailed it as a must read and have praised every word of it. The work of Yrsa and Laymon feels like holding truth in one’s hand. It appears to be stark and raw, and the poems look like they strip down the reflections on life, faith, heart, inner self, loss, etc. to the essence. Also, the poems seem resonating to the experience’s core. The book feels like a symphony of mending and breaking. It is like an expert storyteller of the purest and rarest kind. Laymon and Yrsa’s description of the tumultuous external and internal battles faced by a woman head on is depicted with hard hitting directness. There is also the inflection of optimism all over in the collection. This collection of poems was highly appreciated by the writers and critics alike. It became a huge success among the masses and attracted readers with all kinds of tastes and liking. On the whole, the collection appears to be a complete package with something in it for all kinds of readers.

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