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My Summer Reading List

Diving back into the literary pool

By Caroline Moore, GA

This past year I’ve revitalized my love of reading. I’d been in a reading slump since 2020 due to working two jobs and COVID plague times. I just completed my first year of grad school, and I’m really excited to relax, read, and write for pleasure this summer. In the last year I’ve had the privilege of slowing down and working less, which allowed me to meet other writers, garner inspiration, and most importantly, have time to read. 

I was babysitting my little brother the other day and noticed his summer reading list on the kitchen table. He’s ten years old and wrapping up the fourth grade. All of the books on his list were the same ones I remember reading at his age, like Because of Winn Dixie, which was even read by our parents as kids. It was kind of jarring for me to see these books continuing to be taught, with nothing new in the mix. No shade to these classics, of course. His fifth grade summer reading list inspired me to come up with a list of my own, since I’ve had quite a few books stack up on my shelf over the past few months.

Here’s my list of books I’m excited to crack open poolside or in my hammock in Audubon this summer. I think they’re a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, story/essay collections, and some of UNO Press’s very own babies. 

Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz

This book of essays is one of the most anticipated books of 2022, according to Amazon. Gutowitz seems to perfectly capture the minds of young queer millennials and our obsession with pop culture, which are all things right up my alley.

In Everything I See Your Hand by Naira Kuzmich

Kuzmich’s collection of stories is coming out next month. I’ve read excerpts of this collection, and Kuzmich’s transcendent prose paired with her subject matter reflects the complexities of immigrant life in Little Armenia.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala 

I was recommended this memoir by my nonfiction professor, Richard Goodman. Memoir is one of my favorite genres because the truth is often stranger than fiction. I also find that well written memoirs don’t have to be about an otherworldly experience, but the mundanity of reading about another person’s life can be so moving. Wave tells the author’s unbelievable story of surviving a tsunami in Sri Lanka and losing her parents, husband, and children in the disaster.

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Wang

I recently had the privilege of attending the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival this spring and attended an author talk by Esmé Wang. When I walked into her session, Wang called me out in front of the audience for having a cool dress on.

An autographed copy of Esmé Wang’s book.

She discussed her writing process and techniques when it comes to writing about your own trauma, such as making a playlist of happy music and taking breaks for self-care. Wang’s book of essays discusses her mental health journey to proper diagnoses and treatment, effectively working to end stigmas around mental illness. 


Sinkhole by Davida Breier 

Last but certainly not least, UNO P’s very own Florida murder mystery, which was recently reviewed by The New York Times. No big deal. I’m a big fan of our other murder mystery, Disorder, so I’ve been looking forward to reading Breier’s work for months now. 

Hopefully these recommendations inspire you to read something for pleasure in the coming months or, at the very least, take time for yourself. 

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