Books

The Must-Read Books of Summer 2019

Twenty titles you won't want to miss.
IMAGE MICHAEL STILLWELL
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This season, you have no excuse for being without something good to read. Whether you're in the mood for a thrilling novel, a touching memoir, or a cookbook to liven up your kitchen routine, there's a title coming out this spring that's sure to be just what you're looking for.

Normal People: A Novel


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One of the seasons's most anticipated books, this second novel from Irish writer Sally Rooney has already been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and is being developed for the screen by filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson. Normal People tells the story of the difficult, exhilarating, uplifting, and often-broken relationship between a young man and woman as they come of age and find themselves both together and apart. 

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir


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In this smart, touching, and dishy memoir, T&C contributor Ruth Reichl recalls her years at the helm of Gourmet magazine with clear eyes, a sense of humor, and some very appealing recipes. 

Lost and Wanted: A novel


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The latest novel from the bestselling author of The Newlyweds follows an MIT professor as she grapples with the death of a close friend, reconsiders their long history, and faces the prospect that, despite everything she believes, logic might not explain everything.

Working


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Robert Caro, the great biographer of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, is one of the most respected historians of our time. His memoir is a masterclass in how great books are built, and is peppered with great anecdotes about people of power. Caro’s painstaking research process and attention to detail is well known; here, we learn more about him than his subjects.

The Editor


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In his sharp, funny sophomore novel, Steven Rowley tells the story of a down-on-his-luck writer who finally sells his next novel—and finds out that his editor will be none other than Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis. The pair develop a professional and personal relationship that changes his life—both on and off the page—forever. 

Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward


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Valerie Jarrett, who served as a senior adviser to President Obama, has had a front-row seat to watch history being made. Prior to her role at the White House, she worked for the mayor of Chicago and chaired that city's transit board. In this new book, Jarrett gives readers a peek inside her life as well as her work, sharing stories about moments that changed the world, and looking hopefully at where her journey might take her next.

Mama's Boy: A Story from Our Americas


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The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk turns his attention to his own story in this sharp, affecting memoir. Black delves into his relationship with his mother and explores how their different lives and beliefs have tested their limits but ultimately allowed them to strengthen their relationship and deepen their bond. 

Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism (Great Transformations)


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In this new book, Nicolas Berggruen, the founder and chairman of the Berggruen Institute, and his co-founder, the WorldPost editor Nathan Gardels, are kicking the tires of democracy. The brainy duo take this opportunity to think about the system of government, what makes it work, how it fails, and whether it's still the best way to run the world. This isn't light reading, but it's necessary. 

Harmonic Healing: 6 Weeks to Restored Energy, Complete Detoxification, and Total Wellness


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Dr. Linda Lancaster, the founder of the Light Harmonics Institute, puts her training as a naturopath and homeopathic physician to fine use in this guide to finding a balanced state of energy and health through natural and nontoxic methods. Don't take our word for it, her fans include Robert Redford, Miranda Kerr, and Marina Abramovic.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel


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This debut novel by Juliet Grames follows one fascinating family as they make their way from Italy to America on the brink of the Second World War, only to find that some problems—often ones that have to do with who you are and who you're related to—aren't so easy to outrun. 

Orange World and Other Stories


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A new collection of short stories from Karen Russell, the Pulitzer Prize finalist author of Swamplandia! is always something to celebrate. This collection, her third, once again puts on display her powerful imagination, sharp sense of humor, and ability to reveal recognizable truths about the everyday human experience without ever lacking in style.

Disappearing Earth: A novel


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Two sisters vanish in the remote Russian peninsula of Kamchatka. A lengthy investigation brings no answers, and a community is divided. This is a suspense novel with a deeply compassionate core, set in a place at the edge of the world.

The Farm: A Novel


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In this provocative debut, we meet Jane, a Filipino immigrant who agrees to live at an all-expenses paid, all-inclusive luxury retreat in the Hudson Valley for nine months—just enough time for her to act as the perfect “host” for someone else’s baby. Jane’s every movement is monitored, and she can’t leave the premises, or else she forfeits the astronomical sum she’ll receive after the birth of the child. The deal a lifetime soon turns into a bit of a nightmare as she wrestles with questions of motherhood, family, and identity.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee


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A few years ago, while reporting on the frenzy surrounding Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set A Watchman, Casey Cep found out about another never-published project of Lee’s—a true crime book even stranger than what Lee could invent. It involved a small-town preacher accused of killing his family, the vigilante who shot him for revenge, and the lawyer who defended them both. The book also paints a poignant portrait of Lee’s struggle with her fame, and her unshakeable interest in the one story she could never tell.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel


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From poet Ocean Vuong comes an unforgettable story of family, violence, and identity. Written as a letter from a mother to her illiterate son, Little Dog, the book trace's the family's history from Vietnam to America, and all the secrets in between.

Trust Exercise: A Novel


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Susan Choi delivers a punchy, hotly anticipated novel about teens at a performing arts high school in the 1980s. Two freshmen fall in love, their teacher takes note, and an explosive plot twist you don't see coming will upend your entire sense of what's real. Strap in for a wild ride.

Riots I Have Known


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This inventive debut is written as a last confession from an unnamed Sri Lankan inmate, who has taken over a computer lab at the prison and watches as riots unfold around him. He reflects on his life, how he got there, and whether this act of literary resistance will amount to anything. A smart, biting take on the penal system, and a fiery ode to the power of the written word.

Solitary


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Albert Woodfox was one of the "Angola Three" locked up at the infamous Louisiana State Prison, where he served four decades in solitary confinement?in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day. In 1972, Woodfox was already serving a 50 year sentence for armed robbery when he was falsely accused of killing a white guard, and given an additional life sentence. His conviction was eventually overturned, but his life had been taken from him. His incredible story is necessary reading, not only to understand our era of mass incarceration, but the entire history of the judicial system in America.

How Could She: A Novel


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 This novel puts a modern twist on the "just moved to New York" story by focusing on three women in their mid thirties, stumbling through their lives while trying to keep up appearances. Shouldn't we have it figured out already, they think? Not even close. Geraldine has long admired her friends Sunny and Rachel, who lead glamorous lives in the city that never sleeps. She uproots herself from Toronto, ready to join their clique and ascend the New York media ranks but she's in for a surprise— and some backstabbing.

Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family


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You might already know the work of the food writer Michael Pollan, but he's not the only talent in his family. In this new cookbook, which features gorgeous photos and veers toward more vegetable-forward cooking, his sisters Tracy, Dana, and Lori, and his mother Corky offer a charming, contemporary take on modern cooking. 

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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