Storyfort Summer 2019 Reading List: Storyfort Team

2 MONTHS AGO

Whether you lounge by the pool, or hide inside to bask in the glory of air conditioning, summer reads are an essential part of the experience!

From autobiographies and short stories, to mystery novels and existential fiction, the Storyfort team has a wide variety of books to recommend to you.

 
Here’s a list of current faves from our Storyfort team:

LIFE WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME BY CHELSEA HANDLER

“A good memoir helps me develop empathy, and makes me feel better about our absurd, shared human experience. Told with a keen sense of observation, humility and wit, Chelsea Handler details her discoveries working with a psychiatrist to help navigate childhood loss. By acknowledging trauma, and recognizing how it informs her personality, she begins to hold herself accountable for her own actions and behaviors. She explores concepts of death, privilege, family/friend relationship dynamics, and the joy of adopting rescue dogs. Handler’s journey is relatable. It is a hilarious and bittersweet take on the art and awkwardness of self-actualization. I loved it.”

—Amy Burton

 

MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH

“Ottessa Moshfegh is one of the more fascinating writers working today, delving into depravity and existentialism with dark comedic precision. Asking whether her characters are “likeable” is entirely beside the point. Her work is a strange and brutally clever exploration of our baser impulses – and most importantly, it’s just really fun to read. I flew through her 2018 novel in two nights. Set in pre-9/11 New York, the story follows an unnamed narrator in her quest for willful hibernation on a cocktail of medications – some real, some products of Moshfegh’s mind. That she could make a book centered on sleep so wickedly entertaining and uniquely profound is a reflection of her genius.”

—Allison Maier

 

NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU BY MIRANDA JULY

“When in doubt, I always return to Miranda July’s 2007 short story collection. It’s my notion of perfect summer reading – delightfully inventive, beautifully written, surprisingly resonant. These are stories that stick. On the rare occasion that I find myself poolside, it seems particularly necessary to read about a woman conducting swimming lessons in a town without water. And on long summer nights, I often revisit July’s renderings of inevitable disappointment and unrequited love. You will laugh out loud as they break your heart.”

—Allison Maier

 

BATTLEBORN BY CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS

“This is one of my all-time favorite short story collections – stark, strange, unflinching, honest – penned by a writer who deeply understands the West, spiritually and physically. All summer I’ll be rereading this collection poolside in Reno, NV, lakeside at a favorite secret spot near Stanley, ID, along the fogged-up shoreline of Seal Beach, CA. Claire Vaye is not to be trifled with. Her stories always teach me something new as a reader, writer, and human being.”

—Christian Winn

 

WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING BY BRANDON HOBSON

“Okay, okay, so as I write this I’m just more than halfway through Hobson’s amazing novel. But, oh man, this book has me by the throat and by the heart. Addiction, loss, the jail system, deep insight into Cherokee culture, star-crossed love, the foster care system, and a voice as honest as I’ve read in some time. They’re all on display here, so yes, I’m trusting that Hobson has follow through. I mean, hey, it was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, and their committee had this to say: ‘Brandon Hobson tells a difficult and important story with much power, beauty, and grace. Hobson’s gorgeous novel is an original American story of the utmost literary significance.’ Back to the novel!”

—Christian Winn

 

OUR COLONY BEYOND THE CITY OF RUINS BY JANALYN GUO

“If you’re looking for an amazing short story collection to accompany you through your summer adventures in the woods, then Guo’s collection is just the ticket. This collection is full of some of the best “weird fiction” I’ve ever read. Every piece I read from here makes me feel like I’m discovering some strange, hidden treasure that may have been hovering in my peripheral vision just out of sight. These stories are beautiful. If mushrooms growing out of people’s pores, dolls made of strands of hair, and plenty of other beautifully weird situations filled to the brim with heartfelt, intelligent writing pique your interest, then you owe it to yourself to pick this collection up.”

—Joe Davidson

 

STILL LIFE BY LOUISE PENNY

“If you’re a mystery fan looking for some tense summer reading with some substance, then I can’t recommend Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series enough. Penny knows how to craft a masterful sentence. I’m not going to lie, when the first book in the series was given to me I was expecting it to be another nice, quick cozy mystery (which aren’t really known for their beautiful sentences) but by the time I was done reading my copy of the book it was covered with highlighter, underlines, hearts, and a few of my own tears. I hold these characters, and the mysteries they find themselves embroiled in, incredibly close to my heart. Plus, Louise Penny really understands how to write about dogs, and I think that’s an important component of any good summer vacation.”

—Joe Davidson

 

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