best-summer-books

Summer book lists are often filled with mindless page-turners you can toss haphazardly in your beach bag. Why? Beach reads don’t have to be easy and/or breezy; they just have to be good. If you’re looking for some of the best books to read this summer, and you don’t feel like giving your brain three months off, consider one of these. Each of these new books gets our stamp of approval for the coming months. Here are 8 Good Books to Read This Summer:


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But What If We’re Wrong?

Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is a pop culture essayist who tackles only the toughest questions. You know, things like: Why has no one on The Office addressed the fact that someone has been filming them for years? and Are we undervaluing breakfast cereal? His latest work, But What If We’re Wrong?, imagines what people will say in the future about the world we live in today. As always, it will open your mind on a million topics you never once thought your mind needed opening on. $16



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The Girls

Emma Cline

When a debut novel nets the author a cool $2 million, you better believe there’s something special about that book. Such is the case with The Girls, the first novel from Emma Cline. Compared to The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Cline’s novel centers on a group of girls and a soon-to-be infamous cult. Despite being set in the ’60s, the novel feels incredibly fresh and new. Prepare for something amazing. $17



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Here I Am

Jonathan Safran Foer

What’s sure to be one of the most buzzed about books of the year arrives just in time for your end of summer getaway. Here I Am, the first novel from Jonathan Safran Foer in over a decade, is being championed as his finest yet. That’s high praise for the former wunderkind who once made The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list and whose previous novels went on to become major motion pictures. Here I Am takes place in present-day Washington D.C. and follows a family in the midst of a crisis that challenges who they are and where they belong. As always, it’s incredibly inventive and emotionally powerful. $22



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Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Sebastian Junger

Anyone familiar with Sebastian Junger’s work knows that Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging will be the polar opposite of an easy beach read. But that’s okay. Why? Because everything he has ever penned is incredible. The author of War and the man behind Restrepo once again turns his attention to the men and women of our armed forces, this time concentrating on what life is like when they return after war. Like we said, it’s not an easy beach reach, but it is important and incredibly well done. $14



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32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line

Eric Ripert

We would not recommend a cookbook as a beach read. Luckily, despite the fact that 32 Yolks is written by Le Bernardin’s own Eric Ripert, the book isn’t one. 32 Yolks is about a life revolving around food, and it comes from one of the most respected chefs of our time. It’s a book about passion, following a calling, and eating fucking awesome food. If you’ve only known Ripert as Anthony Bourdain’s buddy, you need to read this book. Then save up and go eat at Le Bernardin. $19



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Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi

A book that will be on most year-end lists, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is one of this year’s must-read novels. A story about two half-sisters from Ghana who get separated when one is sold off to become a slave, the tale splits into two narratives that take readers from British colonization to jazz clubs and dope houses in twentieth-century Harlem. It’s sprawling, devastating, and deserving of all its praise. $19



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Before the Fall

Noah Hawley

This is the closest you’ll find to a typical “beach read” on this list. What starts with a plane crash evolves into a tale about the people who were aboard the private plane that went down. Was there more to the plane crash than just mechanical failure? This year’s best thriller comes from Noah Hawley, the man behind Fargo the TV show, and we can’t recommend it enough. $16



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The Hatred of Poetry

Ben Lerner

We’re going to go out on limb and guess you dislike poetry. It’s cool; we’re right there with you. What we don’t dislike is Ben Lerner and his odd, conceptual work. Both Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04 were brilliantly original and brilliantly written. In his latest work, an essay entitled The Hatred of Poetry, the author/poet tackles the love/hate (mostly hate) relationship people have with poetry. Okay, it’s not for everyone. But if you’re a fan of Lerner, or just want to expand your mind this summer, it’s worth checking out. $9

Urban19 (1)

 You can’t have a fall evening without a fire. And you can’t have a fire without a Cowboy Cauldron. They’re built from solid plate steel, meaning they’ll last a lifetime or two and they come in four different sizes with elevated basins that can be adjusted to any height. We’re going with The Urbaan Cowboy® because it’s perfect for entertaining at home.  With a 30″ diameter basin, it is more than large enough to have a nice fire, but still small enough to pack into a pickup truck and take it with you.  Can you imagine the envy when we bust this puppy out at a tailgate or the beach? We haven’t seen a more handsome fire. You?  Best of all, Cool Material readers get an exclusive deal.