The unofficial start to summer is nearly here, and with it comes road trips, packed coolers, and bags filled with all of the reads you've been meaning to catch up on. Still looking for some inspiration? Take a gander at Food52 staffers' must-reads below (not a single cookbook in sight!)—you still have plenty of time to pick up a good book or two before the long holiday weekend ahead. Be sure to share the titles you're most excited to devour, too, in the comments below.
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood. I've only read one of her books (Alias Grace) previously, but have become an official Handmaid's Tale addict so am determined to get through them all! Surfacing is a rare short one of hers so I chose that as a quick win!
I will be reading The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Every sentence is smart and hilarious, and I love how the story takes us through all these tiny "insignificant" (as she describes it) moments and makes something entertaining out of them. I'll also be reading The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis. I read a couple of pages of it at the bookstore and was captivated. I'm really into this whole autobiography-meets-fiction thing.
I’m going to be finishing up The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. I read science fiction and fantasy mostly, and it is a genre that is particularly dominated by white male authors. I have been making a point this year to find books written by authors not normally prevalent in these genres. This story follows two woman on journeys fleeing from unspecified dangers. It is a different take on the coming-of-age story told from two very different perspectives: a child traveling across Africa, and a young woman crossing a path across the ocean from India to Africa. I am excited to see how the stories come together.
I have this battered copy of The Sun Also Rises I read every summer; it’s one of my favorite novels. The spine came off one year in Pamplona (no, I didn’t run with the bulls!), and a bartender gave me a big clip to hold the loose pages together the following year in Paris. Hemingway’s narrative is light and summery for the most part, perfect for when you’re drinking and fishing (and don’t want to think too much), yet there’s a dark, quiet undertone emblematic of that entire generation just trying to shake off the traumas of war. Great poolside read!
This feels a little less intellectual than others here, but in keeping with the Hemingway theme, I’m curious to read Paula McClain’s newest book, Love and Ruin. I thought her earlier book, The Paris Wife, was a perfect beach read and I loved her characterization of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. I’m excited to see what she does focusing on Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gelhorn, and her illustrious career.
I am reading Circe by Madeline Miller for a book club, and am surprised by how much I'm enjoying it! I also read a book called Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead that (assistant editor) Katie loaned me that I really loved, and I want someone else to read it so we can talk about the ending.
I’ve had my eye on The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst. I’ve never read anything by him, but some trusted sources have thrown me this recommendation and I’d be silly not to take it.
I'm planing on reading The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. It's a story about a mother and daughter separated by adoption and circumstances and distance, and their bond. I can't wait to read it: Mothers and daughters and tea—all things I love.
I picked up Annihilation, the first book in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, largely because the cover design was so appealing. (I know, rookie move.) But honestly I might start judging all books by their covers based on how this selection went: It's been one week and I'm about to crack open book three! Be warned, it's a bizarre sci-fi/spy/future environmental catastrophe dystopia mash-up and a page-turner, so if you're not into widening your eyes and muttering "WTF?!" every few paragraphs, this might not be the book for you. (And yes, it's also a Natalie Portman movie of the same name...which I have not seen, but I've heard from several sources that the book is way better!)
What's on your summer reading list? Share them with us below!