Shawn Stucky, visual artist, is thinking about rereading:

Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski

The book is composed of a bunch of short stories, which for me makes for an easier read since I tend to get distracted easily. I enjoyed the crude and minimalist writing style of his stories. I was curious to analyze his approach to human existence as being gritty, lonely, and destructive. I also enjoyed the content of the stories, which are full of drinking, sex, cursing, and gambling. The best part is I can see myself in some of these situations. Overall, the book is very explicit, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I didn’t feel guilty drinking a few bottles of wine while reading it.

David Zak, executive director of Pride Films and Plays, just finished:

Benedetto Casanova: The Memoirs by Marten Weber

I just read this great new book—it’s the memoir of the gay brother of the famed lover Casanova. The writing is great—historical and erotic—with lots of history, laughs, and adventures. I found out about it through Facebook, which was a first for me. The book is marketed as the first translation of Benedetto’s work penned in 1881, with tons of references to Voltaire, the pope, and great stage and opera stars of the time. For those who like deep dish, there are plenty of anecdotes about naughty twins, misbehaving cardinals, and all manner of encounters, with the temperature hot throughout. And the cover art is pretty outstanding, too!

Meegan Dugan Bassett, senior policy associate at Women Employed, just finished:

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

I am a huge fan of classic literature, and usually avoid pop-culture best sellers. However, I can’t say enough about The Distant Hours. The author spins a masterful tale in which truth and literature are nearly indistinguishable, and family relationships are never quite what they seem. The story goes back and forth in time between modern-day London and the English countryside during World War II to explain a long-ago mystery that until now hasn’t been solved. Fickle reader be warned: this is a long book—but you’ll read it cover to cover and never regret it.

Sally Schwartz, founder of the Randolph Street Market Festival, read:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

If Virginia Woolf recommends a book, I’m going to read it. Thus is the case with Wuthering Heights, by one of the fabulous Brontë sisters, Emily. I loved her extremely vivid and lovingly detailed descriptions of bucolic English life, where people come for dinner and stay a month; the countryside, including gorgeous mossy springs and harsh winters; brooding in musty armchairs with dogs asleep by the fire; lingering illnesses that give way to poetic deaths; and the unrequited, lifelong, vaguely S-M love dance between swarthy Heathcliff and the pale, spoiled Cathy.

Eric Lebofsky, visual artist, read:

Contact by Carl Sagan

For those who remember the 1997 Jodie Foster/Robert Zemeckis [film], forget that now. Yes, Contact the novel describes a universe in which the rational and emotional are different sides of the same coin—or in this case, picture a three- or four-sided coin. But where the movie floundered at its most critical moment, the book brushes off its shoulders and climbs onward to the peak of transcendence. No matter if your tent is pitched in camp atheist or believer, Contact will leave you with a freshly polished sense of wonder and a complicated, dreamlike yearning for infinity.