Here we go again. A brief peak into what our editors are reading when they aren’t knee deep in submissions. We hope that you’re taking the time this summer to enjoy a good book near a calm body of water.
Fingers crossed there’s nothing suspicious lurking beneath.
I generally like my reading a little more lighthearted in the summer time. It’s hot, and I don’t want to be crying on the bus. Each of these selections I picked up for pure entertainment value. These are my version of beach reads. (Except in Pittsburgh the closest I get to the beach is the city pool.)
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
I’ll admit it. I picked up The Pisces because of the merman sex scenes promised. (Oh yeah.) The book deals with a lot more than inter-species love, though. The novel follows Lucy in the aftermath of a major breakup. She goes on tinder dates, joins group therapy for love addicts, gets waxed, and meets a sexy merman. Classic rebound stuff. While Lucy is extreme (a parody of crazy-ex-girlfriend-ness), she ultimately poses real questions about female desire, existential dread, and coming to terms with your own body.
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
It’s the future and rising sea levels have almost submerged New York City. Don’t let that fool you though. NYC is far from drowned. In fact, it’s still thriving. The novel follows a groups of characters who have nothing in common except they live in the same building. The action kicks off when two residents of the building go missing. The wide range of characters allow the novel to take on of multiple genres — mystery, post-apocalyptic sci-fi, immigrant experience, thriller, etc. On one hand, I really enjoyed the ambition and range of voices. On the other hand, it forced me to constantly switch gears, slowing me down at times.
Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang
I’m not really sure how I feel about Eddie Huang. There’s no question that he behaves badly. Sometimes I find it refreshing. He tells it how he sees it, no falseness, no pretenses. Sometimes his bad behavior is just that. Bad behavior. Here’s to hoping that this book provides some clarity on him as a public figure. Also, in the wake of Bourdain’s passing, I’m looking for a new food personality and Eddie is in the running.
Dog Years by Melissa Yancy
I first heard about Yancy because someone told me that her writing is a lot like Lauren Groff, who I’m a big fan of. It’s taken me a while to get around to it but I’m ready to dive into this short story collection. Amazon says, “Many of these richly layered stories juxtapose the miracles of modern medicine against the inescapable frustrations of everyday life: awkward first dates, the indignities of air travel, and overwhelming megastore cereal aisles.” I’m sold.
This month, my reading is like my orange juice: pulpy.
Yup, I’m all about some fun, thriller-based summer reads because it’s just too damn hot for anything else. And, as you’ll see, most of the books I’m reading right now are also movies. I don’t know how that happened but it did. Some will argue that many of these books are not high literature, and that’s okay. Enjoy yourself for once, right?
Jaws by Peter Benchley
We’re gunna need a bigger boat! As everyone on the team can attest to, I’ve been obsessed with fishing lately. Plus, a recent trip to the beach got me thinking about one of the best beach-based movies of all time: Jaws. I have never read the novel before, and I’m really looking forward to it because I hear that there’s a bit more going on than the movie.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Another movie! This pick-up was solely based on the fact that it popped up when I was buying Jaws. It’s another movie that I grew up watching. In fact, Jurassic Park had a big influence on me as a child, making me yearn to become a paleontologist. That didn’t quite pan out, but I as an editor, I can be overly critical of a thriller with dinosaurs in it, which is still sorta cool. I guess.
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
This book was brought to my attention and my bookshelf by a book club I belong to. I’m about halfway in and hear that there is a major twist. I can’t spoil it for you, because I don’t know anymore than you do. Unless you read the book of course. Then I guess this is all useless rambling. Still, it’s been an okay read so. I am propelled by the idea of a twist, though. We’ll see.
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
The year of Pratchett continues! This month, I’ll be reading Equal Rites. I’m a few pages into this little novel right now, and it has everything I’ve come to love about Pratchett already. I can’t say enough about Pratchett’s work. If you’ve been following these with any regularity, you will see that he is a mainstay for my monthly shelf. I might have to get a shelf just for his works sooner rather than later.
Maybe it’s the influx of superhero films, the recent “nerd-sphere” buzz regarding an alleged director’s cut of Justice League, or the fact we’ve received several hero-themed submissions, but this month’s reading has been dominated by comics.
Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race by Frank Miller
Three years after The Dark Knight Strikes Back, a terrible threat looms on the horizon, one that will consume the Earth entirely. Unless the Batman can reunite the remnants of the Justice League and stop it.
I love seeing the familiar and the progressive in superhero stories, but with someone as established as Batman, trying something new doesn’t mean guaranteed success, and staying with what works can mean stagnation. With Master Race, Miller toes the line between the uncharted and the affirmed with graceful tenacity.
Marvel Comics’: Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
When half the world’s heroes vanish without a trace, those remaining, led by Doctor Strange and the enigmatic Adam Warlock, must face Thanos the Mad Titan and the six Infinity Gems.
Don’t let the thickness fool you, this is definitely a comic book, riddled with action lines, scantily-clad super ladies, and cheesy dialogue. That being said, it successfully provides scope and cohesion for the ever expanding Marvel Universe, and proves ultimately entertaining.
DC Comics’: Kingdom Come by Mark Waid
In a near-future overpopulated by superheroes, the world’s mightiest have receded out of the public sphere, leaving the world in the hands of those too powerful for their own good.
Seeing Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman past their primes, living in a world that’s actively trying to leave them behind is heartbreaking and powerful.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore
Allan Quatermain, Mina Harker, Edward Hyde, and Captain Nemo form the core cast around which this period-piece thriller unfolds. England is threatened, and a troupe of misfits and exiles must band together for king and country. With cameos by Sherlock Holmes, and a Bond working for MI5, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the book to close the gap between classics lovers and comic book fans.