Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Books to Add to Your Summer 2021 Reading List

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Senior Editor of Shelf Awareness Jenny Brown offers reading recommendations for the summer season, plus more suggestions from local bookstores.

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These long summer days provide us with the perfect opportunity to dive into a new book.

[The Anthropocene Reviewed] explores how our lives could shift in an instance … He’s looking at emotional chronology, which is a really interesting thing to think about.” — Jenny Brown, Editor of Shelf Awareness, on John Green’s book

Listen: Shelf Awareness Editor Jenny Brown’s summer reading recommendations.


Jenny Brown is the senior editor at Shelf Awareness, a newsletter about books and the book industry.

Brown’s first pick is “Remote Work Revolution” by Tsedal Neeley. The book explores the acceleration of remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the challenges associated with working from home. ”She talks a lot about how to be inclusive with members of your work team, how to make everyone feel heard, and also a lot of things that are applicable to conversations we’ve been having about diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Brown says. 

She also suggests “Three Simple Lines” by Natalie Goldberg. In it, Goldberg examines the history and importance of the haiku. ”[The book] is part memoir, part travel log, part meditation and writing guide, as she makes a pilgrimage to Japan to visit the sites of importance to the great haiku masters,” Brown says.

Brown also recommends that readers pick up John Green’s “The Anthropocene Reviewed.” The book is a collection of 44 essays that detail the advances of modern-day society and our evolving relationship with the world today. Brown says the book explores ”how our lives could shift in an instance … He’s looking at emotional chronology, which is a really interesting thing to think about.”

Pride picks:

— “The Chosen and the Beautiful” by Nghi Vo

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Cack-Handed by Gina Yashere

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Audiobook recommendations:

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks 

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell 

New in paperback:

Luster by Raven Leilani

Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford


Annamarie Sysling’s picks:

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner 

Ongoingness: The End of A Diary by Sarah Manguso 

Outlawed by Anna North

— “Infinite Country: A Novel” by Patricia Engel 

The Book Of Delights by Ross Gay

Related: Poet Ross Gay Discusses How The Pandemic Has Given “The Book Of Delights” New Meaning

Picks from local bookstores

Pages Bookshop Picks:

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

— ”Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley

Related: Angeline Boulley’s Debut Novel, “Firekeeper’s Daughter,” Is a Thriller With Heart

Source Booksellers Picks:

— General Nonfiction: Wilmington’s Lie by David Zucchino 

— Biography: The Dead are Arising by Les Payne 

— Poetry: Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

— History: Franchise by Marcia Chatelain

— Fiction: Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich 

Additional titles from Source:

An Atlas of Extinct Countries by Gideon Defoe  

Leap of Faith by Cameron Hamilton and Lauren Speed

Footnotes by Caseen Gaines 

27th Letter Books Picks:

— “Terminal Boredom” by Izumi Suzuki

— “Data Feminism” by Catherine D’ignazio and Lauren F. Klein

— “Arsenic and Adobo” by Mia P. Manansala

— ”Scorpionfish” by Natalie Bakopoulos

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