Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Peek Over Our Shoulders: What Rioters Are Reading on June 8, 2017

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Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

In this feature at Book Riot, we give you a glimpse of what we are reading this very moment.

Here is what the Rioters are reading today (as in literally today). This is what’s on their bedside table (or the floor, work bag, desk, whatevskis).  Gird your loins – this list will make your TBR list EXPLODE.

We’ve shown you ours, now show us yours; let us know what you’re reading (right this very moment) in the comment section below!

Claire Handscombe

Starman by María Perez Heredía: because I’ve been meaning to refresh my Spanish and I heard this one talked about on a podcast — I love a good Hollywood story. (ebook)

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin. Got the ARC at BookExpo along with a zillion others and it was the one that most called out to me. Congressional shenanigans are my jam, novel-wise. Great so far, I keep giggling! (Galley)


Liberty Hardy

Want by Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse, June 13): Space viruses! Class wars! Revenge! WOOHOO! (e-galley)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin, Feb 6, 2018): From the author of The Silver Sparrow! (e-galley)

The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy (W.W. Norton, June 6): The memoirs of a long haul trucker, who has been on the road since 1980. (e-galley)

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books, Oct. 3): Space! Ships! Intergalactic travel! WOOHOO! (e-galley)


Jamie Canaves

Lovemurder (Valerie Hart #2) by Saul Black (St. Martin’s Press, July 25): Dark and fictional serial killers are like catnip. I’d say don’t judge me but totally merited. (ARC)

The Lake (A Konrad Simonsen Thriller) by Lotte Hammer, Søren Hammer (Bloomsbury, July 4): All I needed to hear was Scandinavian procedural! Also, I’m fascinated by a brother sister writing team because honestly how do you not kill each other in the process? (egalley)

Atlanta Noir by Tayari Jones (editor) (Akashic Books, Aug 1): I will read anything, anything, that has Tayari Jones’ name on it. Seriously, if you haven’t read Silver Sparrow run to it! Oh, and I’m a fan of these noir collections and that’s a nice group of writers. (egalley)

Soul Cage (Detective Reiko Himekawa #2) by Tetsuya Honda (Minotaur Books, July 18): If it’s Japanese crime I will read it. (egalley)


Susan Rodarme

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan: I super loved the cover and it was available immediately from my library as an audiobook. (audiobook)


Casey Stepaniuk

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier: I’m doing a project for a class on the YA coming-of-age genre, and this is my exemplary book. (paperback)

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis: I’m always on the lookout for middle grade books about kids of color, and this one was available on Overdrive as an audiobook. (audiobook)

The First Bad Man by Miranda July: I adored her first book, a short story collection, and I bought this for myself with a birthday bookstore gift certificate. (paperback)


Monica Friedman

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill: My sister and brother basically told me I had to read this book; the prose is so incredible that it’s hard to put down once you get started. (paperback)

All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well: and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well by Tod Wodicka: Rescued from a friend’s Goodwill pile because the title is hilarious, which is also how the New Yorker quote on the cover describes its contents. (paperback)

White Tears by Hari Kunzru: I told a librarian to “surprise me.” (ARC)


Steph Auteri

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker: I once did a NJ wine tour for a regional publication, despite having no knowledge of wine and an unrefined palate. Still, I loved to drink it, and researching the piece was a lot of fun. So when I saw this piece of immersive journalism, I had to jump on it. So far, it’s an engaging read. (Paperback)

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell: I saw this one on some book list or another and thought it looked like a fun read. (Hardcover)


Tasha Brandstatter

A Trifle Dead by Livia Day: For a readalong. (ebook)


Ashley Holstrom

Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi: Holy moly. This is a gorgeous book about a life that’s bipolar on two levels: Iranian-American living in Ohio with bipolar disorder. Melody is smart with a dark sense of humor about her mental health. I’m devouring this one. (print)

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick: The perfect bite-sized audiobook for warm weather walks. (audio)


Molly Wetta

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: I’m totally in the mood for cute YA romance, and this one has had rave reviews from, well, everyone! Excited to but overwhelmed with cuteness. (library book)

The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Two Days Off  by Katrina Onstad: Apparently, working 65 hour work weeks is not healthy? It might not be a coincidence that my boss and I both have this currently checked out. As my partner is fond of saying, “work is my favorite” and I’m trying to get some perspective and motivation to leave work at work and life my life. Will report back on whether the advice of a former au pair who lived in France is helpful in gaining perspective.  (library book)  


Kate Scott

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne: Around summertime I always start hankering for a good mystery or thriller. This seems to fit the bill. (ARC)

Protestants by Alec Ryrie: A history of how protestantism shaped the modern Western world. I’m a sucker for any new take on the history of Christianity. (Hardcover)

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: The sheer number of heavyweight names lent to the audiobook made me curious enough to try it, even though it’s way out of my comfort zone. (Audiobook)

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung: I want to read this before the Netflix film comes out later this year. (Audiobook)


Deepali Agarwal

This House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab: I was quite excited about this story of forbidden love set in Lahore, Pakistan, because I’d been looking for more genre fiction set in South Asia, which is hard to find. The book follows the lives of two women, lonely and desperately searching for meaning, who meet and connect at a dargah (a religious shrine), and so far it’s been a great mix of contemporary and beautiful writing. (Hardcover)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman: I’ve been following the TV show for the last few weeks without having read the book, and the characters have drawn me in quite strongly. I’m listening to the story on audio now to get some more detailed context, since the TV show moves too fast for the uninitiated. (Audiobook)


Christina Vortia

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Long: I was fortunate enough to come across this article on my Twitter timeline. The book, an extended version of the article, includes a concise introduction of the history of blacks in Britain and articulates tense race relations with clarity and depth. I’m listening to the audiobook narrated by the author. This book is an important and notable read. (Audiobook)


Ashley Bowen-Murphy

We Do Not Fear Anarchy—We Invoke It: The First International and the Origins of the Anarchist Movement by Robert Graham. People say we mellow as we age. That hasn’t been the case for me. My politics are getting a lot more radical as I enter my mid-30s. Reading this to fill in some gaps in my knowledge of the radical past. (paperback)

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown: I had a *rough* May. Seriously, that month was just one giant sh*t sandwich of various emotions and so, like book nerds everywhere, I’ve turned to books to get myself sorted. I’m about halfway through Daring Greatly and am already feeling it change my approach to my friendships and romantic relationships.  (ebook)


Sarah Nicolas

Gated by Amy Christine Parker: I’ve had the hardcover of this since it released, but my reading of print books has slowed to snail’s pace, so I was super happy to see my library had added the audiobook! (library audiobook)

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: Graffiti Moon is one of the best crafted YA contemporaries I’ve ever read, so was super happy when the publisher offered me a review copy of this book. Cath Crowley is incredible at crafting real characters. (audiobook review copy)

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill: I met Erin at RT in May and thought she was very charming so I picked up this YA Fantasy. (audiobook)


Katie McLain

A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean: I’m not a romance reader, but her books have been recommended by so many feminist romance fans that I decided to give it a try.  It’s a lot of fun so far!  I’m still not sold on the alpha-male romance trope, but I love the heroine, and I’m really enjoying how skillfully Sarah MacLean crafts her story. (eBook)


Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena; translated by Tyran Grillo: I’m trying to read more Asian horror novels, and so far this one is intriguing.  I’m not very far into it, but it involves a maliciously sentient parasite hiding in the body of a dead woman.  LOTS of scientific details about anatomy and organ transplants make this story feel extremely realistic.  Not sure where it’s going to go from here, but I’m intrigued so far! (eBook)


Jessica Yang

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts: Bought the book to, full disclosure, support my co-worker. Also, scrappy teens on the run through a fantasy kingdom with Zutara vibes is what I’m all about. (hardcover)


Christine Ro

Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green. I’ve heard good things about this graphic confessional, about living with eating disorders. (paperback)


Kristen McQuinn

Sacraments of Fire by David R. George​ III. I’m way behind on my Star Trek novels and this is the next in my Trek TBR.

The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. All the things about how science is finally proving what the Romantics and others long before them already knew – nature is good for you. Rebecca recommended it on a podcast and in some of the backchannel chats and it just sounded good.


Amy Diegelman

Star Wars: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells: My first Star Wars book. I bought it ages ago on impulse, because Leia looks like a badass on the cover and it’s written by a woman. I recently moved and pulled this from a box the same day I made a new friend with a Rebel Alliance tattoo, so the time seemed right. (Paperback)


Jaime Herndon

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown: I’ve heard really great things about this one, about a mother gone missing and presumed dead – and then finding out who she really was. Really liking it so far. (ARC)

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong: Another one that I’ve heard so many good things about. I’m almost finished it and though I’m not quite sure what to think, the story is exquisite.(ARC)

Before Everything by Victoria Redel: With blurbs from Michael Cunningham and Dani Shapiro, I’m thinking it will be good – about a group of female friends through the years. It was sent to me by a publicist, and I’m so glad, because it’s right up my alley. (ARC)

Last Things by Marissa Moss: I’ve been getting into graphic novels and comics lately, and this is a gorgeous graphic memoir about her husband’s diagnosis and journey with ALS. I have a background in health and an interest in narrative medicine, and this is so well-done. (Paperback)


Sonja Palmer

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden: Guys, this book scratches the same kind of weird scifi itch as The Library at Mount Char, and I mean that in the best possible way. Its about the future in South Africa, and there are robots, and gods and lots of drugs that maybe make people into gods? It is so hard to explain, but definitely one of the most interesting and capitivating sci-fi books I’ve read this year.  (egalley)


Rebecca Hussey

The Idiot by Elif Batuman: I’ve thought that Elif Batuman is a writer to watch ever since the publication of her first book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, so of course I wanted to read her new novel. (egalley)


Tiffani Willis

I Hunt Killers, Game, and Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga: This week I’m reading Barry Lyga’s Jasper Hunt trilogy. These three young adult books have been sitting in my TBR pile for a couple years now. Since one of my personal reading challenges for 2017 is to read a YA series I thought it about time to pick this up. The story: Jasper is the son of Billy Hunt, a notorious serial killer with 123 confirmed victims (124 if Jasper is counting). When a mutilated body shows up in his small town, Jasper is sure there will be more. He inserts himself into the police investigation, wanting to prove to others but especially to himself that he is not like his father. These will be the second, third, and fourth books I’ve read by Barry Lyga. This author does not shy away from difficult topics. The last book I read by him was Boy Toy, a book about a boy who is molested by his middle school teacher. (paperbacks)


Priya Sridhar

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park: Silkworms do seem to avoid appreciation. Without silkworms, we wouldn’t have silk, or satin as an artificial alternative. In this story, Julia and her friend Patrick decide to try raising silkworms for the state fair. (Paperback)


Jessica Pryde

To Sir, With Love by ER Braithwaite: This is one of my choices for a classic written by a POC (and I love the Sidney Poitier movie) but so far it’s going…slowly. Here’s hoping it picks up. (ebook)

Always by Sarah Jio: Someone on the Dewey’s FB page was raving about it so I picked it up. Then I got distracted by other things. But it’s solid so far. (hardcover)

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay: I have been reading this for several weeks, because I just can’t take a lot of it at a time. It’s so so good, but hard on the soul. (eARC)


Kate Krug

The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker: After the suicide of her father, Ari Appleton goes to live with her aunts, finally finding a refuge in her tumultuous life. The respite is short-lived, however, and she is sent back to live with her troubled mother and five sisters. For the next decade, Ari doesn’t catch a break–losing practically everyone she cares about, save for her partner in crime, an imaginary seahorse named Jasper. I’m already crying. (Paperback)

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield: This was pitched to me as, “uncomfortable, shocking, and raw” aka my bread and butter. A mixed-race child being raised in an all-white family, June becomes a victim of mental and physical abuse, and the world around her fails to believe her story.  (eARC)


Hannah Engler

The Trespasser by Tana French: I just read this whole book in one day, and while I didn’t love it nearly as much as The Secret Place, I really liked it – I repeat, I read it all in one sitting. French manages to construct really satisfying mysteries that manage never to stray into corny, salacious, or predictable territory.

Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowry: There seems to be a theme here. This is a true crime book that was recommended by my favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder. It speculates about a grisly quadruple murder that took place in a frozen yogurt store in Austin, Texas – but don’t read this if you’re unsatisfied with cold cases or loose ends. Even an armchair detective like me (I truly believe I alone have solved the murder of JonBenet Ramsey) can easily tire of too many theories and too few answers.


Sophia Khan

Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey: Girl in the Dark is a memoir of one woman’s journey as she suddenly develops a sensitivity to both natural and artificial light, forcing her to stay in a completely blacked out room for months at a time. It is both devastating and beautiful – a true commentary on human resilience. (Paperback)


Tracy Shapley

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: I read Interpreter of Maladies years ago when I was reading all the Fiction Pulitzers and I loved it. I have no idea how I let this book sit on my TBR so long but holy shit is it amazing.

No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal: I didn’t purposely read these two books together but it’s been an interesting experience. They both deal with similar themes (the experiences of immigrants moving from India to the U.S. and the experiences of their children growing up in the U.S.) but are otherwise written very differently and from different perspectives. As I’m switching back and forth from one to the other, I’m wishing I could read a conversation between the characters in these books. I highly recommend both.


Karina Glaser

Katana at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee (Random House Books for Young Readers, July 4: Both of my daughters snatched this book from my hands when I got it in the mail, and they  devoured it in one day. They both declared it “great” and “exciting”!  (ARC)

Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan: I just started this book, but already love it. Can’t wait to get wrapped up in this YA story set during Hurricane Katrina. (Hardcover)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: I picked this up off the library shelves and can’t put it down. Such beautiful, intense writing. (Library Hardcover)


Margaret Kingsbury

The Changeling Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau, June 13th): It’s a novel based on changeling folklore, set in modern times, so of course I’m reading it! And it features my favorite Maurice Sendak children’s book — Outside Over There. (egalley)

The Wood Wife by Terri Windling: I’m an avid reader of Terri Windling’s blog, Myth and Moor, and this is her only adult novel. This year I’m trying to read a new release while I read one that’s been on my shelf for a while, so this is my pick for a shelf book. So far it’s great, with animal transformations and frustrated artists. (paperback)


Peter Damien

Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett: While doing a big re-read of all the Pratchett books I owned, I realized that I didn’t own one of the Vimes books. Since those are my favorite, I went and got it. It’s not my favorite of his in general, or the Vimes ones, but it’s really solid and I’m enjoying it. (hardcover)

Paranoid: Exploring Suspicion From the Dubious To The Delusional by David J. Laporte: Given my interests, this was a gimme for me, but now as I’m finishing it up, it’s been kind of a bummer. The book is divided into a countless number of subsections — as if he’s trying to fit in every possible facet of paranoia — and the result is that we never stop to explore the topics, or link them together, or even get into the why of it all. It felt like a book-length summary (albeit a very well-written one). (paperback)


Gina Nicoll

Chemistry by Weike Wang: As a fellow woman in science, I had to pick this novel up after hearing about it on All the Books. (Hardcover)

Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner: Understanding suicide is a big interest for me personally and professionally, so I started this on the recommendation of a social worker who is a suicide prevention expert. It’s heartbreakingly educational. (Paperback)

The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams: I’ve been on a big kick of reading doctor-writers like Oliver Sacks, Atul Gawande, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, and I thought it was high time to check out a classic of the genre. (Paperback)


Connie Pan

The Best American Short Stories 2016 edited by Junot Díaz and Heidi Pitlor: I like to check-in with at least one of the short story anthologies annually. Because the guy who wrote The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao—a favorite of mine—edited this, it became an instant must-read. (Hardcover)

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker: I’ll never be able to remember where I first heard of this collection and wanted it immediately since it’s everywhere, all of the time, getting so much good press. (Paperback)


Derek Attig

The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard: A novel about a black family with superpowers, inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Talented Tenth”? Yes, please. (ARC)

Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith: I read Smith’s “Wade in the Water” in The New Yorker recently, and fell in love with her voice. (ebook)


Ines Bellina

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin: I’m still on a Baldwin kick after seeing the documentary, I Am Not Your Negro. I’ve become obsessed with his work, especially his insights on how political oppression is weaved into a person’s psyche. (Paperback)


Elizabeth Allen

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore: Scored a signed copy of this at BEA this weekend and couldn’t finish my current read quick enough so I could get to this one. It makes it even more interesting that some of these women worked at a clock factory miles from my home. (Hardcover)

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating by Alan Alda: As a lifelong M*A*S*H fan who has read all of Alda’s books to-date, it was obvious I’d be scooping this one up as quickly as possible. And who doesn’t need to learn more about communication… from Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce? (Audiobook)