Now that summer has truly taken us into her embrace, we’ve been thinking of some of our favorite summer pleasures. And it was fairly unanimous: one of the sweetest times of summer is lounging around in the sun, maybe on a beach, maybe your favorite spot on your back porch or yard, and in your hands is a good book.
Keith Taylor coordinates the undergraduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan, he is a poet and a writer, and he is simply the best at uncovering hidden gems for us to read and enjoy.
The first book on his summer reading list is In the House Upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell.
“There’s something about this book that is much more myth than anything we might easily label as reality,” said Taylor. “Here the author is making some demands on the reader. And many readers, particularly in July, might not want to submit to those demands. You don’t read this book to escape.”
The novel includes themes of infertility, memory, and nature, and Taylor predicts that it could grow to have a cult following.
The second book is The Things that Are by Amy Leach, a collection of nature essays.
“Amy Leach has an imagination that transforms things, and she finds words and phrases that change them too,” Taylor said.
The third book on the list is A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, which centers on the Second Chechen War.
“Marra’s great at describing the place and the devastation. He creates genuinely vivid characters,” Taylor said. “I was completely drawn in and was left rather wonderfully devastated at the end. If you feel the need to read for a good cry, or cathartic cry, this book will do it.”
Taylor concludes his list with the collective poetry of Robert Hayden, a Michigan poet who often wrote about the Detroit neighborhood where he grew up.
-Michelle Nelson, Michigan Radio Newsroom
Listen to the full interview above.