Summer Reading Staff Picks

A great “summer read” can be many things, from a fun novel to a gripping nonfiction narrative. No matter the genre or style, we think a good summer read has to be completely engrossing and easily portable, like these recommendations from our booksellers:

Self Care by Leigh Stein, $16

In this topical novel, two very different women are co-founders of a popular wellness social media app, and must deal with fall out from an ill-advised tweet sent by one of them. A send-up of startup culture, the commodification of feminism and “wellness,” and toxic workplaces, Stein’s writing is funny, observant, and faced-paced. It’s also relatable and thought-provoking, and will make you ask good questions about what “self care” means to you outside of glossy marketing and merchandise. —Annie

Go Ahead in the Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib, $16.95

On the 43rd anniversary of the New York City summer blackout that catalyzed the explosion of hip-hop, please check out Hanif Abdurraqib’s lovely tribute to his favorite crew. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn about the origins of A Tribe Called Quest and their place in the genre’s development. —Mary W.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, $18.99

The authors tell you upfront: this is not a history book. But it does cover significant moments throughout the history of racism. Highly engaging and fast-paced, this book examines how certain racist ideas formed and why they’re completely bogus. I highly recommend this if you’re looking to further educate yourself on the topic and be proactive about stamping out racism. It’s great for adult and young adult readers. —Christine

Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri, $25

A short, beautiful novel from one of Japan’s outsider writers, narrated by the ghost of a homeless man who used to live near a busy Tokyo train station. I won’t lie—this is a devastatingly sad book—but bear with me. It’s a completely engrossing window into a lesser-known side of Japanese society (which of course is an issue in the United States as well). It’s a moving book in a beautiful small package, which is my definition of a great summer read. —Annie

What do you think makes a great summer read? Let us know in the comments!