Whether it’s on the beach blanket or the porch swing—or, for those with little or no vacation time, the commuter train—summertime provides a kind of natural blank slate. Maybe it’s because all your favorite shows are in reruns and the summer movies leave you cold, but suddenly you feel you have time to embark upon all that reading you’ve been planning to do since Christmas. Accordingly, now is when all the magazines and newspapers come out with their lists of the summer’s best books. How could The Root not join them?
Ours is a bit different, though; we’re not limiting our list to the newest of the new, the brand-spanking blockbuster hard-covers published in the past two months that promise (or at least hope) to be best sellers. We’ve opened it up to books published in the last couple of years, including several new in paperback (the better to hold in one hand while fanning oneself with the other).
And we’re not focusing on best sellers, though some of these books might be (and others ought to be). Instead, these are some of the books we think will fill that summertime headspace with ideas and images to propel you through the months ahead. Some are as light as a June breeze, others as intense as a July thunderstorm, but we hope you’ll find among them a few you can throw into your weekend bag as you head to wherever your summer takes you.
The Untelling , Tayari Jones (336 pages, Grand Central Publishing, $19.99) Jones’ second novel showcases her talent for telling lyrical, well-observed stories of women facing difficult choices.