Summer books, like summer movies, are generally widely promoted and easily found. Here are the books not so easily found that provide the pleasures of summer reading and leaven them with more than a frisson of the unusual.
From the San Francisco steampunk ghost huntress to the true story of the mother and daughter behind feminism and Frankenstein, these ARE the books you were looking for – but might not otherwise have found.
Let's start with Vermillion by Molly Tanzer, a trade paperback from Petaluma publisher Word Horde. This is the epitome of the weird Western adventure, featuring Elouise "Lou" Merriwether, a 19 -ear-old "psychopomp" keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades and the undead. Jung tells us the psychopomp is a mediator between the unconscious and conscious realms. For Tanzer she's a supernatural troubleshooter. For the readers, she's one hell of a lot of thought-provoking Taoist heroine fun.
As it happens, British publisher Egaeus Press recently published Tanzer's collection of recipe-driven short stories Rumbullion. Their latest book is Bastards of the Absolute by Adam Cantwell. Egaeus crafts books as art on all levels. Bastards looks like an ancient volume of forbidden lore, and happily it reads like that as well. From prisoners entombed in murals to stories narrated by classical composers, this is deeply bent high literature. You may think that the author needs therapy while reading these, and you might seek the same tre afterwards.
In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft gave birth to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She's a founding figure of feminist philosophy and action. In 1797, she gave birth to her second daughter, also named Mary, who grew up to become Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Charlotte Gordon examines the lives of these two literary and philosophical ground-breakers with the passion and intensity of a literary thriller. Gordon has the gift of great characters to work with, and she tells their story with verve. A great pairing with Tanzer's novel.