Summer Reads 2022

June 14, 2022

A photograph of the book discussed in the article below in a stack on a rock before a small pond

I’m planning a deep dive into the three available novels in Maja Lunde’s climate quartet, all translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley: The History of Bees, The End of the Ocean, and The Last Wild Horses. This will be my introduction to Lunde’s work, but as someone who needs to devote more energy to climate issues and loves the past-present-future time-shifting work of Emily St. John Mandel, I purchased all three at once.

I also look forward to reading more work by Filipina-Australian writer Merlinda Bobis. More than a decade ago, I read her Banana Heart Summer, a novel. I now look forward to reading her latest collection of short stories, The Kindness of Birds. Currently shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Short Fiction, the judges’ comments sum up nicely what drew me to this book: “Through stories spanning cultures and species, past and present, this generous and richly lyrical collection introduces us to the Filipino practice of kapwa—care and kindness—that, ideally, extends to the human and non-human in times characterised by large and small, planetary or domestic violence.”

In The Book of Delights, Ross Gay writes that “in almost every instance of our lives, our social lives, we are, if we pay attention, in the midst of an almost constant, if subtle, caretaking.” How can kapwa inform this caretaking, both of others and the natural world? I’m eager to learn.

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Photo by Shevaun Williams

Michelle Johnson is WLT's managing and culture editor.