Bring it on!
Have we ever been more ready for the summer?
After a grueling year of lockdowns, social distancing, and isolation, I think we’re all ready to burst back into the world, embracing one another and the activities we’ve missed—even the introverts among us, in whose ranks I count myself, have had enough! With vaccine rollouts and the world greening around us, we are prepared to rejoin polite society for new seasons of unabashed mutual appreciation. Indeed, some social scientists are warning that our renewed communion may not be so polite. I’ve heard more than one NPR reference to the fact that the 2020s could imitate the Roaring Twenties in terms of post-pandemic release and debauchery. I can’t be the only one who can’t wait for those stories!
For now, though, we’ve got another great round of fresh stories to accompany you on your travels back out into the open air, wherever they may take you. (We hope they’re grand destinations!) Though we normally reject descriptors like “beach read” as twee and overused, these are unusual times, and we are unusually prepared to suggest books for that exact purpose. May we direct your attention to our mysteries and thrillers feature, whose wild developments are likely to induce chills, even on South Miami or Carribean sands? Pack them along!—you won’t be disappointed. Even our Religion Spotlight abounds with surprises calibrated to the times: featured are books that defy expectations, focusing on voices too often suppressed, from LGBTQ+ Catholics fighting for equality in Gay, Catholic, and American, to the liberation theology-adjacent Abuelita Faith, which centers the voices of Latina women. Paganism and New Age titles appear as well, revisiting ancient traditions with a renewed sense of vitality.
As with our own shelved plans, some of these books have faced long delays in coming to press; we’ve waited with bated breath to introduce them to you, and cannot wait for you to meet at last. We hope this issue finds you having a safe, joyful, normal-adjacent summer, and we wish you much happy reading along the way!
Michelle Anne Schingler,
Photo on front cover by Ema Suvajec, of Antonio Michael Downing, author of Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming. Used with permission from Milkweed Editions.
Image aabove from Finding Muchness, by Kobi Yamada, and illustrated by Charles Santoso. Used with permission from Compendium.
Michelle Anne Schingler