Brilliant reads for spectacular escapes—our picks for the best books of spring and summer
Now that spring has sprung and your getaway is booked, all that’s needed is an irresistible page-turner. From a wryly comic novel about our own insignificance to a bawdy, boisterous tale about a real-life remarkable woman, these reads will be impossible to put down.
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
(Grand Central Publishing)
This boisterous novel follows Mazie Phillips, the bawdy, big-hearted proprietress of a famed movie theater in downtown New York during the Great Depression. Nicknamed “Queen of the Bowery” for her efforts to help people, her diaries would later inspire American writer Joseph Mitchell to document her life in his 1992 book Up in the Old Hotel.
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
The Nobel laureate’s highly anticipated new work is a short, powerful story about the way childhood sufferings shape one’s life as an adult. It focuses on Bride, a successful beauty executive whose lie to her mother years earlier, told in order to gain her affection, has a continuing effect on her life and those she loves.
Academy Street by Mary Costello
(Faarrar, Straus and Giroux)
Costello’s debut novel is a deeply compelling tale about a seemingly unremarkable life—that of Tess Lohan, a nurse and single mother whose relocation from Ireland to America offers her a social freedom that otherwise would have been denied. Written in devastatingly spare prose, it lays bare the true joy and heartbreak of events.
The Odd Woman in the City by Vivian Gornick
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Gornick, a grande dame of personal narratives, explores her life in New York City in her latest memoir. Written as a narrative collage, it recounts her colorful exchanges with grocers, doormen, cross-dressers on the corner, and Leonard, her friend of 20 years—and how they have all helped form her fiercely independent self.
Muse by Jonathan Galassi
A critic, poet, Italian translator, and the publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Galassi has now added novelist to the list, with this sweet, satirical story about a publisher trying to woo a famous female poet away from his rival. When they finally meet in a Venetian palazzo, she reveals a secret that will forever change their lives.
The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera
(Harper Collins - Tina Andreadis)
It has been more than a decade since the literary master last wrote a novel. Both funny and profound, his new work is a 128-page commentary on contemporary culture, told through the daily lives of four friends in Paris. The French edition is already a bestseller across Europe. (Release date: June 23)