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Local Literary Stars Dish on Favorite Outdoor Reading Spots and Books For Summer

When the days get long and lazy and sweaty here in Austin, it’s important to have two things: a completely engrossing read, and a cool spot to stretch out and read it. In honor of TRIBEZA’s June Outdoors Issue, we reached out to local literati to find out their favorite outdoor spots for reading, and what books they’ll be bringing with them this summer.

CALLIE COLLINS

Co-director of A Strange Object + Co-Host of Five Things

Where:

Rio Rita! Three words: Iced Irish coffee.

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What:

I’m already halfway through Amelia Gray’s new story collection, Gutshot, but I’m trying to drag the rest out over several months so I can stay in her head as long as possible. Her stories are dark and flinchy but also riotous, hysterical. And they’re short enough for summer! You can devour at least a couple before the pummeling heat drives you inside.

STEPH OPITZ

Literary Director of Texas Book Festival + Co-organizer of Lit Crawl Austin

Where:

My favorite outdoor spot is, truly, my hammock. I realize that's not a place other people can go, so I guess it's a dead-end recommendation (unless you get yourself a hammock, which you should do!). While I love a good coffee shop or Barton Springs-side reading, part of my job is to read, so I like the peace and quiet of my little nook. Plus, it helps that I can duck back into A/C when needed, which, dang, Texas, is so often.

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What:

I'm really excited to read Karolina Waclawiak's The Invaders (Regan Arts, July). I feel like often the term "summer reads" suggests something light, but I'm ready for something dark, twisted, and I know Karolina will deliver. I am a huge fan of her first novel How To Get Into The Twin Palms (Two Dollar Radio, 2012), so have been anxiously awaiting novel number two.

VINCENT SCARPA

Managing Editor of The Austin Review

Where:

A good outdoor spot in Austin is The Flying Saucer in the Triangle. The service is, we'll go with leisurely, but the beer list is long and the patio gets great sun. Alternatively, stay in bed until the sun goes down like the rest of us who can't stand the heat and say no to life May through August.

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What:

Every summer, I revisit two of my favorite novels: Joan Didion's Play it as it Lays and Joy Williams's State of Grace. They're both sweaty, sticky, scorching books, and make for good — if not altogether uplifting — summer reads.

JILL MEYERS

Co-Director of A Strange Object + Co-organizer of Lit Crawl Austin

Where:

Dry Creek Cafe on Mount Bonnell Road is a classic dive and its deck is a great place to sit on long, light-filled summer evenings.

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What:

I'll be grabbing a drink, taking in the sunset, and reading some surf noir by Kem Nunn or some very short stories by César Aira. His collection Musical Brain delights me — the stories are essayistic, mischievous, and full of surprises.

ADEENA REITBERGER

Co-editor at American Short Fiction + Co-host of Five Things

Where:

One of my favorite places to read is Friends & Neighbors, a coffee-retail shop tucked in the back of an old house on the east side. Order a coffee (served with a novelty spoon) or a michelada (served with a color-changing straw), browse their thoughtfully-curated shop, and grab a seat under the trees in the backyard, right beside the giant purple tie-dye teepee. You'll feel like you're on a faraway vacation. And don't vacations make for the best reading?

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What:

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.

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