It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating Memorial Day, but Labor Day (and the unofficial end of summer) is quickly approaching. In our opinion, there are few better ways to soak up the last days of the season than in the sun with a good book. We turned to our friends at The Brooklyn Public Library for some recommendations to pack in your beach bag over the next few weekends. “All of the books in this list come with surprises,” says Assistant Branch Manager Kalliopi Mathios. “Each title has a clear intention summarized for the reader, but these books take twists and turns that allow the reader to end up somewhere they didn’t quite expect. Ranging from poetry, essays, to literary fiction, these recently published books make an excellent addition to your beach bag or chaise lounge.”

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west elm - 5 Books To Read This Month from The Brooklyn Public Library

Black Wave
by Michelle Tea

I read Black Wave last year, and still think about how flawlessly Michelle Tea weaves laugh out loud humor with intense social and political themes. Michelle finds herself struggling in the opening chapters of the book, and falling in and out of love with various women while trying to make art and survive both financial stress and drug addiction. After Michelle moves to Los Angeles from San Francisco, an impending apocalypse shocks the world. Steamy appearances by Matt Dillon at the end of the world included!

Nature Poem
by Tommy Pico

Tommy Pico is one of the most compelling writers in contemporary poetry. His second collection Nature Poem follows Teebs – a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet who resists writing the stereotypical poem about nature. Pico’s rhythm and economy of words explore the colonial conception that NDN people were made to seem closer to nature in order to more easily enact genocide. Readers listen to Teebs navigate his own beliefs regarding nature, identity, sexuality, music, and ultimately learn how to have faith in his own voice.

The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories
by Lynne Tillman

Lynne Tillman is an expert at genre blending. In The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories, readers enjoy a collection of Tillman’s fiction about cultural sites like the Freud Museum and the Ellis Island Museum. Originally printed in exhibition catalogs and art magazines like Art in America, Tillman weaves criticism with humor, insight with detail, in a delightful collection that challenges the way we think.

My Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante

Many readers have heard of Elena Ferrante’s wildly popular Neapolitan Novels, and if you haven’t had time to start the first book My Brilliant Friend, this makes a great end of summer read especially if you haven’t been able to get away this summer. This novel transports the reader outside 1950’s Naples, where Lila and Elena first meet and become close friends. Through the four-volume story, their friendship and the lives of each character change and grow with beautiful storytelling and page-turning drama.

Stephen Florida
by Gabe Habash

This debut novel shocked much of the literary world, and landed a spot on many end-of-year booklists. Set in North Dakota, Stephen Florida follows a character by the same name through his college years as a D4 wrestler struggling with the loss of his parents, his obsessive behaviors, and poor impulse control. This is not, however, simply a novel about a wrestler. This remains one of the best character-driven novels I’ve read in years, and confronts ideas of personality, loss, human connection.

Kalliopi Mathios of The Brooklyn Public Library

Kalliopi Mathios is an Assistant Branch Manager based at Marcy Library, occasional book reviewer, part-time poet, and art lover. She likes cooking for friends, watching foreign films, and reading everything from philosophy to horror novels.

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