And one more thing I got from taking Kerry Madden's fiction class through UCLA Extension Writers Program...
I met a cool classmate named Monica P. She was the other black person in the class, so she and I just kinda bonded in the way that you do when you're outnumbered in a college classroom.
But she always mentioned that her all-time favorite book was a short story collection by Victor D. LaValle. It's called Slapboxing With Jesus. A short story collection about young men and women, coming of age or finding themselves, in the outer boroughs of New York City.
Several years after her recommendation, I finally picked up a copy. This weekend at EsoWon Books in L.A. Also saw a novel he wrote, The Ecstatic, and picked that up too.
Looking forward to finally reading what my classmate described so passionately.