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Books

The Best Books to Read This Summer

Wednesday 04/July/2018 - 10:28 AM
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Edited by: Yara Sameh

Swimsuit? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Three books، because you couldn't choose just one? Check. From complicated meditations on motherhood to dark thrillers that will slot perfectly into a beach bag، here are the 40 books to put on your summer reading list، elle reported.

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

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A woman who tosses coins to assist her decision-making might be expected to have a difficult time with the question of whether or not to have children، the increasingly urgent question Sheila Heti's almost-40-year-old narrator faces. (Henry Holt and Co.، May 1)

The Pisces by Melissa Broder
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With The Shape of Water's extraordinary awards season, Melissa Broder's tale of ennui and the unknown is worth another dive. (Hogarth، May 1)

Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane
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Based on this title، I can think of no reasons not to read this dark novel about the swirling social world of college sisterhood. Sorry about that. (GalleryScout Press، May 1)

Love That Bunch by Aline Kominsky-Crumb

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This retrospective collection from underground comics legend Aline Kominsky-Crumb is the only book devoted to her work، tracing a path from unpretty youthful bodily explorations to quotidian adventures with her husband، cartoonist Robert Crumb. (Drawn & Quarterly، May 1)

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

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The Flamethrowers has been a stalwart on reading lists ever since its 2013 debut، and Rachel Kushner's novel follow-up is this tale of a mother sentenced to life in prison at the beginning of the aughts. (Scribner، May 1)

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo

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Lagos-born Chibundu Onuzo pays tribute to her hometown with this fine-grained account of an army officer، a rebel fighter، a teenaged girl، and a beautiful runaway. (Catapult، May 1)

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

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COURTESYYou'll be seeing this pink umbrella on beaches everywhere this summer. The next thriller from the pen of Luckiest Girl Alive has a reality TV show as its setting، and a pair of sisters—who are definitely no Housewives—with a dark secret to get the action going. (Simon & Schuster، May 18)

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

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One for people who don't like sleeping. Get inside the story of Theranos، the biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes; it had everything، from a young، talented figurehead to a revolutionary product، an exciting machine that would have changed blood testing forever—if only it worked. (Knopf، May 21)

Some Trick by Helen DeWitt

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If there's any author bookish types trust to take them down the twistiest of rabbit holes with humor and winking unpredictability، Helen DeWitt is it. Take the plunge with these 13 short stories. (New Directions، May 29)

Goodbye، Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg

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Kelly Sundberg's lyrical، devastating 2014 essay about domestic violence، "It Will Look Like a Sunset،" made readers hold their collective breath. It's now expanded into a full-length memoir about Sundberg's husband، a man who was wonderful and violent at turns. (Harper، June 5)

Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt

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The incendiary title says it all; this novel reimagines the marriage of Vladimir and Vera Nabokov، a literary couple whose brilliance and intertwined labor turned him into a household name. (Bloomsbury Publishing، June 5)

There There by Tommy Orange

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Oakland’s Native American community is preparing for its annual Big Oakland Powwow; twelve divergent، compelling characters' stories tangle and intertwine unexpectedly، in what Margaret Atwood calls “an astonishing literary debut.” (Knopf، June 5)

The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong

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Want to read an under-the-radar psychological thriller? Feel smug about pocketing The Good Son، by South Korean author You-Jeong Jeong، which centers on a young man wondering whether he's killed his own mother. (Penguin Books، June 5)

Kudos by Rachel Cusk

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London-based author Rachel Cusk has lit a fiery fervor in fans with her acclaimed Outline trilogy. The final volume، Kudos، finds protagonist Faye in Europe، where political upheaval is sparking change. (Farrar، Straus، and Giroux، June 5)

Sick by Porochista Khakpour

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The author of The Last Illusion (and sometime ELLE contributor) Porochista Khakpour has been open on Twitter about her experience of late-stage Lyme disease، and now she has a memoir about her illness، addiction، and diagnosis. (Harper Perennial، June 5)

Florida by Lauren Groff

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Barack Obama loved Fates and Furies، just like everyone else—author Lauren Groff's new book is a collection of stories set in Florida. (Riverhead Books، June 5)

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

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Sometimes you just need a no-brainer—that doesn't mean it's mindless، mind you—and the long-awaited sequel to The Devil Wears Prada is here to help. Here's what happened to Emily after she left Miranda: a career as a stylist، a crappy marriage، and a whole book devoted this time. (Simon & Schuster، June 5)

The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward

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Yrsa Daley-Ward made a splash online with her popular poetry Instagram account. This time، she's chosen a different way to tell her story—a part poetry، part prose memoir of her youth in northwest England. (Penguin، June 5)

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

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Shepherd’s post-apocalyptic novel imagines a global plague that steals people's shadows. Over time، their memories disappear as well. Husband-and-wife duo Ory and Max have holed up in the forest for safety—or so they think، until Max’s shadow suddenly disappears. (William Morrow، June 5)

Small Country by Gaël Faye

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Gaby’s innocent childhood in early-‘90s Burundi is upended when a series of political coups pummel the country into chaos and war. This novel، which addresses genocide and racism through the eyes of a young boy، was a bestseller in its native France. (Hogarth، June 5)

Marriage Vacation by Pauline Turner Brooks

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Younger fans، take heed: the fictional book by a fictional publishing house in the fictional show about a woman who lies about her age (that's a fiction، too) is...actually real. "Written" by the former wife of Empirical Press hottie head honcho Charles، it proves your favorite show can be just as fun IRL. (Simon & Schuster، June 5)

Who Is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

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Mourning the soon-to-come end of The Americans? View the Cold War from another angle in this forthcoming spy novel about a young American woman embedded in a group of Buenos Aires activists in the 1960s. (Tin House، June 12)

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

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First cab off the rank for Sarah Jessica Parker's SJP for Hogarth imprint is this novel about the subtle but lasting tensions within an Indian-American Muslim family who reunite at a wedding. (Hogarth، June 12)

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

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Japanese convenience stores—konbini—offer so much more than a desultory snack selection and sad magazines. For a "strange" young woman، Keiko، who starts working at one، they also represent a more "normal" life—until another outsider comes along. (Grove Press، June 12)

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

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National Book Award–winning poet Terrance Hayes scorches the page with seventy poems written during the first 200 days of the Trump presidency. (Penguin Books، June 19)

The Ambition Decisions by Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace
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There's not much historical precedent for the continual societal change around women and work. So journalists Schank and Wallace interviewed their former classmates to find out how a generation of women are grappling with questions of ambition، work، and balance. (Viking، June 19)

Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young

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A boy with two skeletons. A girl's moustache. A Japanese woman building a path from the cave where she lived to the sea. These are just some of the little nuggets around which New Zealand writer has constructed her debut collection of essays. (Riverhead Books، July 3)

No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol

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In 2015، Glynnis MacNicol wrote an essay for ELLE.com about how society doesn't know what to do with women who don't have children. In July، you'll be able to read her memoir about her fortieth year، which covers the persistent questions about womanhood that she fields from herself and others. (Simon & Schuster، July 10)

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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Her dark debut novel Eileen scored all manner of awards، and fans، so Ottessa Moshfegh's follow-up will be a welcome addition to many bookshelves. In the early aughts، a wealthy young woman gets some very bad help from doctors and prescriptions. (Penguin Press، July 10)

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

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In this perfectly timed novel، Charlotte Walsh is running for senate، and she's determined not to let anything get in her way. But to win، she has to balance marriage، the spotlight، and a dastardly opponent. (Simon & Schuster، July 24)

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
What draws someone to extremism? Two very different people—a young Korean-American woman mourning her mother's death and the former fundamentalist man who loves her—find out when a mysterious، destructive cult gains support. (Riverhead، July 31)

The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg

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Clare used to see her husband all the time. But when she sees him in Havana، Cuba، that's different—he's supposed to be dead. In this meditation on the mysteries of grief، Laura Van Den Berg looks at a marriage through the fog of loss. (Farrar، Straus and Giroux، August 7)

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Almost 30 years have passed since Tsitsi Dangarembga's debut، Nervous Conditions، won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1989. Here، we find protagonist Tambudzai older، driven to unenviable decisions by her lack of choices in modern Zimbabwe. (Graywolf Press، August 7)

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

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Fans of Celeste Ng and Junot Diaz might find their next read right here، since both those authors have praised this novel—join them in their appreciation of Chinese soon-to-be mom Scarlett Chen، whose escape from her child's father takes her to unexpected places. (Ballantine Books، August 14)

Severance by Ling Ma

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Losing your job is really bad، for sure. But in this dystopian coming-of-age tale، Candace Chen manages to hold on to her job—it's just that everyone around her falls prey to a giant plague. What happens next is a satirical spin on the end times—kind of like The Office meets The Leftovers. (Farrar، Straus، and Giroux، August 14)

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