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Summer Reads Make Us Feel Fine

Blow away the cobwebs in your mind — or spin a few — with these beach-worthy books

  • Courtesy of Penguin Random House

    'Vinegar Girl' by Anne Tyler

    Tyler’s familiar Baltimore — insular and eccentric — is the setting for her reimagining of The Taming of the Shrew. Blunt, acerbic Kate finds herself at the center of a scheme concocted by her scientist father and his indispensable research assistant, Pyotr, who faces imminent deportation. Kate’s handling of their preposterous conspiracy makes for a funny, romantic romp. 

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  • Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

    'Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging' by Sebastian Junger

    The author of The Perfect Storm addresses all manner of topics in this heartfelt book about young American war veterans, from PTSD and alienation to the collapse of civility in politics and the obstacles to reentering society. Junger’s central theme is the fatal absence of community in people’s lives today. 

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  • Courtesy Of Penguin Random House

    'The Girls' by Emma Cline

    This psychologically spot-on coming-of-age story is also a page-turner that builds to a violent end. Vulnerable California teen Evie Boyd becomes mesmerized by a young woman, who draws her into a Charles Manson–like cult during the late 1960s. Evie is enthralled — until the mood of the group turns dark. 

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  • Courtesy of Public Affairs

    'Disrupt Aging' by Jo Ann Jenkins

    It’s time to redefine getting older, says the AARP CEO, who urges us to rethink the negative stories we tell one another — and ourselves — about aging. The book, written with Boe Workman, chronicles not just Jenkins’ journey but those of other fearless individuals working to change what it means to age in America. 

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  • Jordi Castells Courtesy of Amazon

    'Pierced by the Sun' by Laura Esquivel

    (Translated from Spanish by Jordi Castells) The author of the international sensation Like Water for Chocolate returns with this magical tale about Lupita, a troubled Mexican policewoman who witnesses a political assassination. She finds answers, and healing, in the indigenous traditions of Mexico’s past. 

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  • Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers

    'Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer' by Arthur Lubow

    Diane Arbus grabbed photography by its velour lapels and transformed it into an authentic art form. Her life was turbulent as she pursued her singular vision, and Lubow deftly captures the chaos here. Prepare to be rattled anew by the photographer’s Vietnam War–era disillusionment and her offbeat subjects: eerie, mythic, transcendent. 

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  • Courtesy of Penguin Random House

    'I Almost Forgot About You' by Terry McMillan

    In her appealing new novel, the bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back launches her heroine on a journey of personal reinvention. California optometrist Georgia Young seems to have it all — friends, family, money, shelter — so why does she feel so profoundly stuck in life? The answer lies in letting go. 

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  • Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

    'William Tecumseh Sherman' by James Lee McDonough

    Summertime, and the reading is serious? If you love to while away the dog days immersed in the past, a treat is coming your way in this meaty new biography of the famed Civil War general. Sherman’s intelligence, curiosity, military acumen and complex relationship with Ulysses S. Grant all come alive. 

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  • Courtesy of Penguin Random House

    'The Dollhouse' by Fiona Davis

    When journalist Rose Lewin moves into the New York City building once known as the Barbizon Hotel for Women, she learns that 12 older women from its 1950s heyday still reside there. One of them had a hand in a tragic death decades ago, and Lewin’s investigation of the circumstances makes for a strangely compelling read. 

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  • Courtesy of Macmillan Publishers

    'In the Darkroom' by Susan Faludi

    The author of Backlash explores the life of her Hungarian-born Jewish father, from whom she was long estranged. Having survived World War II Budapest by his wits, Steven Faludi immigrated to the U.S. and became an athlete, a suburban dad, a filmmaker — and, in his 70s, a transgender woman. The author’s portrait of his homeland is unforgettable. 

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  • Courtesy of Flatiron Books

    'Truly Madly Guilty' by Liane Moriarty

    The Australian author of Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret delivers another fiction blockbuster. Set in Sydney, the story retraces the trail of events leading from a seemingly ordinary backyard barbecue to dire consequences for three couples and their children. As secret after secret unfolds, lives will be rocked to their foundations. 

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  • Courtesy of Hachette Books

    'Imagine Me Gone' by Adam Haslett

    Yes, a dysfunctional family is at the center of another novel, but this one stands out for its compelling characters and perfect notes of humor. The story brings us brilliant (and often wryly funny) Michael, who struggles with severe anxiety. His siblings and mother try to help him manage his illness, but it threatens to lead to tragedy. 

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  • Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers

    'First Star I See Tonight' by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    In this delicious confection, Phillips revisits the Chicago Stars, the imaginary pro football team she immortalized in previous outings. After a green private investigator signs on to shadow a retired quarterback, she winds up serving as his bodyguard. Think fun and frisky — with plenty of fireworks. 

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