If you are anything like most of us here at the Center, you love to curl up with a good book. In the winter, that curling up usually happens with a warm beverage and a fleece blanket in the comfort of home, maybe in front of a roaring fire or an electric space heater.
But by now, many of us have had a taste of spring-like weather, with temperatures verging on summery. You know what that means. It’s almost time to unroll the beach towel, hang the hammock, or dust off the porch swing! Wherever your favorite summer reading spot is, and whatever you like to read, we have five recommendations for books to take along:
Summer ’22 memoir recommendation
Yes, it’s warm and sunny outside, but if you’re looking for true story with a dark-humor edge, look no further than Mother Noise. Author Cindy House’s friendship with David Sedaris might be part of the impetus behind writing so truthfully about overcoming addiction. The main trope in this true story, though, concerns how and when and what to tell of such struggles to our children when we become parents. Living with the past and planning for a better future combine in this memoir of essays and graphics—because telling the truth might look differently depending on where you are in life.
Summer ’22 poetry book recommendation
frank: sonnets is not a brand new collection of poetry, but Diane Seuss just won the Pulitzer Prize for this collection, so we figure it’s more than worth revisiting (or checking out for the first time). Poets have loved sonnets for centuries, and Seuss’s are accessible and honest, spanning time and space to revisit different eras of her life. Her topics and time-hopping center on wealth, or rather, the lack of it. “The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do / without,” she writes.
Summer ’22 essay collection recommendation
Acclaimed memoirist Melissa Febos is back with Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative, a collection of essays on writing about one’s life. What does it even mean? What happens to us psychologically when we do it? Febos explores not only the process of putting our lives on screen or paper, but also what happens to those life stories after we release them to the world—because there are real bodies, queer bodies, bodies of color, traumatized bodies, attached to those stories.
Summer ’22 YA book recommendation
Two #1 New York Times bestselling authors, a former K-12 teacher turned Columbia University diversity and equity leader, and a multidisciplinary New York Times cover artist collaborated to adapt Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America as a book for the next generation. Stamped (for Kids) is no ordinary YA book. Dashka Slater called it “a field guide to American racism,” and young people everywhere will benefit from Kendi’s exhaustive research presented with vibrant art and accessible language. In an era of book and knowledge bans, let this book spark conversations we will ALL, regardless of race or age, be better for having.
Summer ’22 novel recommendation
Where the Crawdads Sing is Delia Owens’ bestselling coming-of-age novel about a mysterious murder and an equally mysterious young girl is about to become a movie. Sony’s 3000 Pictures released a trailer for the adaptation, and it looks great (but we still always like the book better!). Owens’ “Marsh Girl” is suspect because she’s an adolescent living alone in a marsh on the coast of North Carolina. If you can’t imagine why she would want to do so, keep reading. The author’s reverence for nature and the sanctity of childhood is on full display in this acclaimed debut novel that The New York Times Book Review called “painfully beautiful.”
Have you or will you read any of these books? Which one intrigues you the most? Do you have another book you’re excited to read and want to recommend to us and our readers? Share with us in the comments.
Related reading: Read more in 2022? 4 genres, 4 book recs
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