8. Let the Great World Spin Colum McCann’s masterful 2009 novel won the US National Book Award for fiction — and with good reason. Action revolves around Philippe Petit’s real-life tightrope walk between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974. A host of characters (there are, in fact, 11 different protagonists) tell the often intersecting/overlapping stories of their experiences around that event. It’s an incredible “slice of life” novel, examining the pathos of NYC citizens during one single summer.
9. Equinox Coming back to a direct summer solstice connection, we end with Equinox. Never heard of it? Then you aren’t a die-hard special effects fan. Dennis Muren lead the effects team on this stop-motion wonder from 1970 — before he went on to win Oscars for Star Wars and Jurassic Park. Proving that it’s not just for monster-movie buffs, The Criterion Collection recently released a double-disc special edition, which includes effects commentary by Muren.