Five Books You Need to Read This Summer

Everyone loves lists. Every summer we’re flooded with book lists. It’s not a bad thing but it can become overwhelming. I read between 150-300 pages almost everyday. I’m always adding more books to my lists, finding new stuff, new old works, and getting ARCs and requests to review.

With this in mind, I offer you my first Summer Reads list. Here are five books out now and coming soon that will challenge, entertain, and deepen understanding.


Last Sext 
Melissa Broder
Tin House Books, 2016 (June)

Broder is a profoundly good poet able to write in a manner that’s immediately accessible, endearing and off-putting as well as familiar and bizarre. There’s also utterly no reason to not read her collection of personal essays, So Sad Today.


ISIS: A History 
Fawaz Gerges 
Princeton University Press, 2016 

Be honest, you know nothing about the Islamic State. What you get through 24-hr news channels is spotty, superficial, and in an election year egregiously jingoistic. Gerges presents an object, well researched and well argued picture of how ISIS emerged, just what are its motivations, the factions within it and in contention against it in Syria, and how it fits globally. This isn’t a book you agree or disagree with, this is a book that allows you to know.


Beautiful Ape Girl Baby 
Heather Fowler 
Pink Narcissus Press, 2016 (June)

Fowler considers her fiction to be magical realism. Few could argue with that about her new novel, but there’s always something more in her prose than you expect, something that makes you smile, shudder, be aroused, ashamed, manically proud, and utterly confused. Her’s is a prose that enlivens.


Eleven Hours
Pamela Erens 
Tin House Books, 2016

Perhaps one of the best American novelists alive, Erens writes literary fiction that wraps its hand around your heart and stares down your mind’s eye. She writes so adeptly yet in such a casual tone her words linger in your thoughts.


How Games Move Us 
Katherine Isbister 
The MIT Press, 2016

Slowly but surely academia and critical thought is catching up with the ever expanding world of gaming. How video games work, their formal elements, and analysis of their impact are the usual area critics, both casual and professional, inhabit. Isbister looks at gaming from an emotional standpoint, how and what gaming provokes, inspires, and leads us to feel. There’s never enough smart people writing criticism on games or anything else, so this slim book is well worth the effort.


Honorable Mentions (i.e., books I will be reading soon enough)
In November Bailey Poland’s Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online will come out and I’m eager for it. You can get a taste here.

In July Jesse Ball’s new novel A Cure for Suicide will be released. Ball’s prose is always well crafted and the book sounds engaging.

I’m finding myself drawn to Ghost County, a collection of poems by John McCarthy and Sarai Walker’s Dietland.


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This article was made possible thanks to support from my patrons:

Rachel Racicot 

Tyler Whitesides

Patrick Casey

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