Is there anything better than summer reading? Maybe. Possibly many things.
Still, slow summer days — book in hand, cold drink nearby, some body of water off in the distance — are one of life’s great pleasures. If you’re looking for your next read, here are eight new books worthy of a spot in your beach/pool/park tote…
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
Do you like weird things? Do you enjoy sentences that beg to be savored? If you answered “yes” to either, you may want to check out Pond. Composed of 20 brief sections, Pond features the poetic, stream-of-consciousness observations of a nameless, solitary young woman. Yep, that sounds boring, but it’s good, I swear. From peeling fruit to having sex to writing emails, our anonymous heroine casts a bewitching veil of beauty over the minutiae of everyday life.
Shrill by Lindy West
So. F*cking. Funny. I want to provide 18,000 specific examples to illustrate this point, but I won’t rob you of a single firsthand moment of its funniness. West’s memoir explores being a loud woman in “a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible — like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you.” This quote from Jenny Lawson sums it up perfectly: “It made me hurt, both from laughing and crying. Required reading if you are a feminist. Recommended reading if you aren’t.”
How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky
If you, like me, can’t get enough of Ask Polly, the New York Magazine advice column full of cursing, tough love, and excellent guidance, then get your paws on this book. From relationships to career to emotions to family, Polly has you covered. This volume of never-before-seen columns, along with a few old favorites, is almost as good as having her on speed dial.
Losing It by Emma Rathbone
26-year-old Julia Greenfield is a virgin. This summer, she’s committed to changing that. Losing It is smart, funny and full of heart — the perfect beach/vacation/when-you-want-something-light-but-not-stupid read. This book will especially appeal to anyone who has ever shouted (out loud or just to themselves), “WILL I EVER FIND MY PERSON??”
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
If mysteries are more your speed, this is the book du jour. Detective Manon Bradshaw, a thirty-nine-year-old woman enduring a disastrous dating life, is suddenly thrust into the center of a puzzling crime. Perfectly paced, beautifully written, and laced with dark humor, Missing, Presumed is more than a twisty crime novel, it’s literary and complex.
I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
In 2012, comedian Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Tig famously spun this news into comedy gold, as seen in her wonderful namesake documentary. Now, she opens up even more about that harrowing year. Expect to laugh and cry — sometimes all at once.
Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman
Over the course of nine loosely connected stories, Hot Little Hands introduces us to four young women navigating the waters of becoming themselves. Is it light? No. Is it good? Yes. With plenty of sex, drinking, and awkwardness, the book has garnered comparisons to HBO’s Girls. With meticulous pacing, realistic dialogue, and plenty of raw emotion, these stories will resonate with anyone who’s ever felt more than a little lost.
Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel
“Sometimes it seems like ALL books are either about regular people trying to be rich, or else rich people losing all their money,” bemoaned one friend, during a recent conversation. And yes, this novel, about a couple that exhausted the family fortune, would technically fit that description. But Ausubel’s writing, infused with humor, whimsy, and subtle magical realism, makes this book stand far, far beyond the rest of the pack.
And, in case you missed it, here are nine more great reads from last month.
What are you reading these days?