A chic summer reading list for 2022

Trends and “-cores” may come and go, but reading a good book in the sun is truly a “forever” thing. If your ideal summer is long, full of short kings and shorter paperbacks, look no further. Between a slice-of-life story set in Japan, a re-edited trans punk tale that would shape a generation, and Ottessa Moshfegh’s final fictional bombshell — if nothing else, it’s clear that 2022 has been a year of great literature. In particular because it is also the one in which Britney Spears announced her memoirs.

We’ve been treated to a wave of unmistakably chic literature lately that seems to epitomize effortless elegance: confident, intelligent voices telling timeless stories in new and exciting ways. Keep reading if you want to keep reading: here are some of the most exciting books of the year to dive into.

1. Wanderers! by Eloghosa Osunde

A “novel within stories”, Eloghosa Osunde’s experimental debut is quite the next big thing we’ve come to expect. A sprawling narrative with many characters, its protagonists are bound by the fact that they exist on the fringes of Lagos society. Every wanderer is, as Eloghosa puts it, “a stranger, a stranger”: a driver for a politician with the power to control life and death; a lesbian couple who, when they get together, share their experiences with clandestine sex work; a flamboyant fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter. The story follows each of their lives, watching them converge as it reaches its conclusion. Raucous, inventive and disconcerting in its beauty, Osunde’s Wanderers! is a triumph of prose form, dancing around the emotions of the city it praises. Buy it here. Or alternatively, you can grab the eBook or audiobook.

nevada book cover

2. Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Nevada is the story of Maria Griffiths, a punk heroine and disaster queer struggling with a breakup, job loss and impending homelessness. Frustrated, she hijacks her ex-girlfriend’s car and drives west to Brooklyn, wreaking havoc in her wake and reflecting on gender’s social conditioning with plenty of personality, charm, and irreverence. “Eventually, you can’t help but realize that if gender is a construction, so is a traffic light, and if you ignore either, you get hit by cars. Who , too, are constructs,” Maria says in the book. Originally published in 2013 by the now-defunct independent Topside Press, this road trip novel of conscience is finally paid off as a seminal text in the canon. of trans literature: in addition to the reissue of the book in the United States with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the British publication with Picador will mark its first international release. The consensus: it’s a snap. Buy it here. Or alternatively, you can grab the eBook or audiobook.

either/or book cover

3. Either/Or by Elif Batuman

It’s the only novel that apparently proved impossible for Kaia Gerber (or rather, her book stylist) to get an advanced copy. Elif Batuman is back! In this follow up to 2017 The idiotElif’s comparative literature student protagonist, Selin, returns to her studies at Harvard to continue her monologue about life and her terrible boyfriend. Whether or is one of those books that fortunately works better in practice than in theory. While not the most engrossing read, it has a good cast of entertaining insights and observations: “Why did I always seem to be in the wrong place, listening to the wrong music?” Selin asks. It is an enigma worthy of Kierkegaard himself. Buy it here. Or alternatively, you can grab the eBook or audiobook.

lapvona book cover

4. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

The de facto it-girl of the season, Lapvone deserves all the hype it has received and more. Ottessa Moshfegh’s latest is a ruthless tragicomedy set in a medieval stronghold, in which the impoverished shepherd’s son sees his worldly destiny changed after a tragic incident. It is mainly a questioning of religious faith, in particular Christianity, presented as something full of greed, idiocy and abuse. This echoes in the chaotic and iconic choice of the novel’s foreword (“I feel stupid when I pray,” a lyric taken from Demi Lovato’s “Anyone”), and woven through the misfortunes of the Lapvonian people taken in a particularly unlucky year. Examining the worst excesses of human nature through twisted half-truths and painstakingly realized realism, Moshfegh makes his fascination with misery impossible to deflect. Buy it here. Or alternatively, you can grab the eBook or audiobook.

the pachinko parlor book cover

5. The Pachinko Lounge by Elisa Shua Dusapin

Pachinko Lounge follows a young woman named Claire as she goes through the motions of her life during a slow summer in Tokyo. She lives with her nonagenarian Korean grandparents who moved to Japan after fleeing the civil war, and spends her time planning a trip home for them – as well as playing Tetris and tutoring Mieko , a sweet and curious 12-year-old girl. Like the beginnings of Elisa, Winter in Sokcho, Aneesa Abbas Higgins is responsible for the English translation. Both books are pleasantly atmospheric; absorbing in their attention to detail and the beauty of the mundane. Prepare to be wowed by the lavish descriptions of donuts, extra-hydrating almond shampoo, and the “spicy, caramelized smell” of Korean dakkochi. Buy it here.

pure life book cover

6. The Pure Life of Eugene Marten

We only know pure lifeThe protagonist beaten by his jersey number, Nineteen. In it, he – a former NFL quarterback from “Middle America” – accepts the mental and physical trauma he has accumulated as well as his moderate, spiraling professional success as he loses his family. through divorce and his wealth at bad real estate. What’s left? A damaged mind prone to brain fog and blackouts. He searches for a miracle cure, and so this visceral and disorienting story takes us to the Mosquito Coast of Honduras, where further violence awaits. Billed as an “existential account with the rot in the heart of the West”, the novel is an unrelenting chronicle of the life promised to one man and its brutal and painful reality. A perfect beach read! Buy it here. Or alternatively, you can grab the eBook or audiobook.

7. Dandelions by Thea Lenarduzzi

It wouldn’t be a posh playlist without a Fitzcarraldo title. dandelions, the first book by Thea Lenarduzzi, is a more than worthy work of non-fiction. Mixing the crazy, mythical stories told by Thea’s grandmother, Dirce – about nocturnal demons, bloody curses and “Mussolini’s modern Icarus” – with the true stories of four generations of her own parents, she merges the family memories and social history in an examination of community relations, botany, architecture and ritual. The book won’t be available until September 7 — but isn’t the fanciest summer read the one that won’t arrive until fall anyway? Buy it here. Or alternatively, you can grab the eBook.

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