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Fools' Summer Reading List

by Fools Magazine

Catching up on your reading? Finally taking a breath in this summer sun? Got a long vacation and are looking for a beach read? This list of titles is collected by Fools Magazines for you. These titles span across genre, new and older releases. We hope you enjoy.


Music For Chameleons by Truman Capote is a wonderful collection of short stories. There's one about Marilyn Monroe, another about a mysterious bedridden man... I love that Capote is always present as a character in each story. - Bailey Gabrielle

Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom (1997). I loved this book because it’s a quick read and Bloom’s writing style made me invested in the plot and characters. I barely ever read, but I couldn’t put it down! - Gabby Estlund

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (2017). Conversations with Friends is a breathtaking novel that captures both the fleeting independence of being a college student and the stumbling uncertainty of being a fledgling adult. Rooney’s dialogue and characters are painfully sharp and the plot is complex in a way that reveals no discernible outcome. Reading this book is one of those rare out of body experiences that forces you to reevaluate not only yourself but those you have chosen to surround yourself with in order to better understand the very nature of what it is to live.
- Nicole Pagliari

Women Talking by Miriam Toews (2019). With a narrative that is highly relevant to current gender politics, Miriam Toews introduces the essence of humanity through a small group of Mennonite women. After many women in a remote Mennonite colony wake up day-after-day finding themselves sexually assaulted and beaten, they think that their God is punishing them with demons. In reality, they had been drugged by a group of men in the colony each night with tranquilizer, and they were the culprits for the assaults. This causes controversy among the colony, but eight women hold secret meetings to decide whether they should fight, leave, or forgive. Based on true events, Toews weaves a story about what it means to be a woman in a society dominated by men, as well as other topics, like education and religion. The novel’s prose and relevance make for an eye-opening and important novel to include in your “To-Read” list. - Grace Oeth

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (2018) rocked my life. It's about an 11-year-old boy who is a slave in Barbados in the early 19th century. He's chosen to be a servant for his "master's" brother, who is a naturalist and explorer. They go around the world and other things go down as well! - Elaine Irvine

Other Suggestions:

  • The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon (2018)

  • Spain by Caren Beilin (2018)

  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab (2013)


Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark (2019). This is a dual-memoir of Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, who are co-hosts of the immensely popular podcast, “My Favorite Murder.” These women are comedians based out of Los Angeles, and in each episode they discuss different murders and crimes that fascinate them. Because it is such a morbid subject, they use comedy to combat the terrible things that happen in this world. This book is a testament to that. Kilgariff and Hardstark, with their hilarious and witty prose, discuss their lives and how they got to where they are—through laughter and happiness, even in the darkest of times.

Other Suggestions:

  • The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang (2019)

  • The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy (2017)

  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (2018)

  • Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden (2019)

  • Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli (2017).

  • The Only Girl: My Life and Times on the Masthead of Rolling Stone by Robin Green (2018)


Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky (2011). A genre-bending collection of poetry capturing a republic’s townspeople in their daily life amidst war; the catch is, after a boy is shot in the streets, each townsperson is rendered deaf. The citizens of the republic then speak through hand gestures and signing. - Ellie Zupancic

Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship by Sarah Ruhl (2018) Although this book isn’t strictly poetry, it is about two poets who start off as teacher and pupil, who become friends. Facing a diagnosis of cancer, Max Ritvo strives to learn as much as he can about poetry, despite his obvious knowledge of the genre. He finds solace and comfort writing to his teacher, Sarah Ruhl, who catalogues their exchanges and invites the reader to witness and immerse themselves in this blossoming friendship. Ritvo’s poetry is interspersed throughout the book, as it was attached to the emails and letters sent to Ruhl. It’s poignant and heartbreaking to read his beautiful words as he faces the toughest hardship of his life. Poetry brought these two people together and becomes the stronghold of their relationship, which in and of itself, is poetic. - Grace Oeth

Other Suggestions:

  • Tantrum by Stella Corso (2017)

  • Soft Science by Franny Choi (2019)

  • The Tradition by Jericho Brown (2019)

For the Art Lover:

Cat is Art Spelled Wrong Edited by Caroline Casey, Chris Fischbach, and Sarah Shultz (2015). Pasted on the back cover is a screenshot of a tweet from Joyce Carol Oates, saying “I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by kitten videos.” This book was made as an argument against that. As a collection of essays, Cat is Art Spelled Wrong proposes whether or not cat videos can be considered art. What makes them so enjoyable? Why is everyone so fascinated by them? Various artists take these questions and re-examine how art fluxuates as our contemporary society continues to make content. And after reading this, you won’t feel guilty about watching hours of cat videos anymore. It’s intellectual! - Grace Oeth

Other Suggestions:

  • Ninth Street Women: Lees Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel (2018)

  • What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

For the Person Who Only Reads on the Beach:

The Pisces by Melissa Broder (2018) After Lucy hits rock bottom after breaking up with her boyfriend, she goes to house sit her sister’s stunning home in Venice Beach, California. She tries to take her mind off of things with the usual distractions convenient to the average millenial (Tinder dates, dissertations about Sappho, playing with a diabetic dog, etc.), but nothing works until she meets a mysterious--and attractive--swimmer late at night on the beach. This book is funny and well written, with a strange romance that can sweep anyone off their feet. It’s the perfect, absurd, escapist novel everyone needs during the summer. - Grace Oeth

Other Suggestions:

  • Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (2007)

  • One Day by David Nicholls (2008)

  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (2019)