Posts Tagged ‘summer reading’

10 Books We’re Looking Forward To This Summer

Summer is in full swing and there are still a lot of wonderful books to come. As usual, our emphasis is on debuts and small press titles. This roundup only scratches the surface of the exciting new works out this summer, including books by our old, established pals Lauren Groff, A. M. Homes, Ottessa Mosfegh and Laura van den Berg. So kick up your feet, relax on the screen porch, in the pool, or just on your favorite comfy chair, and enjoy one of these refreshing summer reads.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai 

We are so pumped about The Great Believers that we’ve just gotta include a shoutout to our Volume VII judge Rebecca Makkai, whose outstanding novel The Great Believers hit the shelves in June. Don’t take our word for it, though. The New York Times had this to say: “It’s a pleasure, as well, when a narrative opens up worlds not familiar to most readers, when it offers actual information along with the momentum of its story and its characters.”

Publication date: June 19

How to Love a Jamaican: Stories by Alexia Arthurs

The literary world is abuzz in anticipation of Alexia Arthurs’s debut collection. Zadie Smith has this to say: “In these kaleidoscopic stories of Jamaica and its diaspora we hear many voices at once: some cultivated, some simple, some wickedly funny, some deeply melancholic. All of them shine.”

Publication date: July 24


I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux

The world really needs Michael Arceneaux’s debut collection of essays and, luckily for us, we only have to wait until the end of the month. Arceneaux’s essays have appeared in publications such as The Guardian, The Root, New York Magazine, and the New York Times. His essays describe, among other things, what it means to be a gay black man in America today.

Publication date: July 24

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

There are just so many wonderful debuts coming out in July. Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s first novel, is set in Colombia during the time of Pablo Escobar and told from the point of view of a seven-year-old girl.

Publication date: July 31


Let Me Be Like Water by S.K. Perry

The debut novel for Perry, who was longlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate in 2013, relies on a budding friendship between a heartbroken girl and a retired magician. Don’t miss her book, out from Melville House in the dog days of August.

Publication date: August 14


The Five Best Books To Read While You Are Camping

It’s camping season. The lakes beckon, the rope swings are practically screaming your name, and your tent poles are politely gathered in a trusty rucksack just waiting to be assembled in bleary-eyed haste after everyone has had a chance to pee on the campfire. But you’ll have time to kill between morning swims and toasted s’mores, so let’s find you something to read.


Walden – Although Thoreau admits his cabin was a couple miles from town and not a brutal three-week hike in, as your college roommate used to assume, this pleasant tome on the beauty and importance of nature and self-reliance has spurred many a failed back-to-the-land commune.

A Walk in the Woods – After moving back to his native US, travel writer Bill Bryson became fascinated by the segment of Appalachian Trail running through his hometown. He recruits an out-of-shape pal to tag along on his quest to tackle the entire 2200-mile trail, recounting his hilarious undertaking while also waxing rhapsodic on the AT’s history and the general disappearance of wilderness and greenways.

Wild – Let’s take the previous book and flip it to the West Coast: Cheryl Strayed’s mega-bestselling memoir details the author’s 1100-mile hike down the Pacific Crest Trail after a series of personal traumas, much to the delight of Oprah and everyone’s respective aunts. But don’t be reductive! Oprah and everyone’s respective aunts were spot-on when it came to Jonathan Franzen. Respect is due.

The Monkey Wrench Gang – Sure, all the meat eating and casual littering from the “heroes” of this 1975 novel might steer your Earth Liberation Front friends away, but Edward Abbey’s novel of a group of disparate misfits hellbent on stopping the logging industry from paving over the American West’s forested majesty basically remains the founding text for the direct action eco-defense movement. Bring-your-own-caltrops.

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark – Alvin Schwartz’s collection of urban legends and scary folk tales probably won’t affect you the way it did in elementary school, but holy crap have you checked out Stephen Gammell’s illustrations in the last ten years? They’re terrifying, the perfect accompaniment to this classic children’s series. If the Vinder Viper has stuck with you, I think that means this deserves a reread. When I have children, I’m going to make them read these books by flashlight when they misbehave on camping trips.

by Andrew Wetzel