“What Will You Read This Summer?” 28 Friends List Some Titles

I asked 27 friends (and a daughter) to name the titles of books they plan to read this summer. Scroll down to find lists by Elliot Ackerman, Jack Black, Eduardo Corral, Roz Chast, Rebecca Dinerstein, Rikki Ducornet, Joseph Gonnella, Tyehimba Jess, Nick Kroll, Tess Lewis, Fiona Maazel, Bill Marx, Gail Mazur, Jay Monahan, Laura O’Neill, Peter Orner, D.A. Powell, David Rivard, Gillian Robespierre, Gil Roth, Jason Schwartzman, Jenny Slate, Maggie Smith, Lisa Russ Spaar, Levi Stahl, Eric Stange, David Tebaldi, Laura Van Den Berg. RS

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Elliot Ackerman

Ackerman_0.jpgHourglass / Dani Shapiro (Knopf)

The Evenings: A Winter’s Tale / Gerard Reve (Pushkin Press)

Burning the Days / James Salter (Vintage)

Seize the Day / Saul Bellow (Penguin Classics)

Three Daughters of Eve / Elif Shafak (Viking)

Based in Istanbul, Elliot Ackerman is a novelist and journalist. His latest novel is Dark At The Crossing (Knopf). He has recently written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New Republic.

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Jack Black

Black.jpgImmobility / Brian Evenson (Tor Books)

Naked Lunch / William S. Burroughs (Grove Press)

Infinite Jest / David Foster Wallace (Back Bay Books)

The Man in the High Castle / Philip K. Dick (Mariner Books)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay / Michael Chabon (Random House)

Jack Black is a film and TV actor, producer and writer. He plays the Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan in The Polka King, a feature released earlier this year.

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Eduardo Corral

Corral_Eduardo_c-Matt_Valentine_.jpgTo Sweeten Bitter / Raymond Antrobus (Out-Spoken Press)

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body / Roxane Gay (Harper) 

Stranger, Baby / Emily Berry (Faber & Faber)

Sudden Death / Álvaro Enrigue (Riverhead Books)

Feel Happier in Nine Seconds / Linda Besner (Coach House Books)

Eduardo Corral is the 2017-18 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and assistant professor of English at North Carolina State University. He won the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 2012 for his collection Slow Lightning.

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Roz Chast

Chast.jpgPreparation for the Next Life / Atticus Lish (Tyrant Books)

The Idiot / Elif Batuman (Penguin)

Lincoln in the Bardo / George Saunders (Random House)

Roz Chast’s first cover for The New Yorker appeared in 1986. More than 800 of her cartoons have appeared there – as well as in many other publications and books. Her memoir is Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant (2014, Bloomsbury).

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Rebecca Dinerstein

Dinerstein_author_photo.jpgGoodnight, Beautiful Women / Anna Noyes (Grove Press)

Marlena / Julie Buntin (Henry Holt)

Lincoln in the Bardo / George Saunders (Random House)

The Little Disturbances of Man / Grace Paley (Penguin)

The Vegetarian / Han Kang (Hogarth)

Between Them: Remembering My Parents / Richard Ford (Ecco)

Rebecca Dinerstein is the author of a novel, The Sunlit Night, and a bilingual English-Norwegian collection of poems, Lofoten. She lives in Brooklyn.

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Rikki Ducornet

Ducornet.jpegCollected Essays / James Baldwin (Library of America)

Giovanni’s Room / James Baldwin (Vintage)

Notes of a Native Son / James Baldwin (Beacon Press)

Go Tell It On the Mountain / James Baldwin (Vintage)

Rikki Ducornet has published 16 novels and collections of short fiction, most recently Brightfellow (Coffee House Press).

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Joseph Gonnella

Gonnnn.jpgHow I Became Hettie Jones / Hettie Jones (Grove Press)

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power / Robert A. Caro (Vintage)

The Unknown Matisse: The Early Years / Hilary Spurling (Knopf)
Poems in the Rough / Paul Valery (Princeton)

I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems 1960-2014 / Bill Knott (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Milk and Honey / Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel)

Joseph Gonnella is vice president of publisher relations for Barnes & Noble.

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Tyehimba Jess

Jess_0.jpgHow To Get Over / t’ai freedom ford (Red Hen Press)

Whereas: Poems / Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf Press)

Reaper / Jill McDonough (Alice James Books)

Silencer / Marcus Wicker (Mariner Books)

Burnt Men / Oluwasegun Romeo Oriogun (Praxis Magazine)

Olio by Tyehimba Jess was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He teaches at the College of Staten Island/CUNY.

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Nick Kroll

Kroll.jpegEverything Is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person / Daniel Zomparelli (Arsenal Pulp Press)

An O. Henry Reader / O. Henry (Globe Fearon)

Charlie Chaplin / Peter Ackroyd (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)

All That Man Is / David Szalay (Graywolf Press)

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths / (Delacorte Press)

Nick Kroll is an actor and comedian. His new special “Oh Hello on Broadway“ premiered on Netflix on June 13th.

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Tess Lewis

Lewis.jpgA Horse Walks into a Bar / David Grossman, tr. by Jessica Cohen (Knopf)

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City / Matthew Desmond (Broadway Books)

Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions / Valerie Luiselli (Coffee House Press)

The Exploded View / Ivan Vladislavic (Archipelago Books)

The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible / Sarah Ruden (Pantheon)

and Issue One of the revived Evergreen Review

Tess Lewis is an essayist on European literature and translator from French and German. Her translations include works by Peter Handke, Alois Hotschnig, Maja Haderlap, Pascal Bruckner, Ludwig Hohl, Phillippe Jaccottet, and Klaus Merz. [Photo credit: Sarah Shatz]

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Fiona Maazel

Maazel.jpgGuesswork / Martha Cooley (Catapult)

Whistlestop : My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History / John Dickerson (Twelve)

Original Copies in Georges Perec and Andy Warhol / Priya Wadhera (Brill/Rodopi)

The Argonauts / Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press)

The Year of Magical Thinking / Joan Didion (Vintage)

Fiona Maazel’s new third novel is A Little More Human (Graywolf Press).

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Bill Marx

bill-marx-portrait.jpgTypewriters Bombs Jellyfish: Essays / Tom McCarthy (NY Review of Books)

The Financial Imaginary: Economic Mystification and the Limits of Realist Fiction / Alison Shonkwiller (Univ. of Minnesota Press)

Gaslight: Lantern Slides from the Nineteenth Century / Joachim Kalka (NY Review of Books)

Slight Exaggeration / Adam Zagajewski (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Earth / Emile Zola (Oxford Univ. Press)

The Illustrious House of Ramires / Eça de Queiros (New Directions)

Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History / Joseph North (Harvard Univ. Press)

Bill Marx is the editor-in-chief of The Arts Fuse, an online magazine dedicated to covering arts and culture in Boston and throughout New England. 

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Gail Mazur

MazurColor_0_0.jpegAnything is Possible / Elizabeth Strout (Random House)

The World Without Us / Alan Weisman (Picador)

War and Peace / Leo Tolstoy (Vintage)

The Age of Wonder / Richard Holmes (Vintage)

Dr. Zhivago / Boris Pasternak (Vintage)

A Mother’s Tale / Phillip Lopate (Mad River Books)

Gail Mazur’s seventh book of poems is Forbidden City (University of Chicago Press).

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Jay Monahan

Monahan.jpegThe Immortal Irishman / Timothy Egan (Mariner Books)

The American Spirit / David McCullough (Simon & Schuster)

Thank You for Being Late / Thomas L.Friedman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Charity and Its Fruits / Jonathan Edwards (CreateSpace)

Jay Monahan became the fourth Commissioner of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour in January 2017.

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Laura O’Neill

LauraO_Neill.jpgNorwegian Wood / Haruki Murakami (Vintage)

Medical Medium / Anthony William (Hay House)

The Handmaids Tale / Margaret Atwood (Anchor)

Vegan: The Cookbook / Jean-Christian Jury (Phaidon Press)

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) / David Sedaris (Little,Brown)

How Music Works / David Byrne (Three Rivers Press)

Laura O’Neill is co-Founder of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and co-owner of the Indonesian restaurant Selamat Pagi. She is also one half of indie pop band Laura and Greg.

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Peter Orner

Orner.jpegSoldiers of Salamis / Javier Cercas (Bloomsbury) [re-read]

The Works of Love / Wright Morris (Knopf)

Light in August / William Faulkner (Vintage) [re-read]

The Waves / Virginia Woolf (Vintage)

Writing To Save a Life / John Edgar Wideman (Scribner)

Homage to Catalonia / George Orwell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Light: with Monet at Giverny / Eva Figes (Pallas Athene) [re-read]

Peter Orner’s latest book, Am I Alone Here?, was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. He is the chair of the creative writing program at San Francisco State University.

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D. A. Powell

Powell_0.jpgA Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman / Alice Kessler-Harris (Bloomsbury)

The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting / Anne Trubek (Bloomsbury)

Of Mongrelitude / Julian Talamantez Brolaski (Wave Books)

Patient Zero / Tomas Q. Morin (Copper Canyon Press)

In the Language of My Captor / Shane McCrae (Wesleyan)

Double Portrait / Brittany Perham (Norton)

D. A. Powell's books of poems include Repast (Graywolf, 2014) and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf, 2012). He teaches at the University of San Francisco.

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David Rivard

Rivrd.jpegHow Music Works / David Byrne (Three Rivers Press)

As Ever: Selected Poems / Joanne Kyger (Penguin Poets)

Notes on the Cinematograph / Robert Bresson (New York Review Books)

The Narrow Door / Paul Lisicky (Graywolf Press)

I Am Flying Into Myself / Bill Knott (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Second Childhood: Poems / Fanny Howe (Graywolf Press)

David Rivard’s sixth book of poems, Standoff, received the 2017 PEN/New England Award for poetry. He teaches at the University of New Hampshire.

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Gillian Robespierre

Robespierre.jpegDear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf)

The Rules Do Not Apply / Ariel Levy (Random House)

You'll Grow Out of It / Jessi Klein (Grand Central Publishing)

How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids / Jancee Dunn (Little, Brown)

Gillian Robespierre is the writer, director, and co-producer of the film Landline, her second feature, which will appear in theaters this summer.

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Gil Roth

Roth_1.jpegFour of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage / Robert Bader (Northwestern)

The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness / David Gelertner (Liveright)

Vertigo / W.G. Sebald (New Directions)

The Peripheral / William Gibson (Berkley)

My Life in Middlemarch / Rebecca Mead (Broadway Books)

This Town / Mark Leibovich (Blue Rider Press)

Gil Roth is a lobbyist for a weird subsector of the pharmaceutical industry. To zero out his karma, he makes the weekly literary-cultural interview podcast, The Virtual Memories Show (www.chimeraobscura.com/vm).

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Jason Schwartzman

Schwatrzman.jpeg1966: The Year the Decade Exploded / Jon Savafe (Faber & Faber)

Kzradock the Onion Man and the Spring-Fresh Methuselah: From the Notes of Dr. Renard de Monspensier / Louis Levy, tr. by W.C. Bamberger (Wakefield Press)

Otherwise Known as the Human Condition / Geoff Dyer (Graywolf Press)

Phantoms on the Bookshelves / Jacques Bonnet (Overlook Press)

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton from the Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man / Holly George-Warren (Penguin)

My Vocabulary Did This To Me: Collected Poetry / Jack Spicer (Wesleyan Univ. Press)

Jason Schwartzman is a film and TV actor, producer and writer. He has played now-iconic characters in features including Rushmore, I Heart Huckabees, The Darjeeling Limited and the HBO series Bored To Death.

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Jenny Slate

jenny-slate-b7680c65de7fa5b6.jpgState of Wonder / Anne Patchett (Harper Perennial)

Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays / Durga Chew-Bose (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

The Mother of All Questions / Rebecca Solnit (Haymarket Books)

Birds, Beasts and Flowers!: Poems / D.H. Lawrence (David R. Godine)

Trust Me: Short Stories / John Updike (Random House)

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble / William Steig (Little Simon)

Jenny Slate is a film actor, a stand-up comedian, and author. Her latest feature Landline will open in theaters later this summer.

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Maggie Smith

Maggie_Smith_color_Studio127.jpgThe Book of Joan / Lidia Yuknavitch (Harper)

Thing Is / Suzannah Showler (McClelland & Stewart/Penguin Random House)

Lessons on Expulsion / Erika L. Sánchez (Graywolf)

The Gypsy Moth Summer/ Julia Fierro (St. Martin’s)

Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation / Kyo Maclear (Scribner)

Fast / Jorie Graham (Ecco)

Sunshine State / Sarah Gerard (Harper Perennial)

Maggie Smith’s third collection of poems, Good Bones, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press this fall.

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Lisa Russ Spaar

Spaar_1.jpegRichard III / William Shakespeare (Simon & Schuster)

Selected Works / Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, trans. Edith Grossman (W.W.Norton)

Jayber Crow / Wendell Berry (Counterpoint)

A Pillow Book / Suzanne Buffam (Canarium Books)

After Montaigne:  Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays / ed. Lazar and Madden (Univ.of Georgia Press)

House of Names / Colm Toibin (Scribner)

Lisa Russ Spaar’s new book of poems is Orexia (Persea Books). She is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

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Levi Stahl

Stahl.jpegThe Golden Bowl / Henry James (Penguin)

The Force / Don Winslow (William Morrow)

Borne / Jeff Vandermeer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Canterbury Tales / Geoffrey Chaucer (Penguin)

The Bradshaw Variations / Rachel Cusk (Picador)

The Age of Innocence / Edith Wharton (Library of America)

Levi Stahl is the editor of The Getaway Car: A Donald E. Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany, and the associate marketing director at the University of Chicago Press. He tweets about books as @levistahl.

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Eric Stange

Stange.jpegThe Ministry of Utmost Happiness / Arundhati Roy (Knopf)

Young Radicals in the War for American Ideals / Jeremy McCarter (Random House)

New Boy / Tracy Chevalier (Hogarth)

Transit / Rachel Cusk (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast / Megan Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Eric Stange writes, directs and produces documentary films via Spy Pond Productions. His new film, Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, will air on “American Masters” (PBS) in October. Click here to watch the trailer.

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David Tebaldi

Tebaldi.jpgWhen Breath Becomes Air / Paul Kalanithi (Random House)

Valiant Ambition / Nathaniel Philbrick (Penguin)

The Orientalist / Tom Reiss (Random House)

The North Water / Ian McGuire (Picador)

Barkskins / Annie Proulx (Scribner)

Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion / Michael Patrick MacDonald (Mariner Books)

David Tebaldi has been the Executive Director of Mass Humanities since 1985.  He received a 2017 Commonwealth Award for Leadership in recognition of his extraordinary service to the cause of using the humanities to improve civic life in Massachusetts.

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Laura Van Den Berg

LVDB.jpegThe Grip of It / Jac Jemc (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Lonesome Lies Before Us / Don Lee (W.W.Norton)

Sour Heart: Stories / Jenny Zhang (Lenny)

So Much Blue / Percival Everett (Graywolf Press)

Made For Love / Alissa Nutting (Ecco)

Laura Van Den Berg is the author of three novels, most recently Find Me. She lives in Cambridge, MA.