Summer Reading 2019: Book Culture Long Island City
If you're anything like us, you always kind of enjoyed the summer reading you had to do in school. Luckily for you, we've found a way to turn "kind of" into "really" using one simple trick: set your own reading list! Here you'll find the books that our booksellers have decided to try and tackle this summer. This is strictly for participation credit, there will not be a test, we promise.
1. Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story by Peter Bagge: Bagge is one of the funniest and most talented cartoonists ever to pick up a pencil. He's also a history nut, and his recent non-fiction work has really showcased this. Credo, a biography on Rose Wilder Lane, is his third book focusing on a notable woman in history (the other two being Zora Neale Hurston and Margaret Sanger). Whatever else Bagge has on the horizon, I hope there's even more of these down the line.
2. Last Seasons in Havana by Cesar Brioso: Not sure how much hype this book is actually getting, but I heard about it the radio the other day and it sounds pretty interesting. Plus, it's baseball season, so I'm in the mood.
3. Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal in 19th-Century New York by Stacy Horn: I'm prepared for what will probably be some pretty depressing stories. Having said that, I'm really looking forward to this coming out in paperback. 19th century NYC and its island of insane asylums, hospitals, prisons and homes for the poor--consider my curiosity piqued.
1. Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee: There are few things I enjoy more in summer than action-packed adventure stories and Lee's Not Your Sidekick was the perfect blend of campy entertainment and deeper discussions on heroism. The third installment of the Sidekick Squad is set to come out early June, so it's time for me to finally pick up book two.
2. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton: As a second generation Cuban-American myself, Cleeton's book has been on my radar since it came out last year. I love stories about the diaspora and this dual-perspective contemporary/historical romance following a woman in Florida and her abuela in Cuba sounds like the perfect summer read.
3. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: This book is easily my most anticipated release of the year. Moreno-Garcia quickly made her way onto my favorite authors list after I read her vampire noir, Certain Dark Things. She has a deft hand at creating quiet and provocative speculative stories that check all my boxes. What I know about Gods of Jade and Shadow: it's set in 1920s Mexico, there is a Mayan god of Death, and I will 100% be buying it on release day this July.
1. The Last by Hanna Jameson: A post-apocalyptic spin on one of my favorite genres: the whodunit. Set in a secluded Swiss hotel after nuclear devastation, it has been likened to Agatha Christie with a hint of The Shining--this is a combo I can definitely get behind beachside.
2. Lie With Me by Philippe Besson (trans. by Molly Ringwald): What's hotter than a New York summer? The smoldering passion and pain of first love! Given how much I adored Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name, I'm very much looking forward to this queer coming-of-age story. Fun fact: this is the first literary translation by the Molly Ringwald of Brat Pack fame!
3. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins: Collins' debut is a Gothic novel set in Georgian London following the murder trial of a Jamaican slave accused of killing her British masters. I always enjoy a piece of historical fiction that not only illuminates history but also destabilizes or subverts it--this book promises just that.
1. Bunny by Mona Awad: I have an advanced reading copy of Bunny that I’ve been saving for a lazy afternoon. I read Awad’s debut, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, when it came out a few years ago, and I’m excited to see how her writing has developed since then. Bunny has been described as The Vegetarian meets Heathers, which sounds right up my alley.
2. Flowers of Mold by Ha Seong-Nan (trans. by Janet Hong): I've been trying to read more female authors in translation, so I was pumped when this short story collection crossed my radar. The stories are all about the horrors that lurk just beneath the surface of everyday, modern Korean life and Kirkus Review claims it will make readers gasp out loud.
3. Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegul Savas: I’ve heard only good things about this book and the recent review in the Times finally convinced me to pick it up. I just read Siri Hustvedt’s Memories of the Future, which has a similar premise and I was entranced the whole time. I’m hoping that Savas’ book is just as engrossing!
1. Inland by Tea Obreht: I LOVED The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. I read it the year it came out (2011), when I was in college, and thought her writing was so excellent, and her storytelling so enchanting, seamlessly blending past with present and mythical with real, that I couldn't wait to read other books by her. It turns out there weren't any...until this summer! Her new book, set in the 1890's in the American West, is described as "Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope...grounded in true but little-known history" and I am ALL IN for it.
2. Feel Free by Zadie Smith: I started this collection right before it came out, and was blown away by the first few essays. I still think in particular and often about "Elegy for a Country's Seasons", an essay about climate change and our relationship to it as people in our everyday lives. I made the mistake of taking a break and lending the book (a prized advanced reading copy) to a coworker of mine, and that was the last I saw of it! Now that it's out in a slim, beach bag-ready, paperback edition, I think it's high time I tackle the remaining 28 essays.
Happy reading! And if you're in need of more ideas, check out what we read last summer!
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