After a winter that lasted far too long, June holds the promise that the blue skies, sunshine, and higher temperatures are here to stay. Not only does it bring nice weather, but the sixth month on the calendar also offers ten books to kick off your summer. Famous directors, debut novels, tales of working in the New York City publishing industry in the 1990s, and other great titles make up our list of June releases that you can read while kicking back on a hammock, sitting on the beach, or lounging in the park. Whatever you do, just try to read outside as much as possible.
The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henríquez (June 3rd)
Of all the great works of immigrant fiction coming out these days, few books tell us as much about America as the ones told from the point of view of people who came here from south of our border. Cristina Henríquez’s novel about the Rivera family, who move from Mexico to Delaware, shows even the most jaded natives of the United States that this is still a country people move to because they have dreams of living a better life.
Carsick, John Waters Hitchhikes Across America, John Waters (June 3rd)
John Waters hitchhiked from the East Coast to the West Coast and wrote a book about it. How could you not want to read that?
Take This Man, Brando Skyhorse (June 3rd)
One of those memoirs that you truly have to read to understand how unique and powerful it is, Brando Skyhorse’s story of growing up in the prominently Mexican-American neighborhood of Echo Park, California in the 1970s, the men that pass in and out of his life, and the one whose story he doesn’t really know, is unforgettable.
My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff (June 3rd)
A good story often needs a title that lures you in. Joanna Rakoff’s memoir about working in the literary world in the days before Y2K does a fine job of that, then delivers a story about growing up and getting better in a rapidly changing industry and world.
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, Courtney Maum (June 10th)
So many novels come out on a yearly (monthly? weekly?) basis that use failed or failing marriages and their aftermaths to drive their plot. For her debut novel, Courtney Maum tries something refreshing by investigating whether formerly married characters can fall back in love after so many lies and deceptions. Set in Paris and London, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is precisely the type of book you should be reading this summer.
Local The New Face of Food and Farming in America, Douglas Gayeton (June 10th)
There have been so many articles and books written about the new trends in American food that look to locally produced foods that it’s become a cliché. Douglas Gayeton, thankfully, gives us something more. A book that is as educational for the uninitiated as it is informative and interesting for those in the know, Local breaks down exactly what you need to know about the changing landscape of American food.
Adam, Ariel Schrag (June 10th)
Ariel Schrag’s story about a teenager who goes to spend the summer in New York with his sister is unlike any coming-of-age story you’ll read anytime soon. Funny and tender, we’re introduced to Adam, who unexpectedly finds himself going out to lesbian bars with his hostess and giving people the impression that he is a trans person, which eventually lands Adam in a peculiar situation. Anybody familiar with Schrag’s comics won’t be disappointed with her work as a novelist; if you haven’t read her other work, let Adam be your introduction and read everything else you can find of hers from there.
Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God and Real Estate in a Small Town, Sarah Payne Stuart (June 12th)
A sweet, sad, and often funny memoir that proves that you can go back home, only to turn around and eventually leave it again.
The Fever, Megan Abbott (June 17th)
It’s always a great month when there’s a new Megan Abbott book out. It’s especially great when it’s a thrilling novel like The Fever, which is full of drama, suburban lies coming to the surface, and enough intrigue to start a buzz that this is 2014’s Gone Girl.
Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers, Mike Sacks (June 24th)
Remember that thing we said about comedic literature? Mike Sacks backs up that claim with this fascinating look into the ways stand-up comedians, directors, and even short stories authors write funny. Interviews with Mel Brooks, George Saunders, Marc Maron, Amy Poehler, and others make this book an absolute must, not just for people who want to be professionally funny, but also anyone who wants to better understand how to find the humor in their own writing.