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Book Club: What to Read Before the End of the Summer

Book Club: What to Read Before the End of the Summer

Don’t have the time to get to a regular book-club meeting? We’ve got you covered. We’ll be recommending new reads for every season. This round, we present: five novels to get into before it gets chilly. You need to read these books with a cold one in your other hand — on the beach, at the pool, or in a lawn chair.

Some of these books are new and some are old. Some you’ve probably heard about, and some you’ve probably read. But we chose these because they’re either smartly funny — the most you can ask for from a summer pick — or just really timely. Choose your own last-weeks-of-summer adventure.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple.

Semple sure takes you along for a wild ride here: a Seattle mother disappears and leaves her young family in crisis. That’s all you need to know to get into this one. We love stories about a good runaway. Bonus: you’ll laugh and maybe cry.

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan.

Kwan’s first novel explores the cultural rules of Chinese families. The plot is catalyzed with an unfortunate coupling: one heir brings home an American-born (Chinese) girlfriend. This is great satire for those who want to read (many) jabs at what people use their wealth for, and how this functions in countries like China and Singapore.

The Family Fang – Kevin Wilson.

Here’s another tale of familial dysfunction and parental disappearance. Performance-artist team Camille and Caleb, mother and father to Child A and Child B (Annie and Buster), vanish in what we’re lead to believe is probably just another performance. Wilson’s descriptions of previous performances — which often involved their children — are often hilarious but can toe the line of cruelty, too. This deepens the ambivalent feelings Annie and Buster hold toward their parents’ art, and this is exactly what will keep you reading.

The Windfall – Diksha Basu.

Here’s another story of family and money (no runaways, though). Set in India, this couple is just trying to make a life for themselves until they suddenly come into an unexpected sum of money. Basu details how money affects modern Indians, and how they come to decide what’s actually the most important.

1984 – George Orwell.


If you’ve felt disoriented lately, you are not alone. You probably read this one in high school. Now is prime time to dig out your old copy or find one in your local used bookstore.

Whether you’re reading outside or just out alone over a meal, now’s the time to get reading! We know September will be hectic, but picking up a good book will help you relax and take your mind off things.

Bonus: check out this excellent interview with Karl Ove Knausgaard over at The New York Times. He’s got some books to tell you about, too.

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