By Denise Oliveira
Now that summer has officially arrived and you’re ready to hit the beach with a good book, we bring you a list of five must-reads curated and described by Andrew Unger and Sophie Stewart of Book Court in Brooklyn.
Nick Flynn’s most recent collection is ambitious and raw. Personal and prescient, Flynn talks of Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the same breath as his young daughter. A collection of poetry that cements him as one of the great poets of our time.
Spend the summer with sisters Dionne and Phaedra in Barbados, where they find themselves suspended in a tropical world very different from their native Brooklyn. The girls have been thrust into the universe of their formidable grandmother by their mother, who has sent her daughters back to the scene of her mysterious past while she battles depression back in New York. An intoxicating coming of age story and a stunning debut novel, ripe with complications of womanhood, heritage, mental illness, and love.
A novel whose complexity and ambition belies its length, The Meursault Investigation defies classification — it is not quite a retelling of Camus’ The Stranger, it is also an answer, an homage, and a challenge to the classic. This is the story of the nameless Arab left for dead on the beach, and the story of Algeria, a country struggling to find its post-colonial identity in the heady wake of revolution.
Maggie Nelson is one of the most original memoirists and critics writing today — without fail she approaches any subject with uncompromising honesty and a keen intellectual bent, rendering her personal experiences as relevant and immediate for the reader as her explorations of critical theory, philosophy, and art. In her latest book she addresses the universal themes of love, motherhood, desire, and sexuality through her own marriage and pregnancy, challenging societal and genre norms in her inimitable style.
The editors have assembled a far-flung collection of essays that hail from Whittier, Alaska to El Paso, Texas, Reading, Pennsylvania to Las Vegas, Nevada. Each piece comes from a different writer who is intimately acquainted with the charms, strengths, hardships, and hopes unique to their homes. Read together, they present a meaningful portrait of our country’s urban life as our cities emerge from the Great Recession.