8 Great Summer Reads

8 Great Summer Reads

Poolside. On the beach. On a rooftop. In a hammock. Even on the subway. Whether you’re on vacation or on your commute, a great book can transport you into new worlds. With National Book Lovers Day on August 9th, we turned to the team at McNally Jackson Books to recommend some perfect summer reads. 

This mix of recent staff pics, old books and new, make ideal titles to explore during this final month of summer. 

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
The multiverse meets Mad Max: Fury Road in this perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy. With an extreme slow burn queer romance that is worth the wait, this story will make you wonder… are there multiple versions of yourself in the universe, bopping around, making trouble on another timeline? And if one of them snubbed you out and took your place… would anyone even notice? —recommended by Tiana 

Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz 
A book to make you miss L.A. if you’ve never been, miss quaaludes if you’ve gone straight-edge all your life, miss torrid love triangles if you’ve only ever had a crush. In these vignettes, Babitz’s legendary, whip-smart love for Southern California is enough to overtake Didion’s equally legendary skepticism of it, at least for a moment or two. —recommended by Jack 

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
This is a booze-filled and binge-worthy novel that needs a K-Drama adaptation ASAP. It’s a love story that involves no men, but of the powerful force of friendship amongst women and their endless encouragement to do better in modern day Seoul. The girls are gritty yet beautiful with varying degrees of pretty privilege and problems. I want to drink with them. —recommended by Saaya

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 
This book hits so different when reading it as an adult outside of a school setting. Forget everything you think you know about it and submerge yourself in the beauty of the language. A book of losing and finding love, family, and the ever-changing and resilient self. —recommended by Kat 

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier 
Smart and funny and weird and dark, this debut is so much fun. The narrator sucked me in immediately because she’s chaotic in the best way and tackles big issues like the meaning of family, how to find your place in the world, and whether pickles belong on pizza. The perfect weirdo beach read. —recommended by Kathryn 

Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad
I have never read anything quite like it. The first two-thirds follow Suleika through her diagnosis at age 22 of a rare, aggressive form of leukemia and subsequent treatment. The final third follows her on a cross-country road trip to meet face-to-face the people who absorbed her words as she documented her journey publicly and shared their hearts in return. Grief, depression, hope, longing, love, anger, compassion. Such a unique experience, and yet so much universal humanity. A page-turning, transformative read. —recommended by Genay 

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke 
Piranesi is the Beloved Child of the House, which is not a house at all but an endless maze of classical halls, flooded with fearsome ocean and filled with clouds. Besides Piranesi, the fish and the birds, there is only The Other. Half-mystery and half-fantasy, full of magic and suspense, Piranesi transcends both genres to become a moving meditation on timeless themes: What is ignorance? What is knowledge? What kind of knowledge is worth gaining, and at what cost? Piranesi is a loveable guide, his purity and innocence heart-rending — a model of what human goodness could be. —recommended by Maddie 

 The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. 
An innovative restructuring of the Bible through the lens of America’s history of enslavement with characters who leap off the page with colorful grace and dignity. Robert Jones, Jr. masterfully weaves a narrative that serves as a warning from the past, a prophecy for the future, and a testament to the present. His writing defies all Great American Novels that have come before, and in doing so, becomes one of the greatest I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. —recommended by Gage 


Swing by McNally Jackson at 4 Fulton St (between Front St & South St) to check out these picks and thousands of other books. And tag us on social—#TheSeaport—to let us know what you’re reading this National Book Lovers Day.