Each month we ask a panel of our bloggers to suggest a book based on what they’re reading right now. Here’s what we think you should read this month!
Joel: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, by Blake J. Harris
A must-read historical narrative for any ’90s kid who still bears the scars of schoolyard battles that pitted Mario against Sonic and the SNES against the upstart Genesis (even though the Nintendo kids knew in their hearts that Sega was always cooler). Bonus points if you know the difference between “Mode 7” and “Blast Processing.”
Nicole: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
Once you thought it was safe to go back into the dystopian water, something like Station Eleven comes along—with its viral outbreak, traveling Shakespeare troupe, and poignant portrait of apocalyptic aftermath—and guts you. You will blow through it in a matter of hours, leaving time to stock up on your doomsday supplies.
Molly: The Drop, by Dennis Lehane
This book went by so quickly it was finished before I even knew what was happening! Lehane’s novels (including the excellent Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone) tend to feature complex plots, shifty characters, and a gritty portrayal of working-class Boston life—and they also make excellent movies. The film adaptation of The Drop is coming out in mid-September; you’ll enjoy it even more having read the sharp, twisty short novel it was based on.
Lauren: How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran
Fourteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan is fighting to grow up without straying too far from herself in Moran’s first YA novel (which reads more like a coming-of-age story), a struggle that surely resonates with all of us. It’s just that Morrigan, who shares an uncanny resemblance to Moran herself, deals with her struggle with such colossal humor, brashness, and wit that her story will have you underlining almost every single sentence in the book and insisting aloud that others take heed. I was so excited to read How to Build a Girl I thought there was almost no way it could possibly live up to my expectations. But it did. It’s sweary and dirty and rough and real and a riot. I hope boys don’t think it’s not for them. It’s for everybody.
Melissa: The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
Mitchell’s sixth novel is another time-jumping, narrator-hopping doorstopper, the kind of follow-up fans of Cloud Atlas have been putting on their wish list since 2004. In its opening section teenaged runaway Holly Sykes makes a strange bargain with an old woman in exchange for a cup of tea—hasn’t she ever read a fairy tale?—and it spins out from there, telling Holly’s story through the years, sometimes from inside her head, sometimes at a distance. I kept putting it down to say, “This is SO GOOD,” then picking it up again and reading till my eyes hurt. (And when you’re done with the Mitchell, I second Nicole on St. John Mandel’s gorgeous Station Eleven.)
Dahlia: Six Feet Over It, by Jennifer Longo
A gorgeous YA debut about a fourteen-year-old girl whose life has been defined by grief and loss, made infinitely worse by her father’s moving the family to live and work at a cemetery. Beautifully written and full of intriguing characters and universal themes, this book shredded my heart chapter by chapter, and was totally worth the pain.
Sara: Bring on the Heat, by Katie Rose
It’s just about time for baseball playoffs, so it’s the perfect time for Rose’s mistaken-identity comedy about a major league pitcher and the woman he thinks is a well-connected socialite. If you like baseball and can suspend your disbelief—because this is one of those books where the whole conceit could come unraveled if the characters would *just use their words*—this is a fun diversion, especially if your team was mathematically eliminated in June.
Ginni: Hawai’i One Summer, by Maxine Hong Kingston
I first read Maxine Hong Kingston in college, where her novels not only shaped my understanding of Asian American literature but my identity as an Asian American woman. Now, in her newly released collection of essays, Kingston writes beautifully about her own everyday life in Hawai’i. She weaves mysticism, spiritual reflection, and dreams into her discussion of the mundane. You follow her thoughts down fantastic rabbit holes as she contemplates things like her young son’s nightmares and her high school reunion. There’s an enlightening essay on washing the dishes you absolutely have to read. Deemed a “Living Treasure of Hawai’i” and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Kingston’s lush, dreamy prose about island life is the perfect way to make the summer last a little longer.
Dell: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel, by Francine Prose
While the title might suggest otherwise, this novel (Prose’s 21st!) is a superlative examination of evil, told in several distinct—but not altogether reliable—voices. Specifically, a cast of challenging, unforgettable characters (including a crossdressing nightclub owner, a patroness of the arts, a rising photographer and his girlfriend, a misogynistic expat writer, and a lesbian race-car driver) channels Paris’s glittering bohemian scene of the late 1920s and early 1930s, and the much darker times that follow. It’s an engrossing, chilling, and extraordinary read.
Paul: The Witch With No Name, by Kim Harrison
After ten years and 12 novels, Harrison’s bestselling saga featuring witchy heroine Rachel Morgan comes to its climactic conclusion with a potentially world-changing battle that brings our lovable gray witch not only to the end of her tumultuous journey of self-discovery (and self-acceptance) but also the beginning of the rest of her life—arguably the biggest paranormal fantasy release of the year!
What are you reading this month?