Jen Rickard Blair’s Summer Reads

Summer weather has already arrived in Austin, and it’s the perfect excuse for WLT’s digital media editor, Jen Rickard Blair, to jump-start her annual summer reading list. Her selections this year include a “cli-fi” novel, a short-story collection, a podcast adapted to book, and poetry.

Gold Fame CitursClaire Vaye Watkins

Gold Fame Citrus

Riverhead Books, 2015

This debut novel by Claire Vaye Watkins is a realistic dystopia that follows the story of two young “Mojavs”—Luz and Ray—in the badlands of a drought-destroyed southern California. Her beautiful prose and enrapturing story is the recipe for an engrossing page-turner.


The Things We Don't DoAndrés Neuman

The Things We Don’t Do

Trans. Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia
Open Letter Books, 2015

I read Neuman’s Traveler of the Century a few years ago and have since been craving a dive into more of his captivating storytelling. The Things We Don’t Do is a short-story collection that contains a collection of unpredictable tales ranging from philosophical to playful.


Welcome to Night ValeJoseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

Welcome to Night Vale

Harper Perennial, 2015

I’m a longtime fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and am thrilled to discover the creators have spun their darkly funny and mysterious stories into a novel. The book is based in the same town in a nameless desert where ghosts, angels, the “glow cloud,” government conspiracies, and more intersect to create a mysterious atmosphere that could be likened to Twin Peaks or The Twilight Zone.


Map: Collected and Last PoemsWisława Szymborska

Map: Collected and Last Poems

Trans. Clare Cavanagh & Stanisław Barańczak
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015

I’ve been wanting to read more of Wisława Szymborska’s poetry, and this newly published collection includes the poems from her last Polish collection. I hope to encounter more of her wit and wisdom in these pages.


Jen Rickard Blair is the art and web director at World Literature Today.