“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
This isn’t your usual summer reads list. There aren’t any breezy, romance-driven beach reads, heavily budgeted blockbuster thrillers, or hipsterish darlings. This list is a list of diverse, underrepresented, multicultural narratives from voices near and far to expose, refresh, broaden, delight and nurture our minds:
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
“Some of the characters in The Book of Unknown Americans were born in the United States, others came as adults or were brought here from Central and South America. Their stories speak to us, involve us in their lives. They dream, meet challenges, and dare to live on hope. Sometimes they cry, but they also laugh, dance, make love. In this beautiful book, Cristina Henríquez introduces us to their vibrant lives, to heartbreaking choices, to the tender beginnings of love, and to the humanity in every individual. Unforgettable.” —Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican and Conquistadora
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
“Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. An Untamed State is a novel of hope intermingled with fear, a book about possibilities mixed with horror and despair. It is written at a pace that will match your racing heart, and while you find yourself shocked, amazed, devastated, you also dare to hope for the best, for all involved.”—Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and The Dew Breaker
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
“According to the Bookseller, the novel tells the story of Tsukuru Tazaki, “whose life changed when his relationships with his high school friends were severed.” As a 36-year-old adult, Tsukuru decides “to reconnect with all of those friends to discover the reason behind their decision to reject him.” His four best friends are known as Mr. Red, Mr. Blue, Miss White and Miss Black; but Tsukuru is “colorless” because, among his closest friends, he is the only one without a kanji symbol for color in his name. the Guardian said.” via LA Times.
The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour
“Utterly original and compelling, Porochista Khakpour’s The Last Illusion weaves Iranian myth with very contemporary American neurosis to create a bittersweet poetry all its own. This ambitious, exciting literary adventure is at once grotesque, amusing, deeply sad—and wonderful, too.” —Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
Take This Man: A Memoir by Brando Skyhorse
A tale of family deceit, identity and self discovery.
Buck: A Memoir by M.K. Asante
“Remarkable . . . Asante’s prose is a fluid blend of vernacular swagger and tender poeticism. . . . [He] soaks up James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and Walt Whitman like thirsty ground in a heavy rain. Buck grew from that, and it’s a bumper crop.”—Salon
Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler
“Two never-before-published stories from the archives of one of science fiction’s all-time masters.” — Open Road Media
The Closer: My Story by Mariano Rivera and Wayne Coffey
“Even Babe Ruth as a slugger doesn’t have Rivera’s kind of consensual clout…. Rivera was known as perhaps baseball’s classiest act. He keeps up that reputation here…. Rivera emerges on these pages as a wordsmith…. It’s the kind of baseball odyssey that leaves readers with a sense of the Homerian that later extends to the stuff of clutch strikeouts, “Casey at the Bat”-style grandeur and fallen records.“—Colin Fleming, Los Angeles Times
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
“By turns tender, beautiful, and devastating, Island of A Thousand Mirrors is a deeply resonant tale of an unraveling Sri Lanka. Incredibly moving, complex, and with prose you may want to eat, this debut is a triumph.”—NoViolet Bulawayo, award-winning author of We Need New Names
Adultery by Paulo Coelho
Bored thirty-something woman with a perfect life ignites affair with her H.S. love.
The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle by Francisco Goldman
Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city.
Life by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-Filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success by Zhena Muzyka
The founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Company tells her extraordinary story of struggle, hope, and audacity, inspiring women to overcome setbacks—no matter how daunting—and pursue their dreams. By combining her knowledge of aromatherapy and her gypsy grandmother’s teachings, Zhena started selling custom tea blends from a cart on California street corners—and with a lot of ingenuity and grit, her business took off.
Enjoy the summer!!!