There’s still almost a week left to July, and another month and change to the summer proper. So if you haven’t checked out Open Letters Monthly’s July issue, this would be a good time. For starters, the OLM cast and crew (myself included) have come up with a great, under-the-radar summer reading list, which should nudge even the most stubborn beach reader to try something new. Part 1 ranges from Mark Twain to Andrew Holleran (Dancer from the Dance, one of the most beloved books of my senior year of high school); Part 2 has suggestions from Nabokov to Norman Mailer—and everything in between, or close enough.
In the non-beachy arena:
Maureen Thorson pronounces Sarah Gridley’s take on Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot,” Loom, inconsistent but interesting.
Stephen Akey pieces together the mundane and lovely story in Jenny Bornholdt’s “deeply intimate yet scrupulously reserved” The Rocky Shore.
Steve Danziger makes a rather irresistible case for My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles, edited by Peter Biskind, noting that, “the pity is that Welles couldn’t make his living as a conversationalist.”
Victorial Olsen looks at Margarethe von Trotta’s film Hannah Arendt and the difficulties—and responsibilities—of bringing the woman to the screen.
Justin Hickey examines David Toomey’s take on extremophiles, halophiles, and the shadow biosphere, and other redefinitions of living organisms as we know them, in Weird Life.
Nick D’Annunzio Jones gives us Four Short Poems.
Steve Donoghue gives good marks to Elizabeth Fremantle’s Queen’s Gambit, even with its trope of Tudor-as-(giant)-toddler.
And, in the vaguely creepy—but fascinating—cover article, Victoria Best looks at the short, difficult life of Shirley Jackson and her work’s eloquent reflection of “the great battle she had been waging against evil within and without.”