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Summer is rapidly coming to a close, but it FEELS LIKE IT JUST STARTED! Seriously, where did the time go? And what happened to all that reading you resolved to do?! Fortunately there are still a few weeks left for you to be a bookworm, so we went straight to the experts to find out which books you should read before the season’s over; below you’ll find tip-top recommendations from our favorite NYC bookstore staff (including the Strand, WORD and Housing Works), though you should ALSO feel free to peruse ALL the stores’ offerings in-person and/or online. And without further adieu (because seriously, there is no time to waste), HERE WE GO:


Claire, Children’s Department Staff says…

  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
    “If you liked Paper Towns, read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (the team behind “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”). Dash and Lily send each other on a city wide scavenger hunt, and as they write love letters to each other, the book becomes a love letter to New York City. Funny, romantic, adventurous, and it all starts right here in the Strand!”

Meaghan, Rare Book Room Staff says…

  • The Martian: A Novel, Andy Weir
    The Martian by Andy Weir is a novel with a witty approach to science and takes readers on a thrilling mission to Mars. Space is great this time of year!”

Cale, Main Floor Manager says…

  • Barbara the Slut and Other People, Lauren Holmes
    “Outstanding. One of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s hard to believe that a short story collection so sharp and emotionally keyed-in is a debut. The depth of emotion and subtle shifts in feelings portrayed in this book are completely mesmerizing. Lauren Holmes writes in spare, direct sentences with near minimalist dialogue and the results are nothing short of astonishing. Consider me a huge fan.”

Ben, Oracle at the Strand says…

  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    “We must each read this book.  This is an invitation to struggle. This is a candid meditation on the fabric of America’s racial circumstance where blatant divisions hold sway and prove themselves land mines in the paths of young black men in their inevitably imperiled journey to adulthood. I wish my daddy had had this to say to me.”

Myllicent, Second Floor Staff says…

  • The Princess and the Pony, Kate Beaton
    “One last hilarious picture book to squeeze in before summer’s over is Kate Beaton’s The Princess and the Pony. Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday: a big, strong horse, perfect for a warrior princess like herself. But instead, she gets a cute, tiny pony who is “too small,” “too round” and not such a great choice for a girl who wants to be a champion warrior. Follow along as Princess Pinecone learns to love her birthday gift. From “Hark! A Vagrant” fame, Beaton blows it out of the water with her children’s book debut, a definite must-read for all ages.”


Molly says…

  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin
    Geological magic, an unstable world, and prickly, complex characters make the first book in Jemisin’s new series an utter delight.

Katelyn says…

  • Shadowshaper, Daniel Jose Older
    Magic and troubled familial bonds mix in this thrilling and artsy YA novel.

Emily says…

  • Echo of the Boom, Maxwell Neely-Cohen
    Echo of the Boom follows four teenagers with very different backgrounds as they grapple with the state of their little worlds, the world at large, and all of the possible points of convergence. For fans of DFW and Don DeLillo and anyone who has a sinking suspicion that the apocalypse is upon us.

Ashanti says…

  • The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi
    Realistic apocalyptic science fiction that examines how the American West would fare sans water while the United States quickly falls into chaotic infighting, transforming into a loose association of privatized militia nations.

Zach says…

  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    As penetrating as passionate as cultural and social commentary can be. More important and enduring than a single summer.

Jaye says…

  • Talk, Linda Rosenkrantz
    Sun-blanched and oversexed, this all-dialogue “novel” of friends at the beach smacks of Andy Warhol’s transcription novel (also in qualifier quotes), A, only Talk is readable and involves fewer kilos of amphetamine.

Emma says…

  • Uprooted, Naomi Novik
    Old-school magic; a malicious, sentient forest; plenty of murder; and a bit of romance made me pick this book up and Novik’s storytelling prowess made me devour it. If you can’t afford to take a vacation, but you need an escape Uprooted can help.


Molly Quinn, Director of Public Programming for Housing Works Bookstore Café says…

  • The Invaders, Karolina Waclawiak
  • The Sunlight Night, Rebecca Dinerstein
  • Among the Ten Thousand Things, Julia Pierpont
  • The Daughters, Adrienne Celt
  • Local Girls, Caroline Zancan
  • Barbara the Slut, Lauren Holmes
  • Diamondhead, Cecily Wong

Nicholas Watson, VP of Bookstore Café and The Works Catering, Housing Works says…

  • Saint Mazie, Jamie Attenberg

Merril Speck, Assistant Manager of the Bookstore Café, Housing Works says…

  • Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offil
  • Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

Amy Wilson, Events Assistant, Housing Works Bookstore Café says…

  • Making Nice, Matt Sumell
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith (beautiful NYC classic)
  • Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier (summer makes me feel Gothic what can I say)
  • Lives of Girls and Women, Alice Munro (interlinked stories/chapters great for travel)

Heidi Tannenbaum, Manager of the Housing Works Bookstore Café says…

  • Spinster, Kate Bollick
  • White Girls, Hilton Als (his writing is so beautiful I think it qualifies for summer because it makes you feel dreamy, plus the essays are short enough to read on a train commute)
  • The Cost of Living: Early and Uncollected Stories, Mavis Gallant
  • The Collected Stories, Amy Hempel