Our own Emily Mandel may have been onto something with her “catastrophic” summer reading list; dystopia seems to be all the rage this summer. The WSJ sets Rick Moody’s The Four Fingers of Death in “a dystopian United States that is halfway between Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano and Woody Allen’s Sleeper.” The SF Chron calls Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story “literature’s first dystopian epistolary romantic satire.” And later this year, as we noted this month, will be Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez, which focuses on a cultish community in the dystopian aftermath of a flu pandemic.
When you’re trying to keep up with the best new writers out there, it’s easy to forget the debt we owe to the classics. So let’s go back to the beginning: Why Homer Matters, a new book by Adam Nicholson on the father of all poets, explores the question of who Homer was, and whether or not he was even one person. You could also read Frank Kovarik on the parallels between The Odyssey and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Need a dose of new Irish poetry in your life? The Irish Times (naturally) has you covered. In the Saturday edition, John McAuliffe reviews two new and notable collections: The Boys of Bluehill by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and The Days of Surprise by Paul Durcan.
Leave the marshmallows at home, and bring your bow and arrow to summer camp instead. In Largo, Florida, the Country Day School created a camp based on The Hunger Games, where campers play intense games of capture the flag. Don't worry, killing your fellow campers isn't allowed.