Travel is gently resuming now, and whether you’re planning on a big trek or just a summer staycation, we rounded up some new books that would make for some good summer reading!
Three O’Clock in the Morning by Gianrico Carofiglio, translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis
In this novel set in 48 hours in 1980s Marseilles, a recently divorced father and his teenage son head to see a doctor about the boy’s recently diagnosed epilepsy. The two truly connect for the first time as they explore the city. Sweet and a little sad, it has the magical and nostalgic feeling as you read that it’s a classic novel. Very cinematic, even though it’s filled with dialogue alongside taught silences.
Mona by Pola Oloixarac, translated from the Spanish by Adam Morris
The narrator of this novel is a Peruvian author based in L.A., who finds herself at a literary conference in Sweden surrounded by all the “bright young things” of international literature, but bored to tears as she makes hilarious, cutting observations about academia, writing, modern publishing, and awkward social interactions. A super quick read and blisteringly funny.
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
If it gets too hot this summer and you need help crying to cool your face down, then look no further! This memoir tackles the loss of the author’s mother, playing music, comfort food, Korean-American identity, and more. You’ll be absorbed and lose hours of time in this one!
My Friend Natalia by Laura Lindstedt, translated from the Finnish by David Hackston
The Finnish language does not have gender, so Finnish authors can have a lot of fun writing novels in which the gender of characters is ambiguous, and that is applied to incredible effect here. This sexual, psychological novel narrated by an unidentified therapist, tells the story of an interesting client of theirs, “Natalia” who needs to vent about her erotic experiences and starts to unsettle the therapist. Hot, sometimes funny, and always just a little unsettling, this is a great book for summer!
The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
For non-fiction lovers and stargazers, Prescod-Weinstein’s beautiful, mind-blowing book connects things like theoretical physics, skin melanin, settler colonialism, and a critique of racism and sexism in modern science. In part of it she travels to Mauna Kea to talk to Indigenous protectors of the sacred site, battling against the building of a telescope on the site.
Travels With Epicurus by Daniel Klein
This one is an older book, and so charming. A fizzy drink of a non-fiction book, fairly slim so a quick and delightful read. Klein travels to Hydra and tries to learn the local secrets for living old and happy.
Shop all the books here.
For the person who likes to talk about what they read, join our book clubs! We have two, each meeting every other month. First up is our Women in Translation Book Club, discussing books translated into English and written by women. The next installment meets June 6 at 4pm ET, and we will discuss Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes. For our Social Studies Book Club, we discuss non-fiction and next meeting will be July 11 at 10:30am ET, we’ll discuss Anthony Bourdain’s World Travel, which was finished up and co-written by his collaborator Laurie Woolever. Book clubs are on Zoom until we reopen (no official date yet, there, we’ll let everyone know when things are more certain!), so if you’re not on our mailing list, send a note and we’ll get the links to you! natasha at idlewildbooks.com.