If you live in Florida, summer is a great time to catch up on your reading. It’s too hot for the beach. On the weekends, I’ll often spend a few hours in air-conditioned coffee shops reading books. Here are a few of my favorites so far this summer.
Ka, by John Crowley. A masterful fantasy novel (let’s call it a fable) about a crow named Dar Oakley, born two thousand years ago, and his adventures with humans. The book is beautifully written and reveals much about humanity through the eyes of a truly unique character. Yep, a crow.
The Stones of Florence, by Mary McCarthy, originally published in 1959, is filled with interesting historical tidbits and observations about Florence and its peculiar people. (I’m a bit of an Italy-ophile.) Much of the book was built on her nonfiction articles that first appeared in The New Yorker. My reading copy is a beat up old paperback I found in a library sale. Just the way I like ’em!
Ward Number Six and Other Stories, by Anton Chekhov. Another library score. (It was a good day.) God, I’d forgotten how much I love Chekhov. I’m sure it’s been more than twenty years since I’ve read any of his work, so the stories felt new, rich, and in some cases surprising. They continue to resonate with me and are even better than I remembered. Great writers never die. Re-read your favorites.
My top 3 online short story recommendations for the summer so far:
- Sci-Fi: “Painless,” by my pal Rich Larson (Tor.com)
- Fantasy: “For He Can Creep,” by Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com)
- Mainstream: “Uncle Jim Called,” by David Rabe (The New Yorker)
And, finally, for your listening pleasure, don’t forget to check out my short story “Bella and the Blessed Stone,” as read by Nicole Imthurn on her show Radiovert (WFMU radio). The episode is now archived on her site, along with several others.
I hope your summer reading is going as well as mine!