In every story, something has to happen somewhere. And that somewhere—a place, landscape, world—is crucial to the stories we’re showcasing this week.
In Lauren Groff’s short-story collection, Florida, condos and drugstores clash against snakes, alligators, sinkholes, and inclement weather to create a sense of existential anxiety. Sam Anderson’s Boom Town lasers in on Oklahoma City, often considered part of “flyover country,” and reveals the exciting “Plains epic” that is its history. The writings of Frederick Law Olmsted, the mastermind behind New York City’s Central Park, demonstrate the importance of public spaces, and their impact on people. In her graphic memoir, Imagine Wanting Only This, the artist Kristen Radtke moves from place to place, only to find inexplicable comfort in “abandoned towns, crumbling monuments, and cities destroyed by natural disasters or economic downturn.”
Each week in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas, and ask you for recommendations of what our list left out. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email.
What We’re Reading
“Florida, in Florida, is more than a state. It’s a state of mind. It’s an encumbrance, drowning bodies in humidity. It’s a violent partner, constantly erupting. It’s ‘a damp, dense tangle. An Eden of dangerous things.’”
📚 FLORIDA, by Lauren Groff