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    15 must-read books coming summer 2023 (and beyond)
    • June 27, 2023

    Summer is about more than beach reads.

    Don’t get us wrong — there’s nothing wrong with taking something light and escapist to your favorite oceanside spot, but it’s also perfectly fine to retreat to the darkest, most air-conditioned room you can find with a book, a glass of water (or whatever), and try to forget that triple digits are on the way.

    Related: 17 must-read summer romance novels

    And you have a lot to choose from this summer. Whether you prefer literary fiction that will make you think, thrillers that will have you on edge, or nonfiction deep-dives into fascinating subjects, we’ve got you covered. 

    Here are 15 of the most exciting titles to look forward to this summer.

    “The Librarianist”

    Author: Patrick deWitt

    What It’s About: The latest novel from the beloved Canadian American author (“The Sisters Brothers,” “French Exit”) follows Bob Comet, a retired librarian in Portland, Oregon, who begins volunteering at a senior center — and comes to terms with his own complicated past.

    Publication Date: July 4


    Author: Daniel Hornsby

    What It’s About: In the new satirical horror novel from the “Via Negativa” author, the owner of a punk-rock label is forced by his billionaire dad to get a real job. He does, at a biotech outfit that seeks to reinvent medicine, but he soon discovers dark (very dark) secrets inside the company’s sprawling campus.

    Publication Date: July 11

    “When Crack Was King: A People’s History of a Misunderstood Era”

    Author: Donovan X. Ramsey

    What It’s About: L.A. journalist Ramsey revisits one of the most painful times in modern American history: the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, which devastated the lives of countless people. He argues the communities affected by the drug, and a racist policing and prison system, deserve resources to help them rebuild.

    Publication Date: July 11

    Related: 12 must-read mysteries for summer and beyond

    “Strip Tees: ​​A Memoir of Millennial Los Angeles”

    Author: Kate Flannery

    What It’s About: Flannery moved from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium to take a job at a new clothing company called American Apparel, which soon became a staple of hipsters nationwide. Her memoir tells the story of her realization that there was something not right lingering at the heart of the hip, sex-positive company.

    Publication Date: July 18

    “Onlookers: Stories”

    Author: Ann Beattie

    What It’s About: A new book from Beattie (“Love Always,” “Another You”) is always a reason to celebrate. Her latest one is a collection of short stories focusing on people in Charlottesville, Virginia, after the Unite the Right rally and in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Publication Date: July 18

    “Family Lore”

    Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

    What It’s About: Acevedo, the nation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate, is the highly decorated author of young adult novels including “The Poet X” and “Clap When You Land.” She makes her adult fiction debut this summer with a novel about a Dominican American woman who can predict the date people will die – and who summons her family and friends to a “living wake.”

    Publication Date: Aug. 1

    “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store”

    Author: James McBride

    What It’s About: McBride stunned readers with his novels including the National Book Award-winning “The Good Lord Bird” and the Gotham Book Prize-winning “Deacon King Kong.” His latest follows the residents of Chicken Hill, a tight-knit African American and Jewish neighborhood in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

    Publication Date: Aug. 8

    “Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong’s Rendezvous with American History”

    Author: Yunte Huang

    What It’s About: L.A. native Wong was the world’s first Chinese American movie star, celebrated for her performances in “The Thief of Bagdad” and “Piccadilly.” This biography, written by UC Santa Barbara English professor Huang, follows her from Hollywood to Berlin to Shanghai — and then to Santa Monica, where she died in 1961 at the age of 56.

    Publication Date: Aug. 22

    “The Deadline: Essays”

    Author: Jill Lepore

    What It’s About: New Yorker staff writer and Harvard professor Lepore has written books on subjects including King Philip’s War, Wonder Woman, and the data-mining Simulmatics Corporation. Her latest collects essays touching on everything from lockdowns to Bratz dolls (remember those?).

    Publication Date: Aug. 29

    “Terrace Story”

    Author: Hilary Leichter

    What It’s About: Brooklyn author Leichter’s debut novel, “Temporary,” was a hit with critics and readers. Her sophomore effort is based on a short story she published in Harper’s magazine; it follows a family who discovers a secret terrace in their claustrophobic apartment, which only appears when a friend comes to visit.

    Publication Date: Aug. 29

    “Happiness Falls”

    Author: Angie Kim

    What It’s About: Kim won an Edgar Award for her 2019 mystery novel “Miracle Creek,” which earned the author comparisons to authors including Celeste Ng and Liane Moriarty. Her new book tells the story of a Virginia family whose lives are thrown into disarray when their patriarch disappears without a trace.

    Publication Date: Aug. 29

    “The Fraud”

    Author: Zadie Smith

    What It’s About: The British author of “White Teeth” and “On Beauty” returns with her first novel in seven years. It’s inspired by the Tichborne case, a trial that captured the imagination of the U.K. in the mid-19th century, in which an Australian man claimed that he was the rightful heir to a British baronetcy.

    Publication Date: Sept. 5

    “The Vaster Wilds”

    Author: Lauren Groff

    What It’s About: One of America’s most celebrated novelists, Groff has a lot of fans — including former President Barack Obama, who called the author’s “Fates and Furies” his favorite book of 2015. Her latest novel follows a young servant girl who escapes her captivity and is forced to fend for herself in the wilderness.

    Publication Date: Sept. 12

    “The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts”

    Author: Loren Grush

    What It’s About: Bloomberg News reporter Grush tells the true story of the six women who were selected by NASA to be astronauts, including Sally Ride, who became the first American woman to go to space, and Judith Resnik, who was killed in the 1986 Challenger disaster.

    Publication Date: Sept. 12

    “American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15”

    Authors: Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson

    What It’s About: The two Wall Street Journal reporters team up on a book that explores the history of the rifle, which was invented in a Los Angeles garage by machinist Eugene Stoner – whose children said in 2016 he’d intended it for the military, not civilian, use. The book also asks why Americans are so obsessed with the gun, which has been used in mass shootings in the U.S. including the San Bernardino 2015 mass shooting and the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, which left 58 dead and hundreds injured.

    Publication Date: Sept. 26

    Related links

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    ​ Orange County Register