Summer Reading List

Grant Cornett

Book recommendations for wherever you happen to be.

For the Commute

The Astronaut Wives Club, by Lily Koppel (Grand Central Publishing, June). This untold true story follows the women behind the Mercury 7 astronauts and their overnight rise from housewives to national celebrities.

The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, by Neil Irwin (The Penguin Press, April). How Ben Bernanke, Mervyn King and Jean-Claude Trichet faced the crumbling of global finance in 2008.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of New America, by George Packer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, May). Part Dos Passos, part Orwell suggest his admirers, a New Yorker star explains America’s last 30 years.

For The Beach

Revenge Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger (Simon & Schuster, June). Miranda Priestly returns, more delightfully terrifying than ever, in this delicious sequel to The Devil Wears Prada.

Joyland, by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime, June). An old-school, pulpy paperback ghost story set in a North Carolina amusement park.

Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan (Doubleday, June 11). This debut novel—an outrageous romp with the über-rich of Hong Kong and Singapore—is designed to be judged by its faux-Hermès cover.

For the Hammock

Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasi (The Penguin Press, March). A funeral in Ghana brings a family of gifted West African expatriates together in this triumphant, gorgeously written debut.

And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, May). This third novel by the Afghan author of The Kite Runner touches down in Paris, San Francisco and the Greek island Tios.

Eleven Days, by Lea Carpenter (Knopf, June 18). A powerful, elegantly told story of a Navy SEAL and his devoted mother as they navigate the perils of war, loss and redemption.

For the Plane

Transatlantic, by Colum McCann (Random House, June). An epoch-hopping novel about Ireland, abolitionism and aviation from a National Book Award winner.

Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking, April 30). A sweeping chronicle that sheds new light on the origins of the American Revolution.

The Son, by Philipp Meyer (Ecco, May). A multigenerational, historical Texas epic by an author routinely—and deservedly—compared to John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy.

For the Pantry

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, by Michael Pollan (The Penguin Press, April). How humans harnessed the elements to invent cooking—and culture (recipes included).

On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta, Jen Lin-Liu (Riverhead, July). The founder of Beijing’s Black Sesame Kitchen cooking school traces the history and evolution of the noodle from China to Europe.

Family Table, by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner, with foreward by Danny Meyer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April). Closely guarded recipes for “family dinners” served to staff before lunch and dinner service at Danny Meyer’s superlative restaurants.

For the Nightstand

The Last Train to Zona Verde, by Paul Theroux (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May). A 2,500-mile foray into Africa’s heart that Theroux says will be his last trip on the continent.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris (Little, Brown, April). The whimsical title is a perfect preview of this wickedly funny, sneakily endearing collection from a master essayist.

Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli and Me, by Patricia Volk (Knopf, April). A beautiful memoir that weaves the story of the author’s clotheshorse mother with her own coming-of-age and the life of the Surrealist designer.

For the Coffee Table

Beken of Cowes: The Art of Sailing, published by Assouline in March, features photographs by Beken of Cowes—aka Alfred Edward Beken—who in 1888 moved to the Isle of Wight, training his camera on the majestic sailing yachts that raced there. The $695 limited edition makes a splendid summer centerpiece, full of archival stills and sea-sprayed literary quotes.