Two Very Different Books Make For Great Late-Summer Reading

A west Texas road trip gone awry and the story of a woman sleeping her life away are each insightful, and even funny.

By Joy DiazSeptember 3, 2018 9:18 am,

Summer reading lists published by newspapers or literary websites sometimes nudge readers to pick up books they otherwise wouldn’t have. But the choices on many of these lists seem to be super-safe. Other interesting reads often get overlooked.

Clay Smith, editor in chief of Austin-based Kirkus Reviews wants to right that wrong by sharing a couple of candidates for your late-summer reading list that might have escaped your notice.

“Presidio” is a literary thriller set in west Texas. Smith says it’s a road-trip novel about a protagonist who wants all record of his existence to disappear.

“He is an expert car thief,” Smith says. “He’s a total criminal, but he’s a fascinating character.”

Smith says Randy Kennedy, who wrote “Presidio,” is from the Texas Panhandle. He was an art reporter and critic for The New York Times for 25 years.

Smith says though the book is set in the 1970s, its theme of disappearing resonates today.

“Disappearing turns out to be much more difficult than you might think,” he says.

Another book whose title may resonate with readers as summer draws to a close is Ottessa Moshfegh’s “My Year of Rest and Relaxation.”

“It’s a brilliant book,” Smith says.

The protagonist decides to “hibernate” for a year – taking copious amounts of sleeping pills, and rarely leaving her New York apartment.

“This book is not trying to be an existential mediation,” Smith says. “It really is this protagonist’s attempt to hibernate for a year, because she does steadfastly believe the end of her year of hibernation will be a reset.”

Smith says the book is funny and insightful.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.