A Capella Books’ Matt Nixon Shares His Summer Reading List – WABE
For many, warm weather means summer reading, whether you’re on vacation, enjoying more free time, or just enjoying reading at home. “City Lights” picked up recommendations from writer Matt Nixon, also a bookseller at A Capella Books. He joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to share her curated list of great reads for the summer.
Highlights of Matt Nixon’s summer reading picks:
“A Little Push Up” by Melissa Chadburn – “It’s remarkable, and I’d go so far as to say it’s not just the best thing I’ve read this year – I don’t know if I’ve read top five in the last few years “, attested Nixon. . “There’s no way I’m doing justice to the beauty and grace that exists within these pages…. Our main character is a young woman named Marina Salles, and it opens up to the moment of her death at the hands of another person, a man. And as she is dying, we take the perspective of what we have just discovered is the ‘eswang’…. It is a Filipino myth of the spirit, and we are then guided through the life of Marina, three generations of women.
“Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel – “It’s wonderful. It’s life-affirming. She’s had a lot of press lately; her 2014 novel…’Station 11′ was shortlisted for the National Book Award,” Nixon said.[‘Sea of Tranquility’ is] bit of a time-hopping narrative structure, but what really gives it resonance is that one of the areas the book is in is set in the year 2203, and there’s an author who wrote a bestselling book about living in a pandemic…. It really speaks to our times and what it’s like to live through a pandemic, and the hope and the joy of living that can still happen, and what happens after that. And it’s really meaningful that way, but it’s just a ripping thread too.
“Young Mungo” by Douglas Stuart – “For those reading… his 2020 Booker Prize winner ‘Shuggie Bain…’ it’s largely the same medium; that tough Thatcher-era scrabble in Glasgow. It has a real tactile sense of place, and just the sadness and futility…. Shipbuilding jobs are gone, and there’s just a lot of desperation in the air,” Nixon said. “In the middle of it all, you have Mungo, who has a torn and separated family, an alcoholic mother. And he finds a neighbor, James, who is Catholic, and it becomes a friendship with the carrier pigeons, and then they start to find out what those feelings might be – and they’re forbidden. It’s just a wonderful story of the flower in the cracked sidewalk – that hope can exist in such a toxic place.
“Olga dies dreaming” by Xochitl Gonzalez – “Just everywhere in a wonderful way,” Nixon said. “Readers embarking on this one can expect a love story complicated by family trauma and past experiences, ideas of place and status…. It’s also insight from the top wedding planners high-end and ultra-elite, and there are those great sequences of Olga trying to leverage her wedding planning business into TV opportunities… [it] really has a short review on some of the reality TV and daytime TV. So it’s a kind of handbag; you get a lot of Puerto Rican history, Puerto Rican culture in New York and, and the status of what’s been happening in Puerto Rico since the hurricane a few years ago. So it’s kind of a wild mix.
“From Hollywood with Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy” by Scott Meslow – “It was the only non-fiction book I sent you that I was happy to talk about,” Nixon admitted. “This book takes romantic comedy seriously…. For many reasons, sexism being primarily one of them – since romantic comedies are mostly aimed at women – film research doesn’t really take it seriously. And that’s sort of a starting point for Scott Meslow in this book, because he takes it seriously…. It’s just a great read for anyone who loves movies, period, period.
“Pay Dirt Road” by Samantha Jayne Allen (another A Capella Books saleswoman) – “It’s a literary whodunit. But what Samantha did with this book, she elevated it and took it to places that were kind of unexpected,” Nixon said. “Annie McIntyre is the main character. 22 years old… [She] doesn’t really have any career prospects at the moment; she returned home to her small town of Garnett, Texas. And one of her colleagues in a restaurant where she works, ends up disappearing and ends up dying…. Annie launches into the investigation. And what really sets it apart is just a tremendous sense of place. You can feel the rain when it hits the dust. The author does such a shrewd job of depicting those conflicting feelings that many of us have for about an hour in our hometown – love, hate, frustration, anger.