What We're Reading

What Our Editors Are Reading Right Now

Need a good book for lounging by the pool? We've got you covered.

By The Editors August 11, 2021

"Alison Lurie died last December, but I’d never picked up any of her books until recently. Her obituary in The New York Times described a writer whose 'mordant novels punctured pretension, deflated dogma and illuminated the staggering talent of smart people for self-deception.' Who wouldn’t want to read about that? I’ve devoured two of her novels—the Pulitzer Prize-winning Foreign Affairs and The War Between the Tates. They’re easy reads with a lot of depth and humor. She wrote 10 novels, so I have eight more to look forward to." —Susan Burns, editor-in-chief

“Friends have recently introduced me, belatedly, to the work of James McBride. I started with his 2013 National Book Award winner, The Good Lord Bird, a somewhat fictionalized retelling of the last few years in the life of abolitionist John Brown told through the eyes of a young slave. Then I went to his 1995 memoir, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. Both are amazing. McBride is a musician and composer as well as a writer, and his words flow as easily and beautifully as I imagine his music does.” —Kay Kipling, executive editor

"In Octavia E. Butler's novel Kindred, a Black woman living in California in 1976 is transported back in time to antebellum Maryland, where she must care for a white slave owner who turns out to be one of her ancestors. It's a provocative, unsettling and morally complex story." —Cooper Levey-Baker, senior editor/food editor
"Taylor Jenkins Reid's books are the ultimate beach reads—perfectly paced, with well-developed characters who feel like people you might actually know in real life. I flew through Reid's last one, Daisy Jones and the Six, which is written as the oral history of a 1970s rock band, and was excited to get my hands on her latest, Malibu Rising, set in the '80s in Southern California. It centers on four siblings, the famous children of the Frank Sinatra-esque rockstar Mick Riva, who are getting ready for their annual celebrity-filled, end-of-summer rager, and Reid intersperses flashbacks to explain how each of them got to where they are that night. Is there tons of '80s nostalgia? Yes, absolutely. Is the whole thing a bit cheesy, especially at the end? Definitely. Is it an excellent escape from everything that's going on in the world? One hundred percent. You'll close the cover feeling like you've been kissed by Malibu's salt and sun. What more can you ask for in a summer novel?" —Megan McDonald, digital editor
"Most people these days may know Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale thanks to Hulu, but it was required reading when I was in high school. In re-reading it many years later, the dystopian take on a future where women are stripped of their human hood remains relevant. Women’s bodies are applied to a strict code of conduct with an agenda to reproduce, and the main character’s flashbacks of her former life—before society succumbs to the new rule of the “Republic of Gilead—are poetic takes on everyday life. The lines between body autonomy, gender and power roles make this story a timeless tale that will apply to generations to come. Oddly uplifting in this dark account are Atwood’s open-ended scenes that allow the reader room to add a personal take and feel a deeper connection to the story." —Kim Doleatto, associate editor
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