20 New Books to Read This Summer

Books Lists

Whether you’re looking for a fun beach book or an intellectual novel, the days are long and summer is an excellent time to catch up on your reading. Lucky for us, stacks of new books have been released in recent months, with more to come later this summer. Here are 20 you may want to add to your list:

1. TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
Let the Great World Spin author Colum McCann’s eighth book TransAtlantic spans across history as McCann tells the stories of three iconic crossings—aviators Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown’s crossing of the Atlantic to get to Ireland in 1919; Frederick Douglass’s international lecture tour to Ireland in 1845 and 1846; New York Senator George Mitchell’s 1998 departure to Belfast to bring Northern Ireland’s Peace Talks to conclusion—and weaves them together with the journeys of three women. TransAtlantic traces both one family’s journey and the development of Irish-American relations as a whole.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman’s first book for adults since 2005’s Anasi Boys, modern fantasy The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about magic and the power of stories. Gaiman describes it as “an astonishingly personal sort of a novel.”

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3. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Set in the 1920s, The Other Typist follows the prim and prudish Rose Baker, a typist in a New York City Police Department precinct. While Rose has the power to sentence a person to life in prison with a few keystrokes at her job, once she leaves her workplace she’s faced with conventional gender roles. The ‘20s, however, are a time of exciting change, and Rose sees women bobbing their hair, smoking and attending speakeasies. She becomes drawn to the glamorous Odalie, the new girl at the office, and together the two women navigate the changing times of the ‘20s and the dual lives of women in a man’s world.

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4. The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace
Penned by the author of Big Fish, The Kings and Queens of Roam is about polar-opposite sisters Helen and Rachel McCallister. Helen is older and bitter, while Rachel is beautiful, naïve and blind. After their parents’ sudden death, Helen is in charge of caring for Rachel. But Helen convinces Rachel that the world is dark and dangerous, a place she could never survive on her own. Until Rachel “makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down.”

5. My Education by Susan Choi
“Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemned on the walls of the women’s restroom, and enjoys films by Roman Polanski. But no one has warned Regina about his exceptional physical beauty—or his charismatic, volatile wife.” Choi is also the author of American Woman, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Person of Interest. In her newest novel, she tells the story of Regina’s mistakes and misadventures while exploring the relationship between desire and duty.

6. The Son by Philipp Meyer
Philipp Meyer (American Rust ) spins a multigenerational saga in his new novel The Son, which follows a texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century.

7. The Execution of Noa P Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver
Elizabeth L. Silver’s thriller features heroine Noa P. Singleton, a twenty-something college dropout on death row for the murder of Sarah Dixon. But Sarah’s attorney mother Marlen suddenly tells Noa that she has changed her mind and wants the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison. That is, if Noa is willing to reveal the events that led to Sarah’s death.

8. Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng
Cheng’s first novel, Southern Cross the Dog follows the journey of Robert Chatham in the aftermath of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Having lost everything, Robert embarks on an odyssey through the Deep South into the Mississippi hinterland, encountering characters such as piano-playing hustlers and a family of fur trappers. The novel explores the beauty and complexity of the past and has been likened to novels by Cormac McCarthy.

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9. The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell and A Field Guide to Getting Lost , is back with The Faraway Nearby. Solnit explores the significance of stories and how they construct our lives by telling a few tales of her own. An excerpt from the first passage: “Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice. To love someone is to put yourself in their place, we say, which is to put yourself in their story, or figure out how to tell yourself their story.”

10. A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion
by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer

Because who wouldn’t want to dine like a Lannister? A Feast of Ice and Fire provides 100 different recipes inspired by George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Recipes are divided by region (the Wall, the North, the South, King’s Landing, Dome and Across the Narrow Sea) and include rack of lamb, beef and bacon pie and stuffed grape leaves. Plus, there is a foreword by George R.R. Martin, who has endorsed the book.

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11. Cotton Tenants: Three Families by James Agee and Walker Evans
A recently discovered work of reporting that focuses on Depression-era Alabama, Cotton Tenants is Agee’s effort to convey the extreme poverty among tenant farmers, focusing on three families in west central Alabama. The project was originally commissioned by Fortune magazine in 1936 but ended up being trashed by Agee’s editor. Agee’s 30,000-word typescript was discovered in 2005 when his daughter donated some of his work to the University of Tennessee Special Collections Library. Now, his exploration of poverty is published for the first time, along with 30 of Walker Evans’ historic photographs.

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12. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
And the Mountains Echoed is a new novel by Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Hosseini explores familial relationships through a saga that shifts between multiple viewpoints and across continents and that spans over more than a century.

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13. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
In this lyrical debut novel, two doctors in the war-torn Russian republic Chechnya risk everything to save the life of an eight-year old girl whose father has been abducted and accused of aiding Chechnyan rebels. The three companions form an unlikely familial bond during violent wartime. “”It’s a novel about people who are trying to transcend the hardships of their circumstances by saving others,” Marra told NPR.

14. Moonrise by Cassandra King
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Moonrise is a dark and eerie novel by The Same Sweet Girls author Cassandra King. The yearly gathering of four couples is shadowed by the mysterious death of their friend, Rosalyn, whose estate, Moonrise, was the center of their summer gatherings. The friends convene at Moonrise to grieve and comfort Rosalyn’s widower Emmet. However, Emmet has already remarried a woman named Helen, who, among escalating rumors and gossip, quickly becomes an outsider to the circle of friends.

15. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Anne Fowler
This novel is a fictional autobiography of Zelda Fitzgerald, one half of the famous Fitzgerald couple, whose story still fascinates us today. With the recent film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, Fowler has certainly released her novel at a relevant time.

16. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The Interestings follows a group of friends, who meet at summer camp in the 1970s and call themselves the “Interestings.” The coming-of-age-story continues through their adult lives, exploring the differences in each character’s fate. Wolitzer is also the author of The Ten-Year Nap and The Wife, among other novels.

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17. The Color Master: Stories by Aimee Bender
In this collection of stories, Aimee Bender (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake) explores people searching for connection while navigating the difficult realities of their lives. “A traumatic event unfolds when a girl with flowing hair of golden wheat appears in an apple orchard, where a group of people await her. A woman plays out a prostitution fantasy with her husband and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life. An ugly woman marries an ogre and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children. Two sisters travel deep into Malaysia, where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds.”

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18. Forty-One False Starts by Janet Malcolm
A collection of essays and profiles, Janet Malcolm’s Forty-One False Starts reflects on artists and their work, and explores the works of painters, photographers, writers and critics, including figures such as of Edward Weston, Edith Wharton and J.D. Salinger.

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19. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The Shining Girls is a thriller that follows Kirby, the sole survivor of time-traveling serial killer Harper Curtis, as she attempts to hunt down her would-be killer. Harper began his murder spree in Depression-era Chicago and travels across six decades to select his victims, all of which are “shining girls,” bright young women with potential. Kirby, who survives Harper’s attack, is determined to find him and bring him to justice.

20. Brief Encounters with the Enemy by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
Brief Encounters with the Enemy is a short-story collection from Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, who marked his place in fiction when he published a story in The New Yorker in 2010. The stories feature an unnamed American city and the everyday lives and struggles of its citizens: a call-center employee, a history teacher, a grocery store janitor.

Bonus: Pickett’s Charge by Charles McNair
It’s not out until Labor Day weekend, but we can’t recommend a better way to close out summer than the latest novel from Paste books editor Charles McNair. It’s been nearly two decades since his last novel Land O’Goshen was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The new novel follows the adventures of the last living Confederate soldier as seeks to wage one final battle.

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