A (Summery) Literary Dispatch from the Stars


Hello my lovelies, long time no see! It’s me again—WB’s very own anonymous in-house astrologist—with the latest from the stars. The summer holidays are here and those who haven’t compiled their summer reading lists need not worry. Here I am with a reading forecast perfectly fitted to every sign’s needs and curated by the alignment of the stars!

Aries: Hello Aries, you little ball of energy you, how are you enjoying that renewed calm that I promised you at the beginning of the year? If you haven’t noticed anything Zen-like about your mindset this year, you might need a crash diet consisting of a good old book binge. Start with a collection of short stories (why not Lydia Davis or Miranda July’s?) to get your mind accustomed to reading for pleasure again, or read an old favourite, and then take on some heftier novels.

Taurus: Dear Taurus, are you feeling less claustrophobic now better weather is amongst us? Even though you overcame the problems of the past few months, the escapist literature you have been reading this year will stick with you for a while as you forage into the labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges, the bureaucratic mazes of Franz Kafka, the ‘uninhabited’ islands of Adolfo Bioy Casares, and the invisible cities of Italo Calvino.

Gemini: The bumpy ride that was promised you at the start of the year will even out around summer, Gemini, thanks to the stars’ alignments in this period. Make sure to make use of this and rest well during the holidays, because in autumn exciting and scary new things will once again present themselves to you. Your skin has become thicker and you feel the need to find like-minded counterparts in the books you read. Anna Karenina, Middlemarch, Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits or anything by Clarice Lispector will probably suit your fancy.

Cancer: You’ve just moved into a new house, or started a new job, relationship, hobby or field of study and at the beginning of summer you’ll be busy making sure that this will last till at least the end of the year. Reading might not be your priority at this moment, but you’ll find a little time to delve into literature during the summer holidays. Your reading will still mostly consist of books that concern your new ventures, but you also let yourself be guided to some lesser-known classics with a little help from NYRB’s selection of literature from around the globe.

Leo: Leo, have you kept your promise and stuck to your own bookshelves instead of pillaring your favourite bookseller’s? If you haven’t failed at this burdensome task, you may now reward yourself and splurge on a stack of new novels to read slowly and carefully over the holidays. The books on your shelves have inspired you to read more into specific genres and authors, and you now find yourself scourging obscure book blogs looking for anything related to a new favourite author.

Virgo: Have you grown tired from all the attention you’ve been getting from your friends yet? Your life has been a sequence of parties, after parties, and after after parties, and now summer is here, you’ll have to lie down and detox for a while. Luckily, the books and plays you’ll read over the summer will still satisfy your Dionysian fancies. The stars suggest that some bloody Greek tragedies or Donna Tartt’s The Secret History while leisurely sipping on a Bloody Mary will do the trick.

Libra: That new flame or friend you discovered at the beginning of the year will stick with you through summer and beyond, and you’ll probably be going on your first holiday together soon. Travelling makes you panicky and stressful, and in order to avoid getting into heated arguments with your new significant other, you’ll bring your own survival kit: a couple of books. When temperatures rise, a novel like Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger will suffice as some kind of a portable solitary retreat.

Scorpio: You had already been feeling more at ease during spring, but now that summer is arriving you’ll feel more free than ever, Scorpio. The literature you’ll read over the course of summer is correspondingly unconstrained, and even verges on the abstract at times. From obscure Surrealist poetry to Nadja by André Breton, Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian to Nightwood by Djuna Barnes: the more mind-boggling, the better.

Sagittarius: You’ve managed to land yourself a job on the editorial board of a literary magazine or some kind of internship at a publishing company and you have lost all faith in humanity because of all the, excuse my French, shitty writing you’re continually exposed to. However, you see that this is completely down to your high standards, and you understand that you have to do something about your condescending thoughts. Over the summer, you find yourself obsessed with expensive green teas, yoga pants, and Zen koans and although this might seem a superficial pathway to enlightenment, you do become more apt at discovering young literary talents because of your newfound attentiveness to life’s wonders.

Capricorn: During summer the friends that were paying attention only to themselves start knocking at your door again. You realize their friendship didn’t account to that much for you anyhow so you decide to leave them be. You have found more trustworthy friends in the books that have been accompanying you on your many journeys (literal and figurative) this year. Perhaps signing up to one of your local book clubs this summer will get you in touch with more like-minded people.

Aquarius: Great news for you, Aquarius: your newfound confidence will last through the year. You’ve been tackling all of the books on your immense to-read list without encountering an obstacle and summer won’t put you down either. Your favourite author started a root-like maze past other writers, books and genres and you’ve got the right mindset to devote time to all these exciting new books. The only thing that is stopping you from buying all the books you want, is money, but you discover a second-hand bookstore that carries just about everything you need.

Pisces: Magical realism and ghost stories are still what suits your fancy during summer, but you feel more attracted to plays than novels all of a sudden. Maybe it’s the possibility to act out all the parts in your head or the freedom you have in imagining the world set forward by the play. Either way, you enjoy the flexibility and creativity plays offer you and take a liking to Federico García Lorca, Dylan Thomas (especially Under Milk Wood), Euripides’s Medea, and Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie.

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