Whether you’re spending long hazy days on the beach or are inside enjoying the AC, summer is the perfect season to dive into reading. I’m sharing my seven favorite summer reads, all of which are authored by women. From short stories to a novel involving a romance with a merman, you’re sure to find at least one pick that sounds like it belongs in your beach bag.
Piper Wesis is a Brooklyn based writer and has written for: Refinery 29, Hazlitt, Elle, Yahoo, New York Daily News and various other publications, but before that she was an Upper East Side teenager coached in tennis by the not-yet-infamous Gary Wilensky. Her memoir focuses on her experiences as a privileged, private schooled fourteen year old, wrapped up with the impression Wilensky made on her during their practices and car rides. The book is both a memoir juxtaposed with reporting on backstories and survivor accounts- hers included.
Admittedly, this book grabbed my attention with it’s alluring millennial pink cover. The book, written by New Yorker staff writer, Batuman, follows protagonist Selin’s first year at Harvard university. She learns about Russian, constructed worlds and, since email has just been created, online love with a Hungarian boy named Ivan. She then proceeds to follow Ivan to back home for summer to teach English in a rural village. Frustratingly long winded at times, the book deliberately is full of inner questionings and Selin’s observations. Batuman recently wrote an essay about the decline of the novel, due to short stories, urging writers to, “Write long novels, pointless novels. Do not be ashamed to grieve about personal things. Dear young writers, write with dignity, not in guilt. How you write is how you will be read.”
Let me put it simply: Each essay is hilariously funny. If you tend to go for summer reads that will make you laugh, this is the book for you.
Poet Indy Yelich’s mother is revered New Zealand poet, Sonja Yelich, and her sister is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, also known by her stage name as Lorde. An undoubtedly precocious first book of poems, Sticky Notes has received critical acclaim since it’s release in May. Indy’s poems cover love, unrequited love, being young, living away from home and even about being Lorde’s sister. She recently came out as bisexual on Twitter in probably the most NBD way possible and regularly posts on her Instagram about her life, work and pretty summer dresses.
This book combines Paley’s: “The Little Disturbances of Man”, “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute” and “Later the Same Day collections.” Paley, who died in 2007, was a feminist, political activist, pacifist, late to life writer and a personal hero of mine. She weaves feminism throughout her stories of single mothers, aging women, little girls, and oblivious men.
Jenny Zhang’s collection of short stories tells the grim realities immigrants endure when fighting to stay afloat in a foreign country. Zhang and her family moved to New York city from China when she was a child. Her writing is harsh, but enlightening. “Sour Heart” has received well deserved praise, including winning the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.
Is the merman what vampires and werewolves were to 2008 this year? With “The Shape of Water” and Melissa Broader’s latest novel it would seem like it could be. Distraught Lucy, who is unable to make relationships last or finish her dissertation, decides to jump in to the ocean one night when she meets Theo, who she believes is a surfer in the water. (Spoiler alert: he’s a merman.) In a modern, gender reversed “Little Mermaid tale,” the two fall in love.
What’s your favorite summer read? We’d love to know!