Roxane Gay’s Summer Reading List

Here’s the thing about Roxane Gay: She is one of our favorite people. Pretty high up on the list, too. Not only does her essay “(How to Write) A Love Story” appear in our new issue, but she floored us at our second annual Blue Light Reading in March, and is generally – yes, I’m going to say it – a literary badass. Like, her story “North Country” is forthcoming in the Best American Short Stories 2012, and she edits essays for The Rumpus. I’d wonder when she has time to sleep, but I know from Twitter that she doesn’t.

…which is the long way to say that when she tells you what you should be reading, you should read it. I for one will be tracking these babies down:

With the Animals by Noelle Revaz: A raw, disturbing book about a brutal man who treats his wife and children like animals and his animals like family and how, ever so slowly, reaches for the more human parts of himself.

How to Get Into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak: This has been one of the most unexpected reading pleasures of the year. This beautiful novel is a meditation on displacement and loneliness and a woman who tries to find someone to hold onto in Los Angeles, which may be one of the loneliest cities in the world.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Flynn is not afraid of darkness and Gone Girl is a book where every character is irredeemable in some way yet entirely captivating. The book is a thriller written as a character study and with each new layer of complexity, Flynn shows us how unafraid she is to allow her characters to be the terrible, beautiful, fucked up people they really are.

Redshirts by John Scalzi: I don’t read a lot of science fiction but Redshirts is a delightful, quick read, a meta novel if you will. The story parodies bad science fiction television where the characters in the show realize they are actually in the show and return to earth to try and save themselves. There’s a lot to laugh about in this smart, engaging book.

But before you run to the bookstore, I suggest you start with Roxane’s thrilling review of the new movie Magic Mike.

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