Deep Read | 9 March 2021

2021 Deep Read Recap


The 2021 Deep Read Program explored Tommy Orange’s novel There There. The novel depicts a variety of urban Native American characters living in Oakland, CA.  Thousands of Deep readers read together in February, shared comments on our website, participated in three salons, and joined us last week for a culminating conversation with Tommy Orange. Students, alumni, staff, and engaged community members across the globe dug deeply into the novel.

Catch up on the weekly email email explorations, salons, class, and our lengthly list of further reading.

Email Explorations

We sent 4 weekly emails that dove into different aspects of the book, guided by UC Santa Cruz professors in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Catch up here:


We hosted three insightful and illuminating salons exploring the book from different perspectives. We’ve embedded videos from the salons here:

Creative Writing professors Micah Perks and Jennifer Tseng led a conversation about the techniques at play in the novel. 

Professors Mayanthi FernandoKatie Keliiaa, and Renya Ramirez participated in a salon-style conversation about the novel.

We hosted a discussion of the novel with members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Indigenous tribe native to the Santa Cruz region.

The Class

In Winter quarter 2021, Porter College offered a course in conjunction with the College Scholars Program featuring Tommy Orange’s novel, “Tommy Orange, There There, and the New Native Renaissance.” In the course, students explored how the power of collective storytelling and community activism is depicted in the struggle against the marginalization of Native life, the exploitation of Native lands, the continued erasure of Native experience from the historical record, and the legacies of genocide and occupation. Many insights from the class were shared with the broader Deep Read community.

Further Reading

Tommy Orange’s Recommendations: 

  • Hanif Abdurraqib, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
  • Billy-Ray Belcourt, This Wound Is a World 
  • Roberto Bolaño, Cowboy Graves
  • Leonora Carrington, The Hearing Trumpet
  • Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was an Aztec, Postcolonial Love Poem 
  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine Series, The Round House
  • Santee Frazier, Dark Thirty, Aurum: Poems
  • Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking
  • Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • Robert Jones, Jr., The Prophets
  • Stephen Graham Jones, My Heart Is a Chainsaw
  • Clarice Lispector (Tommy’s favorite sentence writer):The Complete Stories, Near to the Wild Heart, The Passion According to G.H.
  • Terese Marie Mailhot, Heart Berries
  • Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne-Araphao Education, 1871-1982
  • Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin 
  • Matthew Salesses, Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping
  • John Kennedy Toole, Confederacy of Dunces 
  • David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts: A Novel 
  • James Welch, Winter in the Blood

Faculty and Tribal Band Recommendations 

  • Amah Mutsun Tribal Band: Protect Juristac Campaign (See the Campaign’s Facebook Page and Instagram)
  • Jo-Ann Archibald, Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit
  • Walter Benjamin, “The Storyteller,” from Illuminations 
  • Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition
  • Nick Estes, Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
  • Joy Harjo, The Last Song 
  • Leanne Howe, Savage Conversations 
  • Michelle M. Jacob, Yakama Rising:  Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism, and Healing
  • Susan Applegate Krouse and Heather Howard, Keeping the Campfires Going: Native 
  • Women’s Activism in Urban Communities 
  • Susan Lobo, Urban Voices: The Bay Area American Indian Community
  • Deborah A. Miranda, Bad Indians 
  • N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn 
  • Kliph Nesteroff, We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans and Comedy
  • Renya Ramirez, Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond
  • Greg Sarris, Grand Avenue, Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream, Watermelon Nights: A Novel
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony, Almanac of the Dead, Gardens in the Dunes