Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

What’s on Your Summer Reading List?

With Memorial Day now behind us, we turn our attention to all the grand things summer promises: steamy thunderstorms at dusk; BBQs that last all weekend; bike rides that can go on for hours; sundresses and sandals; Gin & Tonics; outdoor festivals; road trips; and long, lazy beach days. Summer, of course, would not be complete without our steady companion for many of these seasonal favorites: books. Here are a few books I’m looking forward to reading:

Sick: A Memoir

On every important list of recommended summer reading, Sick is memoir from a “lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems — in which [the author] examines her subsequent struggles with mental illness and her addiction to doctor-prescribed benzodiazepines, that both aided and eroded her ever-deteriorating physical health.” It’s a story of “survival, pain, and transformation.”

Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America

“Air Traffic follows Gregory as he builds a life that honors his history without allowing it to define his future. Slowly, he embraces the challenges of being a poet, a son, and a father as he enters recovery for alcoholism and tends to his family. In this memoir, written in lyrical and sparkling prose, Gregory tries to free himself from the overwhelming expectations of race and class and from the tempting yet ruinous legacy of American masculinity.”

You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories

A collection of short stories about complicated-sounding privileged people from the author of popular novels about complicated privileged people, Prep, and American Wife.


Meaty: Essays

From best-selling author, Samantha Irby, here’s a collection of essays that explore: “chin hairs, depression, bad sex, failed relationships, masturbation, taco feasts, inflammatory bowel disease and more.”

An American Marriage

This is Oprah’s 2018 book club pick, and it seems destined to be a classic. Everyone else is reading it, so I guess I will too!

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

A story of a Mexican-American border patrol guard and the lives (and deaths) of the people he comes across trying to cross the border. Esquire calls it: “A must-read for anyone who thinks ‘build a wall’ is the answer to anything.”

Practice Dying: A Novel

This is the second novel from my close friend, Rachel, and one she has spent years imagining, writing, re-writing, thinking about, re-writing again, and finally publishing (this week!). I am so proud of her, and I am excited to read this story of a pair of twins and their respective spiritual and personal crises on the cusp of their 30th birthday.

And, finally, a book I read this spring that I loved and recommend:

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death

I was sold even after the first brush with death.

What’s on your reading list for the summer? What have you read that you recommend?

9 comments… add one
  • avatar

    K May 29, 2018, 1:31 pm

    You Think It, I’ll Say It was excellent, as are all of Curtis Sittenfeld’s books. She’s my favorite author! I Am, I Am, I Am is on my list also. I liked Samantha Irby’s other essay collection, so Meaty is probably good.

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE May 29, 2018, 1:33 pm

    Meaty is seriously THE BEST. It’s hilarious and profound. I cried laughing at it while also being incredibly inspired by Sam Irby. I LOVE her.

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  • Lucidity

    Lucidity May 29, 2018, 8:21 pm

    Reading is my very favourite thing to do! For the past few years I have been working my way through a list of books that were recommended by peers or came up in classes during my degrees, but that I didn’t have time to read while in school.  This month, I (finally!) read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which was especially interesting given the current political backdrop.  I also read On Tyranny: Lessons from the 20 Century by Timothy Snyder, which was downright terrifying given the current political backdrop.   My sister made me read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which was like Harry Potter meets the Chronicles of Narnia, all grown up. I could not stop turning the pages and the plot constantly surprised, shocked, and horrified me.  I haven’t enjoyed a piece of fiction that much in a long time, and am looking forward to the other two books in the trilogy.  I’m also looking forward to a book of short stories by Ray Bradbury that I just picked up, I Sing The Body Electric! which is also on my list from school.  I saw Wendy mention I Am I Am I Am once before, so I’m hoping to read that this summer as well. Happy reading, everyone!

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  • avatar

    convexexed May 30, 2018, 4:10 am

    None of these are brand new releases, but they are some of the best novels I’ve read recently:
    ‘Swamplandia!’ by Karen Russell is a funny, smart, bittersweet novel set in the alligator swamps of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. It deals with family, loss, and change, and I absolutely loved it.
    ‘Wolf in White Van’ by John Darnielle (frontman of the band The Mountain Goats) has such staggeringly poetic writing that I found myself reading the same page three times in a row just to soak it in. It’s not dense, just lyrical. And the story itself is painfully moving.
    ‘You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine’ by Alexandra Kleeman is next on my list; it’s been recommended to me by several friends. I picked up a copy at the Strand last time I was in NYC and plan to start it on my next day off work.

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    • avatar

      Kate May 30, 2018, 9:32 am

      I read “You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine.” It was a loopy, quirky, but fairly enjoyable read. Kinda fun, not super memorable.

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  • avatar

    Kate May 30, 2018, 9:36 am

    I’m reading Stephen King’s new one, The Outsider. I’ve always been a fan since I read Pet Sematery in middle school and scared myself shitless. I think my favorite of his is the one about the Kennedy Assassination with the time travel.

    This one is really grabbing me so far. The murder is pretty gory, but the investigation is super crazy and interesting, and pretty soon I think some supernatural stuff will start happening. Love it.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B078M5G7XH/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1527690788&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=the+outsider+stephen+king

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    • Lucidity

      Lucidity May 30, 2018, 12:48 pm

      Ooo new Stephen King!? He’s one of my favourite authors too. Thanks for mentioning this – I’m adding it to my list!

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  • avatar

    kali May 30, 2018, 1:38 pm

    I have strange taste but sitting through chemo, I NEED books to read so thank you for more suggestions!

    My latest reads have been:
    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (a YA novel)
    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (based on a true story
    The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory (because… Philippa Gregory!)
    Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker (creepy but good)
    China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (2nd in a series – love the indulgences)

    I’ve also reread some old favorites, Angel’s Flight by Michael Connelly and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon because I love both authors.

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    • avatar

      Kate May 30, 2018, 1:41 pm

      I read “Before We Were Yours” and “Emma in the Night” and both were good reads!

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