You’ve been to the beach. You put a Petoskey Stone in your mouth to see if what they say is true. You got the rental car stuck in the sand. Now you need something to read. Everybody’s got recommendations and there’s a lot of good stuff to choose from. Here are four more to put on your list.
The Listeners by Leni Zumas
You say you love language? You get high on writers who are word-drunk? If you haven’t read The Listeners I’m not sure I believe you. The language is stunning, as are the characters Zumas creates. The fractured way she assembles the story is amazing. Should have been a huge best seller, could still be. Go buy it.
She Drove Without Stopping by Jaimy Gordon
Lord of Misrule won the National Book Award for fiction in 2010. She Drove Without Stopping came earlier, with the same intense power of perception and absolutely gorgeous language, focused on a young woman and her escape from a torturous home life and practically everything else. There's a wounded-strong adventuress without limits, a despicable father, a passive mother...the ride goes from Maryland to a hippie college in Ohio to LA and every page has something to stun you. Must read.
You Only Get Letters From Jail by Jodi Angel
Teenagers on the edge of society. Nothing working like it should. No story going where you think it’s going to go, until it gets there and feels like it was inevitable all along. The boy/man with the kitchen knife trying to rob the woman at the ATM, who turns out to be someone he dated, who turns out to be…ah, you just have to read these. Bleak, strong, desperate worlds, and so true to life I'm afraid to wonder how she knows all this stuff.
A Simplified Map of the Real World by Stevan Allred
Okay, you can’t read this yet, since it’s not published, but you should start counting the days until September 12 or so. Allred understands story and people and family and music and many other things at a level that sometimes makes me feel like a newborn, in a very good way. I wrote a piercing, erudite blurb for this book, and when I was done I said screw it and wrote this instead:
“These are some of the best stories by anyone, anywhere, bar none. If they're not, you can hit me in the face.”
I feel sure I’m missing some great books here, and there’s a bunch on my summertime TBR list that I think I’m gonna love. Once I get the car out of the sand, I may add some more.
Go ask your dad for the keys to the Honda Can your sister come along, how could she not wanna
"It’s A Summertime Thing" by Chuck Prophet