LONG DAYS AND SHORT STORIES: A SUMMER READING LIST
Sunscreen? Check. Cute bathing suit? Check. Quick hits of literary greatness? Check, times five. No beach day is complete without a good read, especially a story or essay collection for when you’re in between swimming and shell-gathering sessions (or, y’know, sweating on the subway and other less-than-dreamy summer situations). Here are the picks we recommend tucking into your tote this season, whatever you’re up to.
THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD BY TONI MORRISON
Toni Morrison is a national treasure. This collection of speeches and essays, written over the past four decades, is just another gem in her repertoire. Whether she’s speaking on the merits of goodness to Sarah Lawrence’s class of ’88 (“Evil really is boring,” she says), eulogizing James Baldwin or shedding light on her own creative process, Morrison’s lyrical style will hold you captive all the way through.
LOT BY BRYAN WASHINGTON
With fiction and essays appearing everywhere from The New Yorker to The FADER, Bryan Washington’s observations have always been on point—and Lot is no exception. Readers get a unique peek into a young man’s coming-of-age in Houston through these interconnected stories, while also gaining insight around larger ideas of race, sexuality and what makes a place feel like home.
SING TO IT BY AMY HEMPEL
There’s an inclination to refer to Amy Hempel as a minimalist, but “essentialist” might suit her better. She leaves none of the important details out while keeping her prose impressively spare. Sing to It, her first collection of short stories since 2006, proves she’s still got it—in spades. If you’re not familiar with her work, we dare you to read this and not be moved.
THE MOTH PRESENTS: OCCASIONAL MAGIC EDITED BY CATHERINE BURNS
Raise your hand if you’ve ever ugly-cried while listening to The Moth. ✋. The live storytelling events turned podcasts are known for getting at real human experiences in really interesting ways. This new collection takes nearly 50 stories originally told on stage and preserves them in print—it’s perfect for flipping through when you need a healthy dose of inspiration.
EVENING IN PARADISE BY LUCIA BERLIN
“God bless her, Lucia was a rebel and a remarkable craftswoman, and in her day she danced,” Berlin’s son Mark writes in the foreword to Evening in Paradise. Her adventurous spirit shines through in this book, the second her family and publishers have put together since her death over a decade ago. Set everywhere from Puerto Vallarta to Albuquerque, these stories, told through vivid descriptions and precise language, are transporting to say the least.
Now that you’re all set on books, how about that summer wardrobe?