Published July 12, 2022

As summer travel gets underway, Route 1 Reads has some suggestions to kickstart your summer reading!

Route 1 Reads is a road trip-inspired reading list from state Centers for the Book along Route 1, which runs from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida. Each state suggests a book and this year’s book for Virginia is My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.

My Monticello is a collection of short stories and the novella of the same title, exploring burdened inheritances and extraordinary pursuits of belonging. United by Johnson’s characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, My Monticello is a formidable book that bears witness to this country’s legacies.

In case you missed Johnson at the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book, you can watch this video to catch up. She’s featured in a lively conversation with Lisa Woolfork.

So, pick up a copy of My Monticello from your favorite bookseller and check out the other great summer reading recommendations from our neighboring centers for the book!

What critics have said about My Monticello:

“Up close, we cannot ignore our present-day complicity with history even as the novella moves propulsively toward tomorrow’s inevitability. Simply put, a masterly feat.”

The New York Times

“In these six remarkable stories, Johnson depicts strivers struggling to survive in a nation where the game is rigged… My Monticello announces the arrival of an electric new literary voice in Johnson, an emerging master of the short story form.”

Esquire

“A sharp debut by a writer with wit and confidence.”

Kirkus

“The author’s riveting storytelling and skill at rendering complex characters yield rich social commentary on Monticello and Jefferson’s complex ideologies of freedom, justice, and liberty. This incandescent work speaks not just to the moment, but to history.”

Publishers Weekly
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