Forget the dreariness of your grade-school summer reading list assignments—this summer’s top titles are anything but tired. From engrossing, layered tales to take a few hours off that intercontinental flight, to breezy-but-memorable bits of nonfiction to consume like snacks poolside, these are the books we’ll still be bursting to discuss come September.
What We’re Reading
With an uncommon talent for uncovering the surreal buried in the real, Rivka Galchen’s observations explore what is perhaps the strangest foreign country of all for a writer to inhabit—motherhood. Her essays and snippets beg to be read with a glass of wine after a long vacation day when the kids have finally tired themselves out and fallen asleep.
This summer’s sex-centered beach read is more thoughtful and less trashy than the dog-eared novels of yesteryear. Focusing on the real-life stories of three “everywomen”, Three Women holds a microscope to modern female sexuality that’s by turns bracing and generous—but always nuanced.
Not your average collegiate coming-of-age story, Normal People finds a pair of oddly suited adolescents circling one another throughout their schooling years, driven together by the mysterious magnetism and curiosity that perhaps defines all early loves.
A sheltered performing arts high school, fraught romance, and the threat of an unreliable narrator—what could be better for a summer break read? Susan Choi’s surprising, twisty story is the teen romance the #MeToo era deserves.
Breathing new life into the age-old “odd couple” narrative, Room For A Stranger invites a 21-year-old medical student from Hong Kong into the home of an aging Australian woman and gives them enough space to reconsider their notions of past and future. Cheng thoughtfully writes from both perspectives, letting the reader step into two pairs of vastly different shoes.