Here’s hoping you have vacation planned and time to enjoy one of these!
Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond & Adam Horovitz – Wondering if there’s any depth to the fight-for-your-right-to-party guys? In a word: yes. This colorful collection of stories, photos, drawings, etc. is pure enjoyment and the unvarnished truth from two of the coolest cats in music history (RIP Adam Yauch). It’s also heavy enough to weigh down any beach blanket.
Twilight of the Gods by Steven Hyden – Prefer rock music over hip hop? Well unless you hope to die before you get old, at some point in your lifetime it may all be gone. This is perfect summer reading: a celebration of the soundtrack of your youth with a stern reminder to not take it for granted. Bonus: sections are “Sides” and chapters are “Tracks” named for true classics.
Educated by Tara Westover – This best-selling memoir of being raised as a survivalist on an Idaho mountain may just drive you mad, from parents who don’t believe in medicine to various siblings that range from brainwashed to abusive. That the first-time author could produce this masterpiece with no formal primary or secondary schooling (she talked her way into BYU) is a testament to her remarkable skill.
Heartland by Sarah Smarsh – And this one is just as good. The author took some 15 years to stitch together her family’s complicated history and what a tapestry of Midwestern farm life results. Written ostensibly as a love letter to an imagined daughter, this is a manual for breaking the cycles of poverty and fractured family life. Surely someday she’s Senator Smarsh.
You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian – If it’s a sampler you seek, Google “Cat Person” to get a sense of Roupenian’s style and the Twitterverse debates that rocketed her to viral fame and a book deal. To say there’s a dark thread connecting that one and eleven other short stories is an understatement. And if you find it offensive, don’t write me… fair?
What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky – Ah, so you lean more to musings rather than the macabre? Look no further than these hilarious dozen-and-a-half essays. It seems Havrilesky would’ve preferred to live in an era not known for “social media firebrands” and their endless trumpeting of self-improvement fads. As the title suggests, let’s all just simmer down a bit.
How Not to Die by Michael Greger, M.D. – If you can read even a couple chapters of this 450+ page guide and not change your diet, well you really love your Twinkies now don’t you? Part 1 is a crash course in avoiding just about any disease you can name while Part 2 advises on the good doctor’s meal plan. Somehow this book rips Western habits to shreds without being preachy – no small feat.
Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan Buettner – You know that deep down optimistic part of you that somehow believes world order will soon be restored and that there’s a fix for climate change and indeed so many reasons to be cheerful that you want nothing more than to live healthfully to a ripe old active 100+ years of age? Yeah? This book will set you free.
Factfulness by Hans Rosling – If for no other reason, get this one for poolside quizzes on world conditions. You may fail and not even mind because the lessons herein run deep. Rosling wrote this with an assist from his son & daughter-in-law as he slouched toward death’s door and it leaves the indelible mark he intended. Overarching theme: things can be bad and improving.
This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff – For those wary of straying too far from workplace settings for their casual reading, there’s Medoff’s 2018 soapy novel about fictional Ellery Consumer Research during the Great Recession era. Built around a handful of bratty executives, this one has a fun blend of high drama and selfish lowlifes. Oh, and blindside layoffs – good times!