The Ultimate Guide To Summer Reading

Some people beat the summer heat binge watching the best new TV shows in the air-conditioned comfort of their living rooms, or heading to the multiplex to catch the latest blockbuster flick. We'll be doing our fair share of that, too, but we also plan to spend some time curled up in the shade with an Arnold Palmer and a good book. The only thing harder than finding a killer spot in the park will be choosing what to read first.

This season's crop of new reads has something for every kind of bookworm. A page-turner in the vein of Gone Girl. A collection of supernatural stories way ahead of its time. The touching memoir of a famed neurologist and New Yorker writer. An investigation into the internet’s gang mentality — and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Whether you find yourself on the road, on a plane, or just kicking it at home, you’ll be sure to find a literary match from our list of the best new reads for summer 2015.
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Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
To Blow Your Mind

On the Move by Oliver Sacks
Not only is Oliver Sacks a brilliant neurologist, he’s also made the topic of the brain relatable to the masses with his fascinating pieces for The New Yorker and in his numerous research books, including Hallucinations, Musicophilia, and Awakenings. Now, he’s written about his own life in an inspiring autobiography about growing up, the intricacies of learning, and his passion for science. It’s a fascinating introspection that celebrates all facets of life.
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Photo: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
If You Miss Mad Men

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Like a modern-day female Don Draper, Ani, the protagonist of Jessica Knoll’s gripping debut, crafts a glamorous identity for herself out of thin air. When the secrets of her past come back to haunt her, Knoll’s book flips from a tale of reinvention to a wildly fun, Gone Girl-esque thriller.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
As You Think About Your Next Meal

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
Not since Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw has a book about the food industry made us truly salivate. In famed food critic Ruth Reichl’s first novel, young Billie (who never cooks) leaves college to work as an assistant at the fictional Delicious! magazine. When the magazine folds, Billie uncovers old fan letters from a young reader dating back to WWII. The contents of these letters help Billie find the courage to journey into new territory of her own: the kitchen.
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Photo: Courtesy of Featherproof Books.
Before Governors Ball

The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper
Any music fan will want to pick up Hopper’s cheekily-titled collection of journalism, essays, and record reviews. You’ll laugh your way through her prickly critique of Bangerz, shake your head at “Louder Than Love: My Teen Grunge Poserdom,” and, finally, feel understood after reading “I Have a Strange Relationship with Music,” knowing that someone else craves listening to and thinking about albums as much as you do.
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Photo: Courtesy of Spiegel & Grau.
On Your Flight To France

My Paris Dream by Kate Betts
This memoir from Harper’s Bazaar editor Kate Betts is a must-read for any aspiring fashion journalist. Betts takes us to 1980s Paris, where as a young expat, she establishes herself as a budding culture writer. Through hard work, she is taken under John Fairchild’s wing — and is set on a wild ride through fashion shows, night clubs, celebrity encounters, and of course, style.
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Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
For Your Boring Commute

England and Other Stories by Graham Swift
If you’re a city-dweller who relies on public transportation to get to work, then pick up the latest from the award-winning Graham Swift. This collection of bite-size stories of quotidian life in the U.K. countryside is sure to chill you out till you reach your stop.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dey Street Books.
To Love Yourself!

Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons
In this bold and revealing memoir, blogger Brittany Gibbons tells the story of what it was like to grow up overweight in the Midwest and hate her body for most of her life. That is, until she learned to overcome her fat shame after seeing how her negativity affected her young daughter.
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Photo: Courtesy of Doubleday.
At The Beach

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
If you’ve always fantasized that The Devil Wears Prada ended with Andy taking Miranda Priestly’s job, then you’ll find satisfaction in this glossy satire of the world of magazines. Written by fashion vets Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, this fun beach read is a mainline into everything about Condé Nast that they don’t want you to know.
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Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Classics.
To Get Spooked

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
This one goes out to fans of the supernatural. Get to know the stories of the inimitable Angela Carter, the original wizardess of eerie lit, with her collection of stories featuring Gothic fairy tales, imaginative fables, and other creepy yarns. With a fresh, updated cover and a new forward by Kelly Link to honor Carter’s 75th birthday, The Bloody Chamber is a bible of the otherworldly.
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Photo: Courtesy of Doubleday.
While Sowing Your Wild Oats

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread by Chuck Palahniuk
From the twisted mind that brought you Fight Club and Choke comes Palahniuk’s first collection of short stories. Expect kinky sex, mind-altering drugs, and an appearance by the founding member of Fight Club himself, Tyler Durden.
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead.
To Swoon & Shiver

The Rocks by Peter Nichols
In this decades-spanning mystery novel, Peter Nichols sweeps us away to a Mediterranean island, and slowly uncovers its murky history: In 1948, two honeymooners suddenly fell out of love with each other. Generations later, the same thing occurs again. Feel free to think of this as the anti-romance novel. It’s definitely not your typical love story.
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Books.
When You’re On Vacation

The Vacationers by Emma Straub
In this coming-of-age novel told from the point of view of a high school graduate, what seems like an ordinary two-week family trip to Mallorca turns into something far more dramatic when dark secrets, unexpected flings, and disappointments all crash the summer getaway. The latest from the same author who wrote Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures.
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Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
When You’re Feeling Nostalgic

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
It’s been almost 20 years since the beloved author of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Summer Sisters released a novel for grown-ups. Her new generation-spanning story takes place in the ’50s against a backdrop of post-WWII paranoia, Communist suspicion, and technological advancements (think: commercial air travel) — a time that Blume herself lived through as a teen. (Look for an excerpt from the book on Refinery 29 on June 2.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.
For New York City Time Travel

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
In Jami Attenberg’s follow-up to The Middlesteins, we’re taken way, way back to NYC’s Lower East Side neighborhood during the Great Depression, when the title character transforms her beloved movie theater into a safe house for the homeless.
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Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
When You Want A History Lesson

In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar
Through stories set all over the globe, newcomer Mia Alvar imagines the lives of the Filipino diaspora. Her sprawling collection digs into the Philippines’ complicated history during the ’70s and ’80s.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little A.
Because It’s Baseball Season

The Heart of the Order by Theo Schell-Lambert
Everyone knows that a good sports novel begins with a promising player — and an injury. In Theo Schell-Lambert’s debut, star left fielder Blake Alexander suffers a career-halting accident that leaves him spending the season behind a laptop instead of third base. It’s a heartfelt love letter to America’s favorite pastime that will keep you engrossed, even if you’re just a casual fan of the game.
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Photo: Courtesy of Doubleday.
Before Your Crazy Family Reunion

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
In this sequel to his best-selling debut novel, Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan invites us back into the ridiculous and exclusive world of Chinese billionaires. This time, an American-born Chinese girl is poised to marry the heir to one of the biggest fortunes in Asia.
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Photo: Courtesy of Picador.
While Killing A 4-Hour Layover

Abroad: A Novel by Katie Crouch
For the ill-fated narrator of Katie Crouch’s Italian-set thriller, a college semester abroad results in new friends, glamorous parties, and a grizzly crime. Fans of Crouch’s previous page-turners (Men and Dogs and Girls in Trucks) won’t be able to put down this suspenseful romp, inspired by the real-life events of the Amanda Knox story.
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Photo: Courtesy of Melville House.
While Balancing Your Creative Pursuits

The Next Next Level by Leon Neyfakh
An extended version of an n+1 longread by the same name, Leon Neyfakh follows the life and career of Juiceboxxx, a rapper from the Midwest who never quite made it big, but whose persistence has captivated Neyfakh since his teen years, when the two first met. Part memoir, part in-depth reporting of Juiceboxxx’s life, this one will inspire you to act on your dreams.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little A.
While Soul Searching

South on Highland by Liana Maeby
At once an autobiographical novel about addiction and a riff on the silliness of Hollywood’s screenwriting scene, Liana Maeby’s honest, funny debut examines the way we tend to sabotage ourselves just as everything seems to be going okay.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.
When You’re In A Classic State Of Mind

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Though Harper Lee, now 89, says she wrote Watchman before To Kill a Mockingbird, the new book is in fact a sequel to the 1960 classic that made her a literary legend, picking up in the same Alabama town 20 years after the summer that changed Scout Finch’s young life.
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead.
If You’re Considering Moving

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott
Who says New Yorkers don’t talk to their neighbors? In the follow-up to The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, Kathleen Alcott zeroes in on the interlocking stories of a Brooklyn brownstone owner and her tenants, who, whether they like it or not, become an unconventional family unit during a time of need.
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead.
Instead Of Queueing Up Another SATC Marathon

Barbara the Slut by Lauren Holmes
If you’re in the mood for a new take on young women claiming full control of their sexuality, pick up Lauren Holmes’ short story collection. The 10 tales combine irreverence, smarts, and side-eyed humor.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little A.
During A Thunderstorm

The Hundred Year Flood by Matthew Salesses
This magical debut follows Tee, a Korean-American looking for meaning in Prague on the eve of a flood years in the making. What he finds is a mythical, symbol-filled ride that will stick with you long after the clouds clear.
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Photo: Courtesy of Harper.
For A Fresh Take On Dystopia

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
Filled with satire, strangeness, and a wry view of the way we live now, Alexandra Kleeman’s first novel has the literary world’s loudest voices clamoring with excitement. Touted as “body horror,” this better-than-Divergent dystopian story follows a young woman trying to make sense of her physical form in a world of oppressive media.
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