It’s a perennial — or, more precisely, a seasonal — question: What should I read this summer? For a little help, we asked some popular authors what they plan to read and why.
Meg Wolitzer, author, most recently, of “The Female Persuasion.”
This summer I hope to read a blend of old and new, as I usually do, including Lauren Groff’s short-story collection “Florida,” Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness” (which I haven’t read since college but have been thinking about again since Le Guin’s recent death), and two debut novels: “There There,” by Tommy Orange, about urban Native Americans, and “Laura & Emma,” by Kate Greathead, which apparently has a “Mrs. Bridge”-like quality, so count me in. Also, I would like to make time this summer for Charlotte Brontë’s “Villette,” a book I love.
Jake Tapper, chief Washington correspondent for CNN and author of “The Hellfire Club.”
For thrills, “Spymaster,” by Brad Thor; for smiles, “You Think It, I’ll Say It,” by Curtis Sittenfeld; for emotional honesty, “Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces,” by Michael Chabon; for an adventure to somewhere I’ve never been, “Welcome to Lagos,” by Chibundu Onuzo.
This year, a national book tour took me to both coasts and demanded lots of publicity, so I have been hoarding more books than usual. I can’t wait to sit on a beach and read, preferably with a Mai Tai. I love discovering new authors, so top of the list is Emily Ruskovich’s buzzed-about novel “Idaho.” Next up will be Luis Alberto Urrea’s “The House of Broken Angels,” because he is a masterful, beautiful storyteller. I’ll also choose “The Outsider,” because Stephen King never lets me down. Then I will finally settle down with Hillary Clinton and find out “What Happened.”
“The Overstory,” by Richard Powers. I like to take the wide open days of summer to take on books that wrestle with big ideas. If there is one writer who could create characters of trees, compelling us to open our hearts to the earth that sustains us, it’s Richard Powers. This book is the wake-up call we so desperately need.
R.J. Palacio, author of “Wonder.”
I just bought a copy of “That Lady,” by one of my favorite authors, Kate O’Brien, which I’m really looking forward to reading. If I could write one sentence as good as Kate O’Brien’s in my entire writing life, I’d be forever happy. I have all of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan books ready to binge-read this summer, if I get the chance. Both my brother and my son keep telling me I have to read China Miéville, so I’ll give that a go. And I’ve been hearing amazing things about Elizabeth Acevedo’s “The Poet X.”
A.J. Finn, author of “The Woman in the Window.”
I’m looking forward mightily to Caitlin Moran’s “How to be Famous,” the follow-up to her raucous, 100-percent-winning debut novel, “How to Build a Girl.” That book — much like Moran’s brand of feminism — was warm, fierce and inclusive; this new one, a comic chronicle of a young woman’s adventures in ’90s London, sounds just as appealing. Timely, too, in an age when women’s rights and roles are at the fore. Elsewhere, I want to read “The Royal Art of Poison,” Eleanor Herman’s history of poisons. Were I to commit murder, poison would be my weapon of choice. Please note that I do not intend to murder anyone.
This summer, I’m looking forward to reading Laura van den Berg’s new novel “The Third Hotel” — she’s one of my favorite authors. . . . And I’d like to (finally!) get to “Bunk,” by Kevin Young, which looks fascinating: The history of hoaxes seems like a useful thing to know about in the era of fake news.
For me, summer is a chance to put aside crime and read something completely different. I’ve had multiple recommendations for A.J. Pearce’s debut novel, “Dear Mrs. Bird,” and it looks like it will fit the bill admirably. However, if I need something a bit darker, I’ve just ordered “Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades,” by Caitlin Davies, which is a history of Holloway women’s prison, and has enough crimes and mysteries in it to count as research.
In my beach and pool time, I’m reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s “The Poet X,” and trying to finish Nelson Demille’s “The Cuban Affair,” which I don’t want to end because he’s such a thriller master, so I’m prolonging it. Oh, and I’m hopeful my friend Jackie Woodson will read this and send me an advance reading copy of her long-awaited middle-grade novel.
I began my writing life with personal essays, so my first love is the memoir form. I need to read non-fiction like I need french fries; I cannot live without either. I look forward to reading the following works of nonfiction published in 2018: “Brotopia,” by Emily Chang; “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel,” by Alexander Chee; “Look Alive Out There,” by Sloane Crosley; “Not that Bad,” by Roxane Gay; “This Will be My Undoing,” by Morgan Jerkins; and “Sick,” by Porochista Khakpour.
At the top of my summer reading list is “A Gentleman in Moscow,” by Amor Towles, after I recently saw that two of my favorites writers, Louise Erdrich and Erik Larson, had recommended it. Larson called the novel a “work of magic,” and Erdrich described it as a “precious book for times you really, really want to escape reality.” What sounds better than that for a summer read?