17 Books That Should Be On Your Summer Reading List

Summer reading isn’t just for middle school. These fresh reads are perfect companions for the beach — or under your desk at work.

1. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

For: nostalgic former sleep–away campers

In a teepee at an artsy summer camp for gifted youth, six precocious teens forge a bond that lasts a lifetime. A breathtaking chronicle of the joys and jealousies of friendship.

2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

For: Arrested Development fans

An utterly charming and laugh–out–loud funny story of a family in turmoil. Semple is experienced with the topic — she wrote for Arrested Development and was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of America award for her work with the dysfunctional Bluths.

3. Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, by Lucas Mann

For: underdogs, and their fans

In his highly praised debut, Mann captures the spirit of a minor–league baseball team and the heart of the small Iowa town it belongs to. Keenly observant and deeply reflective, this book is at the top of its class.

4. The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner

For: if you’re not done growing up

Meet Reno, a 22–year–old artist with a penchant for really fast motorcycles. This smart, piercing coming–of–age story set in 1975 captures the loneliness and longing characteristic of growing up.

5. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed

For: advice–seekers

A dose of therapy in paperback form. “Dear Sugar” columns radiate with grace, forgiveness and sometimes a kick–in–the–butt of tough love advice. You’ll laugh, you’ll relate, you’ll be crying by page 20.

6. The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

For: wannabe Googlers

If anyone can write a revolutionary book about the role technology will play in our future, it’s these guys. Schmidt was the former CEO of Google and Cohen is the director of Google Ideas. They probably know what they’re talking about.

7. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

For: romantic optimists

This delightful novel proves just how serendipitous life can be. A young actress’s arrival at a rundown inn on the coast of Italy triggers “what ifs?” that take a lifetime to be resolved.

8. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris

For: not David Sedaris fans

If you’re an avid Sedaris fan, then you’ve likely already read many of the essays in this collection, republished here after appearing in The New Yorker and other magazines. But for everyone else, the biting humor and sharp observations are sure to please.

9. The Soundtrack of My Life, by Clive Davis and Anthony DeCurtis

For: anyone who’s turned on a radio between 1966 and today

An autobiographic memoir that is as glitzy and star–studded as a Grammys after–party. A revealing look at the extraordinary — and at times controversial — career of the music industry genius who launched the careers of Whitney Houston, Santana and Alicia Keys, to name a few.

10. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

For: adrenaline junkies

The breakneck pace of this whodunit is surpassed only by your heartbeat as you’re reading it. Put aside time to read this in one sitting because you won’t be able to put it down.

11. Cooked, by Michael Pollan

For: self–proclaimed foodies

Food writer guru Pollen (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) is back. Despite including four recipes, this book is anything but a cookbook. Think of it as a historical and anthropological exploration into man’s relationship with cooking.

12. In the Body of the World, by Eve Ensler

For: men, too

The vagina rock star comes forth with a brave memoir about her recent battle with cancer. Ensler presented the stories of women all over the world with The Vagina Monologues – now she shares her own.

13. Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, by Brian Stelter

For: if Matt Lauer is your alarm clock

New York Times reporter Stelter pulls back the curtain on morning television. Whether you’re Team Today or Team Good Morning America, tune in for this fascinating inside scoop. We just knew there was no way anyone could truly be that goddamn cheerful at 7 a.m.

14. My Brother’s Book, by Maurice Sendak

For: the Wild Thing in all of us

Pay homage to Sendak, who brought us the much beloved Where the Wild Things Are and passed away last year. This last work reflects influence from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale and reads as love letter to his dead brother Jack. It may be 31 pages with pictures, but don’t mistake this for a children’s book.

15. Mr. Penumbra’s 24–Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan

For: booklovers who cherish a manual typewriter as much as their iPad

When an ancient mythical fantasy world meets high–tech Google. An eccentric bookstore tucked away in San Francisco proves that magic can still exist in the digital world.

16. The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs

For: everyone who cried during Marley & Me

The New Yorker digs deep into its archives to present an anthology of essays, poems, fiction and cartoons – all on the subject of man’s best friend. Contributors include the likes of Roald Dahl, E.B. White and John Updike, with a delightful foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

17. The Tenth of December, by George Saunders

For: restoring your faith in the art of short stories

Each piece is individually bizarre, tragic and masterful. The collection was lauded on the cover of The New York Times Magazine as “The Best Book You’ll Read This Year.” Isn’t it time you saw what all the fuss was about?

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