Summer Reading List: These local finds are a perfect hammock accompaniment
Local authors and publishers are always hard at work creating, innovating and, of course, writing. Take any (or all!) of these five selections along to the beach, and get swept away without ever leaving shore.
1. Famous Men Who Never Lived, by K Chess
K Chess’s science-fiction novel takes readers through a richly created pair of parallel worlds. Hel, the novel’s protagonist, fled her original universe for ours, following a nuclear war that leads to refugees. The New York City she finds herself in is not quite her own, and she struggles to settle into her new reality and clings to a science-fiction novel from her own timeline, The Pyronauts.
Thinking locally: K Chess lives in Providence.
2. Molly Falls to Earth, by Maria Mutch
Time and memory play together in this novel that explores the seven minutes during which the eponymous Molly lies on the sidewalk, experiencing a seizure. Per the novel’s description on Simon and Schuster: “Molly Falls to Earth forms a constellation around the spot where Molly lies on the edge of Washington Square Park. Interwoven throughout are documentary segments featuring the voices of others who search for the lost, obsessed with those who have gone missing.”
Think locally: Maria Mutch lives in Rhode Island.
3. Chazan! Unfiltered, by Lenny Schwartz
Illustrated by Erminio Pinque of Big Nazo Lab, this graphic novel explores the establishment of the first dialysis clinic in Rhode Island. This biographical story weaves together art and medicine, the doctor’s two passions, and discusses the things that make life meaningful. Chazan! Unfiltered is the recipient of a National Indie Excellence Award in the graphic novel category.
Think locally: The author, editor, illustrator, layout designer and subject are all Rhode Islanders.
4. I WISH I WASN’T ROYALTY: A Playable Chapbook
This collaboration between four poets and illustrator Catherine Weiss takes on an inventive and tradition-breaking format to create an interactive experience. Forming a completely playable 52-card deck, each card contains a line of poetry that can be read in a variety of ways — standalone, as part of its poem (which as a whole creates one of the four suits), or combined with other cards to create the player’s own poem. From the publisher: “Playing a game of cards with this deck creates opportunities for poetic fragments to offer up an ever-shifting found poem, which echoes the experience of living with extreme mood-states.”
Play any card game you might with a traditional deck, and enjoy the sun, sand and poetry with friends.
Think locally: This chapbook is published by Game Over Books, a small press based in Boston.
5. Nantucket Nights, by Elin Hilderbrand
Grief, friendship and secrets form the bedrock of this breezy novel about three friends who experience an unexpected and jarring loss. After one of the friends doesn’t return to shore from their traditional skinny dip off the Nantucket coast, the repercussions ripple out from their small circle of friends and threaten to destroy all that they know.
Think locally: Elin Hilderbrand lives in Nantucket, Massachusetts.