If you’re lucky, you’ll be spending this long weekend barbecuing or beaching or participating in some other kind of ecstatic relaxation to usher in summer. But since you can’t actually spend all of your time staring into the sun or drinking whiskey lemonades, you might need a little extra stimulation—and since this is the last weekend of Short Story Month, you might as well get stimulated by some summery short stories. Thus, I am offering you ten recommendations for short stories you can read right now, on your phone, to distract you from your blossoming sunburn or give you a good excuse to ignore your drunk friend’s rambling diatribe or just please your brain while you’re on your beach towel. Mostly these are short enough that your arm won’t get tired holding up your phone, some are short enough that I predict you’ll be reading them out loud to the group, and a couple are worth flipping over for.
Moshfegh’s most recent published story is one of the longer pieces on this list, although it’s still short enough to knock out during one cocktail. It tells the story of an American man idealizing/obsessing over the tropical island he visits with his wife and the “beach boys” (male prostitutes) he noticed there. A meditation on how privilege and personality can spiral out of control.