Our Summer Recommended Reading ListAugust 15, 2022
We hope you’ll enjoy these featured selections from the past twelve months, chosen by our readers and staff. If you missed the pieces when they appeared in the magazine or want to read them again, just click the links below. Our thanks to everyone who took time to let us know about the stories, poems, essays, and interviews they loved. (To send your own letter to the editor, click here.)
Essay by Andrew Dubus III, July 2021
Reader Linda Paul writes: “This type of simple-yet-complex writing is what keeps me looking forward to each new Sun arriving in my mailbox each month.” Dubus is the author of seven books, including the novel House of Sand and Fog. This is his first piece in The Sun.
It’s Friday Afternoon in the Florida State Penitentiary and the Men Read Poetry
Poem by Laurie Rachkus Uttich, August 2021
Uttich is a teacher who leads weekly writing workshops in a Florida prison. She is the author of the poetry collection Somewhere, a Woman Lowers the Hem of Her Skirt.
Life, without Imitation
Essay by Caille Millner, November 2021
In her March letter to the editor, reader Deirdra Kearney writes: “It is said that the mark of a brilliant writer is the ability to allow others to transcend their individual realities so that they might observe other truths. Kudos to this talented and brave young woman.” Millner lives in San Francisco and is the author of the memoir The Golden Road: Notes on My Gentrification.
The Elephant in the Room: Rick Perlstein on the Evolution of the American Conservative Movement
Interview by Jeff Weiss, December 2021
Author and historian Rick Perlstein’s four volumes on the rise of modern conservatism have traced our cultural fault lines from the failed Republican presidential bid of Barry Goldwater in the 1960s to the success of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Over the past two decades Perlstein has become a prominent chronicler of America’s rightward shift, charting the tectonic movements beneath the surface to show how today’s political divisions are the unmistakable aftershocks of earthquakes long ago.
The Devil Takes Back
Essay by Blessing J. Christopher, January 2022
From reader Makafane Tšepang Ntlamelle’s letter to the editor: “Coming from Lesotho, another African country, I was moved by Christopher’s somewhat-familiar stories about jiggling Bibles and traditional African spiritual practices. She presented the place and its people with complexity and compassion. I hope The Sun will continue to publish these varied voices.” This is Christopher’s first piece in The Sun.
Memory: Short-Term Loss, Long-Term Gain
The Dog-Eared Page excerpt by James Hillman, February 2022
Hillman was a psychologist and author of more than twenty books. Over a ten-year period The Sun published three interviews with Hillman. He died in 2011. To read more of his work that has appeared in the magazine, click here; to read Michael Ventura’s personal tribute to Hillman, click here; to read a condensed version of our interviews with Hillman, click here.
Sun staffers Staci Kleinmaier and David Mahaffey nominated two poems from our March issue for inclusion in our reading list. This is Arlett’s first poem in The Sun. To read more of Potos’s poems, click here. Her newest poetry collection, Her Joy Becomes, will be published by Fernwood Press in November 2022.
Short story by John Fulton, April 2022
To read Fulton’s 2001 short story “Outlaws,” click here. His newest book, The Flounder, is forthcoming from Blackwater Press.
The Carnivore’s Dilemma: Wyatt Williams on the Moral Conundrum of Killing and Eating Animals
Interview by Finn Cohen, May 2022
For more on the topic, check out Deirdre Peterson’s essay “Seventy-Two Labors,” The Dog-Eared Page reprint of “Morally Indefensible” from Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation, and Doug Crandell’s essay “Show Day.”
Essays for My Daughter
Essay by Michael Torres, June 2022
Torres teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. His first collection of poems, An Incomplete List of Names, is the winner of the National Poetry Series, published by Beacon Press. Order a graffiti-signed copy here. To read Torres’s 2017 essay from The Sun, click here.
For last year’s recommended reading list featuring Jennifer Bowen Hicks’s Pushcart Prize–winning essay “Night Cows,” click here.