Letter from the Editor: It's August and too hot for anything beside a good book and some A/C
Since it’s the last month of summer, the last month it’s completely acceptable to shut your laptop for a week and float in a pool with a thick book and a tangy adult beverage, I’m going to recommend some reading. There’s something about warmer weather that makes us all much more prolific readers, so here are some titles (new and older) you should go ahead and add to your to-read list.
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
I’m currently reading this book, and it makes me quietly laugh every five minutes. The Idiot follows Selin, a daughter of Turkish immigrants, who is attending Harvard in the ’90s. Batuman somehow captures the feels of every teenager trying to navigate their way around friendship, love, and, well, college. The storytelling is absurdist and smart; you’ll want Selin to be the Jane to your Daria. Buy here.
The Hot One by Carolyn Murnick
If you’re in the mood for a more intense read, and you’re on that true-crime kick, The Hot One will satisfy that want/need. Murnick’s memoir is about friendship and MURDER, specifically, the murder of Ashley Ellerin (who was at the time dating Ashton Kutcher, which is kind of beside the point). Carolyn recalls her childhood friendship with Ashley, how they drifted apart, and the way she processed her untimely and gruesome death. Buy here.
Touch by Courtney Maum
Black Mirror fan? You’ll want to lap this right up. In Maum’s world, protagonist Sloane Jacobsen is a “trend forecaster,” meaning she can see what people are going to be all about before they become all about it. The world is a shitty place — it’s way overpopulated, and there aren’t enough jobs. No one is having kids anymore. People have become detached. But Sloane soon starts to envision a world that emotionally defrosts — she sees humans wanting real contact again! Touch is a funny/scary book that super reflects the direction we’re all going in, considering our intense dependence on technology. Buy here.
Startup by Doree Shafrir
As a person who has worked at a startup, this book is especially funny and feels real. Shafrir’s story of the startup world is as ruthless as it is absurd. Startup is about characters Mack McAllister, who owns a relaxation app “worth” millions, Katya, a web journalist who is desperate to get article clicks, and Sabrina, wife of Katya’s boss who just wants to get her groove back. It’s also about tech dudes who let their egos (and their penises) destroy everything they’ve worked for. Buy here.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
Once upon a time, Cheryl Strayed wrote under the pen name “Sugar,” and she had a column on The Rumpus called “Dear Sugar.” In “Dear Sugar,” she answered the most existential, heartbreaking, painful questions real people emailed her. This is her compilation. Why would you want to read letters of advice? Because Strayed is pure magic with words and wisdom. Buy here.
Another Country by James Baldwin
Another Country is required reading, and not just because James Baldwin was one of the most talented writers there was. But because this book tells the tale of racial divide, messy love and sexuality, and a self-destructive jazz musician who seems doomed from the beginning. If you want a smart, complicated, compelling read, pick up a copy of Another Country. Buy here.
And while you’re at it, check out The Blend, our new, wonderful vertical that celebrates the mixed experience. Have a story you want to share? Pitch it to us! Email the firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Happy reading! xo