19 Books Guaranteed To Make Your Summer, Courtesy Of Our Fave New Yorkers

Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Summertime is all about rest and relaxation. After all, it's the only season when we get a slight break from our hectic schedules (read: lives). Fewer Friday-afternoon meetings, fewer late-night office cram sessions, less taxi traffic allow for more weekend jaunts, rooftop happy hours, and afternoons spent lounging in Central Park (there's just something about the Great Lawn that feels cool, even in 100% humidity).

And in the dead heat of a New York summer, the only companion we really need (aside from a super-powerful A.C. window unit) is a really good paperback to transport us to another (less sticky, less smelly) realm. Should you find yourself hitting a beach-reads roadblock, we turned to 19 of the city's coolest, most in-the-know women (some of whom have written killer pieces of literature themselves) to share the book they just can't kick back and relax without.

Remember, it's summertime and the livin' is easy — so sticking your nose into a good tome should be, too.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky
“This is a great book for the beach (or for the park, which is where I read it). Marie is the worst (or maybe the best) nanny in the world, a young woman who ends up absconding with the child in her care and taking her to a variety of places, including the beach. It's funny, but also serious and smart — it's about taking care of children, not taking care of them, identity, and Paris, and it's totally unlike any other book about any of those things.”
Anna North, Staff Editor, The New York Times, and Author, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
2 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake
"This is the most delicious biography of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld's lives, from childhood through the height of their careers. Many people don't know that the two came up in school together and shared the same circles, friends, and lovers. Plus, this book chronicles the decadence of Paris, Marrakesh, and New York through the height of 20th-century fashion."
Andi Potamkin, Independent Curator, Entrepreneur, and Tastemaker
3 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
“It's a beautiful reimagining of Snow White that I immediately fell in love with when I heard the author reading an excerpt on WNYC. The story begins on the Lower East Side with a young woman named Boy, who runs away from her abusive rat-catcher father and then settles in New England, where she meets Snow and Snow's father. It is so wonderfully engaging — Oyeyemi has a truly unique voice in her writing.”
Hannah Metz, Photographer and Designer, H.K.M.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life Of Love And War by Lynsey Addario
“I love reading about people's personal struggles and triumphs. You can learn a lot about someone based on how they handle adversity. Lynsey's story is just very inspiring. She is a total badass. You get to read about someone following their passion through a war zone...literally. It's a great read this summer for women and for photographers.”
Emma Kepley, Photographer
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Nazi Séance by Arthur J. Magida
"It's the true story of a Jewish clairvoyant who communicates with the dead and conceals his identity to become a trusted psychic advisor in Hitler's inner circle...what's not to love?"
Jena Friedman, Stand-Up Comedian, Actor, Writer, and Filmmaker
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
"I'm not really having a good time unless I'm mired deep in a tar pit of hopeless romantic misery. Lorrie Moore is probably my favorite living writer, and I never go on vacation without bringing along her slim, terrific Anagrams. It's one of the funniest, most clever, and most heartrending love stories I have ever read — and the ending is somehow still a surprise, even though I have re-read it to the point of unhealthiness."
Julieanne Smolinski, Writer
7 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Always Pack A Party Dress by Amanda Brooks
“As a 23-year-old woman living in New York City, it’s refreshing to hear an ambitious woman's story of her own adventurous journey. She's a girl boss and possesses all the characteristics I aspire to embody. Amanda is witty, smart, aspirational, inspirational, warm, candid, personal, open-minded, and exploratory. She's a modern woman with a classic twist. I loved the photos and her various visual inspirations, as well as the advice and anecdotes she shared throughout the novel. (She even sent me a handwritten note [with] her contact info — it's always the little details like that that really get me.) It’s definitely a must-read for all entrepreneurial women.”
Amy Marietta, Producer, Social Media Consultant, and Lifestyle Blogger
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
White Girl Problems by Babe Walker
“I like to keep things emotionally light at the beach, and hearing about an L.A. girl with lots of money and no ambition is pretty much as light as it gets. It's so funny, and so real.”
Akilah Hughes, Comedian and Producer
9 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
After A While You Just Get Used To It by Gwendolyn Knapp
“I like reading memoirs or essay collections when I'm outside or on the beach, because I think the structure lends itself to nap and/or snack breaks. I also like to read something funny, and this one is super, super funny; I laughed out loud so many times. It's also just incredibly written.”
Katie Heaney, Editor, BuzzFeed, and Author, Never Have I Ever and Dear Emma (out March 2016)
10 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
“I read this while I was on my honeymoon in Japan, but definitely think it translates into a great beach read. It is metaphysical, with dark romance and a totally unpredictable plot line. Murakami is able to make the otherworldly seem plausible and grounded. It completely transported me into each character's bizarre worlds.”
— Hilary Schaffner, Co-Founder, Halsey McKay Gallery
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
"'The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.' I stand steadfast in my belief that this is the greatest opening line in literary history. Donna Tartt may have won the Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, but it's her debut novel, published in 1992, that I pick up time and time again for the gorgeous prose, the sneaky humor, and the mystery — a whydunit rather than a whodunit — central to its nearly 600 pages. Make sure you have a roomy beach bag!”
Jessica Knoll, Author, Luckiest Girl Alive
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Watch Me: A Memoir by Anjelica Houston
“Her relationship with Jack [Nicholson]. Need I say more?”
— Jess Hemenway, Owner, VEN Agency
13 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
“It's a minor masterpiece; engrossing and beautiful with a nice balance of old-fashioned drama, urban angst, and literary heft.”
Sloane Crosley, Author, The Clasp (out October 2015)
14 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
“This is my best book friend. Simultaneously funny and dark, brazen and reflective, this collection is a perfect beach companion. The stories read quick and never disappoint, making for perfect interludes between dips in the ocean.”
Catherine Lacey, Author, Nobody Is Ever Missing
15 of 19
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
“I'd read this book in any season or locale, but I always miss the Midwest most in the summer. And in addition to being just about the funniest novel I've ever read, it's an ode to Ohio girlhood in all its gritty glory.”
Caroline Zancan, Author, Local Girls
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James
“It chronicles the political unrest of 1970s Jamaica and is simply transportive. The way James writes this incredible cast of characters with such color, vibrancy, and authenticity, you imagine yourself right there in the midst of this beautiful, complicated tropical locale, and not on the dusty G train where you're most likely reading it! Like the island itself, the book has rhythms.

"I would also suggest either of Anjelica Huston's memoirs, A Story Lately Told or Watch Me. There is really nothing like learning about a strong, cool woman working her way through life (albeit a glamorous one) full of success, hurdles, loss, and Jack Nicholson. Morticia Addams will have you hooked by page one.”
Marjon Carlos, Style and Culture Writer, Fusion
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
My Horizontal Life: A Collection Of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler
"Because Chelsea makes it okay to laugh when everyone else is pissed."
Elise Peterson, Writer and Founder, ERP SHOP
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
33 Artists In 3 Acts by Sarah Thornton
"I have been toting this around on my recent trip to Moscow and Berlin. It’s really wonderful, because it's broken up into small sections — much like life — which allows me to pick it up when I’m on the go. It’s spicy, providing a very honest look into the lives and studios of many major artists. It’s also refreshing to hear what each artist has to say to the questions Thornton poses. As an artist, it also helps to hear others in the field talk about their work, both conceptually as well as the fabrication of it."
Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Multimedia Artist
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Collected Stories Of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis
“You can read one story, and then it's time to flip over or run into the ocean! Davis cleverly articulates the things that most of us don't allow ourselves to go there.”
Rachael Yaeger, Owner, Human NYC
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