What Books are ABA Staff Reading This Summer?
- By Emily Behnke
Bookselling This Week surveyed the staff of the American Booksellers Association to find out what books they’re reading this summer. Here are their answers (names in alphabetical order).
Lauren Anastasio, Membership and Database Assistant
What I’m reading: I’m traveling to France next week, so I just started You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac (Penguin Books), which is set in the South of France and seems like a fun read for vacation. This summer I also plan to re-read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, since another film version is going to be released this year.
Emily Behnke, Junior Writer/Researcher
What I’m reading: Currently, I’m making my way through Sarah Gailey’s Magic for Liars (Tor), which is a super fun take on the magical boarding school trope, and Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (Melville House), which is something I’m decidedly not good at. I’m also listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while I look for a new podcast to listen to. Next up on my list is Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under (Graywolf Press) and Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread (Riverhead).
Kate Brennan, Membership Assistant
What I’m reading: I attended the Indies Introduce session at BookExpo and after hearing the readings I couldn’t help picking up a copy of all of them. I am currently reading Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions). I’ve tried to read most of it outside on my patio and try to notice the aspects of nature Renkl focuses on. The next couple titles on my list are Homesick by Jennifer Croft (Unnamed Press) and The Travelers by Regina Porter (Hogarth).
Liz Button, Senior Writer/Researcher
What I’m reading: I just finished reading Dark Matter, the mind-bending, time-twisting sci-fi thriller by Blake Crouch, and am looking forward to reading his latest, Recursion, this summer (both published by Crown). I’m currently in the middle of The Safety of Objects (Penguin Books), A.M. Homes’ savage, subversive short story collection that was made into a 2001 movie starring Glenn Close and Dermot Mulroney. And, as 2020 approaches and the resistance fights on, I’m also working my way through Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister (Simon & Schuster) to fire up my own righteous feminist rage.
Stephany Choi, Education Content Coordinator
What I’m reading: Right now I’m reading A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos (Europa Editions), and next I’m planning on reading Slay by Brittney Morris (Simon Pulse) and Frankly in Love by David Yoon (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers) (and pretty much any other galley that I’ve picked up between BookExpo and Children’s Institute).
Dan Cullen, Senior Strategy Officer
What I’m reading: I’m currently finishing Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House (Harper), which is fantastic, and I’m planning on reading Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner).
Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, Senior Program Officer
What I’m reading: I’m currently reading With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen). Going into my vacation box, my many choices are the following:
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead), The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman Books), Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader Press), Disoriental by Négar Djavadi (Europa Editions), The Guest Book by Sarah Blake (Flatiron Books), Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Mulholland Books), A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum (Harper), Binti by Nnedi Okoarfor (Tor.com), Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane (Penguin Press), American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron Books), Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright), The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper), How Long ’Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemison (Orbit), Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Tears of the Trufflepig by Fernando Flores (Macmillan), and A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past by Lewis Hyde (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). For the rest of the summer I’ll be reading Indies Introduce submissions along with the panelists.
Phil Davies, IndieCommerce Director
What I’m reading: I’m currently reading Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up by Tom Phillips (Hanover Square Press) and How Cycling Can Save the World by Peter Walker (TarcherPerigee).
Robyn DesHotel, Chief Financial Officer
What I’m reading: I am currently reading The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House).
Linda Ford, Design & Production Manager
What I’m reading: I’m reading an ARC of Nora Roberts’ Under Currents (St. Martin’s Press).
Greg Galloway, Director of ABA Technology
What I’m reading: I’m reading Gulp by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton & Company). The subject, digestion and, more importantly, eating, occupies my thoughts at least three times a day and Mary Roach’s humorous approach turns a somewhat off-putting scientific exploration into a light-hearted summer read.
Dave Grogan: Director of ABFE, Advocacy & Public Policy
What I’m Reading: I’m currently reading Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Populism by Matt Stoller (Simon & Schuster), and I plan to read The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age by Tim Wu (Columbia Global Reports) this summer.
Sydney Jarrard, Content Director
What I’m reading: On my nightstand now is Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions) and up next is Dead Girls by Alice Bolin (William Morrow Paperbacks), because I’ve already read Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark (Forge) and I apparently can’t get enough.
Chanthee Keokhaw, IndieCommerce Specialist
What I’m reading: I am on the last pages of the seventh book in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass Series, Kingdom of Ash (Bloomsbury YA). It is a fantasy series. It has all the players of the genre that I love — princes, princesses, wyverns, and evil from other realms. They engage in an epic war to save their world, but through it all, there is cooperation of different types of people...a mingling of cultures and races. I devoured the books...love the series! Next, I want to read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books).
Alison Larkin, Book Data Assistant
What I’m reading: I’m currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (The Dial Press). It’s totally different from what I was expecting — a reflection on the German occupation of the island of Guernsey, in the English Channel, during WWII. I just finished Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (Knopf), “The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the one-time multibillion-dollar biotech start-up founded by Elizabeth Holmes.” It’s amazing and hard to believe this saga lasted for 10 years — loved it. Upcoming are There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf) — I started this, had to put it down to finish book club books, and it is back in the lineup — and Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions), an Indies Introduce debut, and highly recommended. It’s not a book I normally would choose, but I am trusting all the great word of mouth.
Scott Nafz, IndieCommerce Training Manager
What I’m reading: I’m currently reading The 7th Science Fiction Megapack (Wildside Press). Short stories are great for summer reading, since I’m often interrupted by other summer activities. I plan to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Simon & Schuster). I’ve read a lot of classics lately, and I keep meaning to pick this up.
Melissa Napolitano, Graphic Designer
What I’m reading: I just finished reading the psychological thriller Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow), an interesting cat-and-mouse story with plenty of twists that was suspenseful enough to keep me intrigued. There are a couple of books I would like to read this summer, probably on my days off while at the lake beach where my dad lives. The first would be Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine Books), a book I hear is hard to put down with a great story set on the 1970s. The other book I’d like to dig into is Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide (Forge) by My Favorite Murder comedy podcasters Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. I look forward to continuing to be inspired by their upstanding women power while also laughing my arse off.
Geetha Nathan, IndieCommerce Senior Manager
What I’m reading: I’m reading Yale Needs Women by Anne Gardiner Perkins (Sourcebooks). As a parent of a recent Yale graduate, this book immediately got my attention. It is well-researched and celebrates the accomplishments of the first group of women students at Yale. This book may not be appealing to those not connected with Yale, but I found it very interesting to find out how it all started and how things were different (to some extent, not totally) when my daughter was at Yale. Next, I’m planning to read Emmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido (Versify). Programming, language, and music! A great combination! The author is a software engineer and the book is written in short verses of poetry, which made it stand out from a typical book about STEM. Can’t wait to read this book!
Daniel O’Brien, Senior Membership Manager
What I’m reading: I just finished Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis (New Directions), a vignette-driven memoir about growing up poor in rural France, the nuanced relationship over a lifetime between a working-class father and his queer son, and a reckoning with the elitist policies of the French government that contextualize the why of it all. Lyrical, direct, and full of empathy, I actually read the whole thing (96 pages) in an evening during Ci7 in Pittsburgh (purchased at City of Asylum!). I’m also reading T Fleischmann’s Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through (Coffee House Press) and Jamie Mortara’s Good Morning America I Am Hungry and On Fire (YesYes Books). This summer, I’ll be reading Sarah Shotland’s Junkette (White Gorilla Press), Yanyi’s The Year of Blue Water (Yale University Press), and Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein: A Love Story (Grove Atlantic).
Jill Perlstein, Meetings and Planning Officer
What I’m reading: I’m reading Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Company) and Alaska by James A. Michener (Wings Books).
Ryan Quinn, IndieCommerce Specialist
What I’m reading: One book I just finished reading is Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Griffin). It was recommended to me by a few different people and I’m so glad it was — I thoroughly enjoyed it and am eagerly anticipating more great books from this author. I started reading/listening to (on Libro.fm) Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown and Company) and it’s quickly captured my attention. I’m looking forward to reading I Want You Back by Lorelei James (Berkley), which I actually packed to read while traveling to Ci7 but didn’t get a chance to start; she’s one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. I’m also really looking forward to reading Lala by Jacek Dehnel (Oneworld Publications). I picked it up from City of Asylum while in Pittsburgh... I’m sure it’s going to make me cry but I couldn’t resist buying it.
Pete Reynolds, Project Manager
What I’m reading: I’m currently reading, and really enjoying, Calypso by David Sedaris (Back Bay Books). Next up for me will be a couple of novels: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) and This Storm by James Ellroy (Knopf).
Liz Roberts, Member Relationship Manager
What I’m reading: I’m almost done devouring On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin). This summer I’m reading Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism by Omise’eke Tinsley (University of Texas Press).
Jessica Stauffer, Program and Development Coordinator
What I’m reading: I’m reading Shatter the Sky, an Indies Introduce YA debut by Porter Square bookseller Rebecca Kim Wells (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), and the adult Indies Introduce debut The Lightest Object in the Universe, a heartwarming apocalypse novel (you read that right) by Kimi Eisele (Algonquin). I’m planning to read The Casket of Time, written by Andri Snær Magnason and translated by Björg Arnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery (Restless Books), which I just picked up on my visit to City of Asylum Bookstore while in Pittsburgh for Ci7. It’s a middle grade novel of “time travel and environmental calamity.” I have some road trips to visit family coming up, and have the audiobooks of Melinda Gates’ The Moment of Lift (Flatiron Books) and Liz Acevedo’s With the Fire on High (HarperTeen) queued up in my Libro.fm app.
Oren Teicher, Chief Executive Officer
What I’m reading: I’m reading two titles with “American” in it: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (to be published by in Flatiron Books in January 2020) and American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley (Harper).
Matt Zoni, Director of Development and Publisher Relations
What I’m reading: I’m currently reading One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman (Simon & Schuster), which is about not just the Apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago this summer, but an overview of the entire Apollo program, including all the challenges, missteps, and setbacks that occurred along the way, which the author places in the broader social, political, and cultural contexts of the 1960s. It’s fascinating so far, and while I can’t wait to read more, I don’t want it to end. When I do finish it, though, the next book I’m planning to read is To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope by Jeanne Marie Laskas (Random House), which I picked up at City of Asylum while in Pittsburgh for Children’s Institute. Much more than just a collection of letters President Obama read each night that Americans wrote to him, the book weaves a narrative of the process his staff went through every day for eight years to select which letters the president would personally read and respond to, and their effect on his presidency.