With hot weather already upon us, it’s time to figure out what to read this summer. A quick poll of Nation staffers produced these eclectic titles. We also really want to know what you’re reading! Where better to turn for book suggestions than Nation readers, whom surveys tell us read, on average, one new book a week! We’re hoping to tap this collective literacy and publish a recommended reading list drawn from your suggestions. So, whether it’s light beach reading or dystopian sci-fi for a penniless staycation, please use the comments field below to let us what you’re reading this summer.
Katha Pollitt, Columnist
The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee
In this dark, clever novel for our time, a young Ivy League couple who think they are very special snowflakes claw their way into the 1 percent thanks to the husband’s financial skulduggery. Will they get away with it? Dee keeps you guessing until the last page.
Miriam Markowitz, Associate Literary Editor
The Mammoth Cheese, by Sheri Holman
I just finished The Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman, who has been marketed as an author of “women’s fiction” but is actually one of our greater American novelists. The story of a woman’s quest to save her family farm by honoring the new US president—who has promised amnesty to small, indebted farmers—with an enormous wheel of cheese has much of what I could want in a novel: dimensional characters and relationships, a tight storyline, existential depth and dread, and sentences of surprising beauty and originality.
John Nichols, Washington Correspondent
A People’s History of London, by Lindsey German and John Rees
The Olympics and the Jubilee? No. It’s the suffragists, silk weavers, militant match girls, Brick Lane anarchists, Tom Paine, William Morris and Karl Marx that make London interesting—then and now the great cauldron of radical ideas and action.
Eric Foner, Editorial Board Member
Blood, Sweat, and Toil, by Geoffrey G. Fields
A fascinating, kaleidoscopic history of the British working class during World War II, which upends many familiar stereotypes about the war and British society. It also demonstrates that there is still plenty of life in the field of labor history, whose death has been prematurely announced many times.
Dana Goldstein, Contributing Writer
A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
You’ll see no shortage of recommendations for Dave Eggers’s new novel. I’m reading it because as an avid urban biker, I’m fascinated by the story of a bike industry consultant who has put himself out of business by offshoring manufacturing work for companies like Scwhinn. The theme is topical, like that of most of Eggers’s work, but the straightforward writing and restrained emotion are timeless.
Ilyse Hogue, Blogger
This Is Your Country on Drugs, by Ryan Grim
One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while is This Is Your Country on Drugs by HuffPo reporter Ryan Grim. His fantastic writing style combines personal experience with exhaustive research to lay out the tragi-comedy that passes for American drug policy. Highly recommend.