Our Summer Reading Picks: Book Culture on 112

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Summer's finally here and with it comes the greatest of warm-weather activities: summer reading! In case you need any ideas for what to read on the beach (or for sitting in front of the AC in your apartment, as the case may be), we here at Book Culture have decided to share our summer reading lists. Whether we're reading the hot new release, or returning to a classic we somehow missed in school, everyone here has a lot of books they're excited to read in the coming months. We hope this list provides you some inspiration for a great literary summer! 

See what else we're reading at Book Culture on Broadway and Book Culture on Columbus.



Devon (Buyer)

1. Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett: It's been described as 'Kafka for the Kanye generation'--how can I not?

2. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym: Nobody does witty, observational comedy-of-manners like Pym. I'm slowly working my way through all her novels and Excellent Women is up next.

3. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio: The summer just calls for something bawdy and epic.


Tanwaporn (Manager)

1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: This is next on my reading list. This debut follows two half-sisters born into different villages in Ghana and the drastically different lives they, and their descendants, lead.

2. Harry Potter (Complete Series) by J.K. Rowling: With the release of the eighth story, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, coming up, and the announcement of the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione, I plan to reread the entire series before our Cursed Child release party!

3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: I've never read any Plath and I think this summer is a great time to remedy that.


Kate (Bookseller)

1. Middlemarch by George Eliot: I keep a mental somewhat self-hating list of things I've never read that make me feel like a terrible English major and overall bad person. Hamlet is one, this is another. 

2. The Gay Place by Billy Lee Brammer: I'm moving to Texas soon and I heard this is a book every Texan should read. Hopefully it comes with an acclamation to 100 degree weather and an appreciation for Texas in general/ at all. (Just kidding, maybe).

3. Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson: I've been wanting to read more Maggie Nelson since I finished The Argonauts a few months back. Eileen Myles called this "a deep, dark, female masterpiece" so I'm sold. 


Adam (Bookseller)

1. Traveler of the Century by Andrés Neuman: I'm currently reading this in Spanish, so it's going slowly. But I like it a lot! Neuman has a way of describing settings and people that I find fascinating, and I can't wait to see where this book takes me! As I begin Traveler of the Century, I keep thinking about how it is an amazing book to read while learning to live in a completely new city and country. Nick, one of our managers, highly praised this one, so I'm even more excited to read it. 

2. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce: This summer I'm finally going to do it. Joyce is one of my favorite writers, but I've never had a chance to read his most daunting book. Let's see what weird stuff he gets up to.

3. The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca: I'm currently studying abroad in Granada, which is Lorca central (he lived in Granada). I love his poetry, but everybody keeps telling me I need to read this play, so I'm definitely going to do that before the end of the month.


Michael (Manager)

1. The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell: My colleague Danya told me to read this book for its brutal depictions of violence and bureaucracy. 

2. Boy's Club by Matt Furie: I'm excited to laugh again when I read these legendary cartoons. 

3. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus: My friend is releasing a zine about this book's massive influence, and I think I'm the only person I know who hasn't read it. 


Bec (Bookseller)

1. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride: I went to a talk where this book was described as a response to those who say that grief and trauma cannot be narrated. Maybe not the summery-est of reading choices, but it also comes recommended by another staff member, Kate!

2. Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis: I bought this a couple of weeks ago and I'm looking forward to having a chance to read it! I find collections of essays, talks, and interviews to be a great way to introduce yourself to particular strands of thought or particular thinkers.

3. The Art of Flight by Sergio Pitol: I picked up a cheap copy of the sequel to this book (The Journey), which admittedly was a purchase very much influenced by how much I liked the cover. So now I have to read the first one! The second one has a forward by Álvaro Enrgiue, and has an endorsement from Valeria Luiselli, so should be fun!


Caitlin (Bookseller)

1. A Body, Undone by Christina Crosby: I saw Christina Crosby at the Maggie Nelson event at Barnard earlier this year, and she was amazing! Crosby is a friend and mentor of Nelson's, and my sister tells me this book has some interesting overlap with The Argonauts, so I'm excited to read it. 

2. Target in the Night by Ricardo Piglia: When summer rolls around, I want to read a good literary thriller. In this one, an American comes to a small Argentine town accompanied by the beautiful daughters of the town's richest resident; when he's found dead, mystery ensues. Reviews say this book is both fun and smart, i.e., my perfect combination for summer. 

3. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable: I wanted to read this book when it first came out, but I never got around to it and it slipped off my radar. When I came across a copy in the store the other day, I started reading the introduction, and remembered why I had wanted to read it in the first place. Our popular image of Malcolm X is largely derived from his Autobiography, a book which, Marable points out, may owe more to the agendas of Malcolm X and Alex Haley than it does to Malcolm X's actual life. I'm not going to let myself forget about this book again--I'm reading it this summer!


Hannah (Bookseller)

1. The Girls by Emma Cline: I can't ignore all the rave reviews this debut novel has been getting, and what doesn't sound exciting about a teenage girl being sucked into a murderous cult in 1960s California?

2.  The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson: Maggie Nelson's genre-bending books have been recommended to me many times. I usually stick to books that comfortably fit within one genre so I am excited to step out of my comfort zone with The Argonauts.

3. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: This book has been on my list for a while because of how it brings an entire life and story to a very minor character in the Torah. This summer will be the perfect time to delve deep into the fictional lives of biblical women.


Cara (Bookseller)

1. The Insides by Jeremy Bushnell: It comes out this month, just in time for the start of summer, and it's teasing a crazy, mind-melding mix of suspense, weirdness, and the fantastic. I love reading a book every once in a while that forces you to devour it at the expense of everything else in your life, and The Insides promises to be just that.
2. Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories by Silvina Ocampo: This NYRB book was recommended to me by one of our managers here, whose taste in books I definitely trust. I might be cheating by putting it on this list, since I've already started it, but I'm just so excited to read more! It's a wonder-inducing mind trip in the finest tradition of Latin American literature.
3.  The Crimson Skew by S.E. Grove: The final book in Grove's Mapmaker Trilogy is published in July, and I'm so excited to find out what happens! This series is beautifully crafted and so unique; it reminds me of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. 
Joe (Web Manager)
1. Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky: Not only is this a commonly recommended classic Russian sci-fi book I've been meaning to read, but it's the basis for both a Takovsky film (Stalker) I've been meaning to see and a videogame series (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) I've been meaning to play. I've known about this book for a long time, so I think it's about time I finally read it.
2. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem: Another Russian sci-fi book on which Tarkovsky based a film! I loved the movie when I watched it, and I've been meaning to read the book, so I might as well read it this summer, too.
3. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin: I just finished reading this one for the first time and I liked it a lot, so I'm going to read it again! I'll put a book or two between readings, though.
Cody (Events Manager)
1. Between Men by Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick: I recently started Between Men and have found it to be an insightful look into the forces of "homosocial" relationships among men through the lens of English Literature. Not quite a beach read, but I've successfully read it by a pool.

2. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong: I know I'm late to the game, but I'm finally going to jump into the poetry of the much hailed Ocean Vuong. I'm a fan of Copper Canyon Press, and so many of my bookseller friends have recommended this collection. 

3. Heroes by Franco 'Bifo' Berardi: In response to the events in Orlando, I found myself looking for something to help me understand. Verso recently tweeted about this book as a tool to help, and I am hopeful that it will.