You may be stuck turning pages in a packed subway car rather than lounging poolside, yet a good read offers a quick escape from reality-harsh air conditioning and looming deadlines. We asked InStyle’s staff to divulge what’s on their must-read list for this summer, and received some surprising results.
Many strayed from the standard fluffy beach reading, opting instead for topics varying from advice to cooking, such as Anthony Bourdain’s account of his food-scouring travels. Unsurprisingly, three staffers proposed the newly released The Vacationers, The New York Times bestseller about a family vacation to Mallorca wrought with dysfunction. No matter what you're in the mood for, we've got you covered.
1. Katie Donbavand, Associate Producer, InStyle.comI just read Crazy Rich Asians (barnesandnoble.com) and it was really fabulous—Jane Austen meets The Real Housewives of Singapore. Two other books that I just got finished with are Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dyinga(barnesandnoble.com),aa classic page turner jam-packed with intrigue and romance, and Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour (barnesandnoble.com), in which he globe-trots (hitting Russia, Cambodia, Japan, and France) looking for the perfect meal. It’s part travel book, part food lit and it's guaranteed to make you want to travel and eat everything.
2. Selene Milano, Senior Beauty Editor, InStyle.comI mostly choose beach reading for escape—but Cutting Teetha(barnesandnoble.com) takes place in my own backyard. Literally! The debut novel follows a group of uber-stereotypical Brooklyn parents through a weekend retreat at a ramshackle beach house. Sexual tension, crisis and end-of-the-world anxiety ensues in this story of "urban family dysfunction." I can relate just enough to never want to put it down.
3. Sharon Clott, Senior EditorThe Vacationers
You can't help but get involved in their business (barnesandnoble.com)!
4. Nika Vagner, Senior Social Media EditorThrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
I've long admired Arianna Huffington, she launched HuffPo. I first read a quote from her book (barnesandnoble.com), how you should "sleep your way to the top"?meaning "get enough sleep and you will be more productive, more effective, and more likely to enjoy your life"?and I thought that's the book for me. It talks about how to strive at work, but shows how it's important to lead a full meaningful life?a balanced life. Call it a self-help book for the digital age.
5. Mari Kasanuki, Associate Editor, InStyle.comI'm looking forward to reading The Arsonist by Sue Miller (barnesandnoble.com). A woman returns to small-town New Hampshire after spending 15 years in East Africa and mysterious fires start occurring. As house after house burns to the ground, the protagonist finds herself striking up an affair with the editor of the local newspaper.
Another novel I can't wait to dig into is Casebook by Mona Simpson (barnesandnoble.com). In an attempt to save his crumbling family, a young boy starts spying on his parents but his glimpses of the adult world end up unveiling more than he anticipated. (Author fun facts: Homer Simpson's mother was named after her and she is Steve Jobs's biological sister.)
6. Marianne Mychaskiw, Assistant Beauty Editor, InStyle.comIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
I’m late to the game since it came out a few years ago, but I’m finally reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)(barnesandnoble.com). I’m such a fan of Mindy’s and the book has me laughing out loud almost as often as a viewing of her show. Her personal anecdotes are so relatable, and the tone is so on-point. I read it in her voice, and it’s almost as if she’s one of your girlfriends casually having a conversation with you over a glass of wine, which—throw in a few bottles of nail polish for a DIY mani—would be my absolute dream.
7. Adrian Moreno, Art Director, InStyle.comHow I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
There's a certain sexiness that goes along well with the "nerd factor." It calls for good conversation when something so formulaic can bring a wittiness to such a topic as "solar drama." (barnesandnoble.com)
Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down
I love stories about new beginnings and the romanticizing that comes along with it. The story has a similar spins that mirror with my move to N.Y.C. The ups, downs, and the reality. It's always nice to connect with a character and have those "right?!" moments. (barnesandnoble.com)
Reporting at Wit's End
This book is next on my hit-list. It sparked my curiosity with its tease into the raw world of journalism. I love a good period piece and this seems it may just bring that along with a quirky BTS factor. But in all honesty, I just saw a cute guy on the train reading it which sparked the impulse buy. Guilty! (barnesandnoble.com)
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
I also plan on re-reading LAMB by Christopher Moore this Summer. Was a hilarious book. Except this time I'll pretend Susan Sarandon is narrating it. Would add a cheeky twist, no? (barnesandnoble.com)
8. Kim Do, Senior Project Manager, InStyle.comThe Goldfinch
I was a little intimidated by the heft of this book (barnesandnoble.com), but this unique story about love, loss, crime, and art history was worth the read!
9. Jennifer Davis, Assistant Editor, InStyle.comIf you loved Rainbow Rowell’s YA bestseller Eleanor amp Park like I did, then you’ll become immediately absorbed in her most recent adult fiction novel, Landline (barnesandnoble.com). In true Rowell style, she delivers a heart-wrenching love story about a busy working mom and wife who attempts to save her disintegrating marriage with the help of a magic time traveling phone. Trust us, it’s a lot less kitschy than you think!
10. Leah Abrahams, Site Producer, InStyle.comI kept reading that You Should Have Known (barnesandnoble.com) is being pegged as this summer's Gone Girl, which was all the incentive I needed to pick up a copy. Scandal, deceit, mystery—all the elements of a perfect beach read. I can't wait to dive in!
11. Judy Meepos, Editorial Assistant, InStyleI Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
Courtney Munn's debut novel (barnesandnoble.com) really delves deep into the intricacies of marriage and cheating, with humor and told with a real human emotion. Richard Haddon, a British artist, lives with his wife and daughter in Paris. When his mistress unceremoniously dumps him, Richard's sudden meltdown causes the loss of his family. Can he pull himself together and win his wife back, and even more telling, can he figure out the real meaning of love in the first place?