The end of summer arrives all too quickly, a million resolutions fallen by the wayside. Oh well, why not read a book before the onslaught of autumn responsibilities?


Chris Rock proclaims that D.L. Hughley’s I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up! is “the best book since The Hunger Games.” If that doesn’t make you want to pick it up, I don’t know what will.

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Washington satirist Christopher Buckley’s latest, They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?, features a hilarious sendup of a Chinese propaganda poster with a glorified pug dictator. The result, a lampooning of lobbyists, media manipulation and insatiable defense contractors, is his best work since Thank You For Smoking. –Mike Sebastian


Jill Lepore’s The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death, delves into America’s relationship with the Big Questions. Full of quirky and interesting tales, the author brings the content full circle to today’s political scene, motivated in part by concerns like abortion and death panels.

Depressing and illuminating, The Price of Inequality, by Joseph E. Stiglitz, takes our capitalist system to task. With insight and surprising restraint by this Nobel Prize-winning economist, the statistics regarding the divide between the haves and the have-nots are startling.

The fact that the U.S. is involved in the longest war in our history with Afghanistan is depressing and alarming. New York Times writer David E. Sanger’s Confront and Conceal provides insights into our President’s surprisingly aggressive foreign policy.


One of those unforgettable books, Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book focuses on the small, telling details that make up a life. Set on an island off the Gulf of Finland, the story follows a grandmother and her young granddaughter as they forge an understanding of each other and the cycles of life simultaneously.

Taking the cozy British Victorian age and turning it on its head, Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace, by Kate Summerscale, gets us right inside the mind of housewife, Isabella Walker by using her diary.  The unusual style and formidable detail make this chronicle of one woman's fall from grace juicy and fun to read.


With candor and unusual perspective, Emma Forrest tells her tale of depression and obsession in Your Voice in My Head. Stunned by the sudden death of her psychiatrist, the author plummets into further darkness but finds an unlikely savior in the pages of her journals.

For all you good girls out there, take heart, inspiration or just vicarious thrills in Jessica Dorfman Jones’s Klonopin Lunch. This tale of one woman’s attempts to shake up her life, learn guitar and live on the wild side is funny and vulnerable in a way that is eminently relatable.

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, Nick Flynn tells his tale of running into his long lost father in a homeless shelter. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City will break your heart while miraculously providing a chance at redemption.

Holding your gaze without blinking, Rachel Cusk tells it like it is in Aftermath. This gut-wrenching tale of the dissolution of a marriage will make you think twice before contemplating the institution for yourself.

Hurry up and read Twelve Years a Slave before the Brad Pitt/Michael Fassbender film comes out. Solomon Northup’s tale of a black man born free in 1841 only to be abducted and enslaved will superglue you to your seat.


Who would have imagined that the bestselling author of Wild, Cheryl Strayed, previously wrote for an advice column? Tiny Beautiful Things pulls together the best of these pieces and the imminently readable result is perfect for a day poolside.

Who doesn’t fantasize about coming up with the perfect moneymaking scheme? Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup will provide fuel to your fire with practical stories of real people choosing to live their lives without bosses.


It’s always great to begin a novel with a dramatic event, and Cathi Hanauer has a doozy for us. Gone begins with Eve Adams’ discovery that her husband drove the babysitter home and never came back, and the revelations keep on coming.

From Robert Goolrick, the author of the eerily compelling A Reliable Wife, comes Heading Out to Wonderful. Full of mystery, secrets and a slightly twisted sensibility, Charlie Beale’s journey is impossible to turn away from.

Written by the great-great-great-granddaughter of the great-great-great Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann is everything and nothing you would expect. Smart and serious, as well as insightful and delicious, this story of a family grappling with hidden truths and betrayals is riveting from beginning to end.

Just in time for a last day at the beach, Rebecca Harrington’s Penelope will keep you laughing while you work on your tan. This tale of a hapless freshman’s bumpy assimilation into college life recalls the neurosis of Bridget Jones – in a good way.


One of the few modern artists who pleases just about everyone without sacrificing the least bit of integrity, David Hockney shows off his strengths in David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. This gorgeous book of landscape paintings, paired with the artist’s own thoughts, will please art lovers and laypeople alike.

The infiltration of women into the higher echelons of the food patriarchy marches on with A Girl and Her Pig. Chef April Bloomfield, not afraid to get her hands dirty with her nose-to-tail principles, provides straightforward and practical recipes, as well as personal anecdotes, in this delightful book.

The “weird tale” is horror’s disfigured offspring lurking in the attic. Rather than dealing with ghosts and murders, the subgenre concerns itself with the disquieting effects of the psyche being plunged into an unreal nightmare world, where the normal rules of life don’t apply. (Think David Lynch.) The Weird is a monumental new anthology spanning the history of the genre, from pioneers like H.P. Lovecraft, through modern masters like Thomas Ligotti and Neil Gaiman. –Mike Sebastian