Published on August 1, 2019

There might only be a month and change left of summer (sorry!), but there are still plenty of beach days, impromptu vacations, and even just hours spent savoring your AC to come. And there’s no better companion for each of these activities than a good book. Luckily, we have plenty of personal recommendations.

We’ve already rounded up the most exciting new releases of the summer, but there’s no such thing as too many options. Here, Team Domino shares the best books that we’ve read so far this summer. No matter what you’re craving—a cerebral thinkpiece or a juicy family drama—you’re sure to find it here.

Umami by Laia Jufresa

“For my past three vacations, I’ve followed a self-imposed rule: At least one of my vacation reads should be set in the place I’m visiting and ideally be written by an author from that place. So, ahead of a trip to Mexico City, I picked up Umami, a multi-perspective, timeline-shifting novel set in that very location and written by Mexican-born author Laia Jufresa. It’s not what you might think of as a typical beach read—it’s no thriller, nor is there much romance—but the way that the characters and setting come alive in Jufresa’s words encourages full-on escapism. Who can’t use a bit of that?”  Rebecca Deczynski, digital editor

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

“I have a secret: I look forward to my subway commute. The almost universally despised and universally utilized method of public transportation is too crowded, too hot, too unreliable—but it’s also the perfect place to read. I recently read The Most Fun We Ever Had almost entirely on the A train. It’s a multigenerational family drama that follows the Sorensons: parents David and Marilyn, whose limitless love story feels too good to be true, and their four daughters, each of whom are struggling to find happiness in their parent’s seemingly perfect shadows. An example of character development at its finest, Lombardo makes you feel like you, too, are sitting around the family dinner table. If you’re anything like me, you’ll miss your stop a handful of times before the final page.”  Esmé Stern, editorial assistant 

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

“I know everyone’s reading it, but Three Women is truly an ideal beach read. You’re not overly invested in these women’s successes but just enough to plop yourself down on a blanket and get lost in their complex inner lives.” — Jessica Romm Perez, editor in chief

Supper Club by Lara Williams

“My name is Meghan and I judge books by their covers. I particularly enjoyed judging this one, with its Bacchusian Renaissance feast and contrasting modern scrawl typeface in one of my current top five favorite colors (an electric yellow!). I was even more thrilled when the actual book was a solid read—the highlight reel includes food, a secret society, and a coming-of-age plot rooted in female friendship. Take it to the beach and feel good about it on your nightstand.”  Meghan McNeer, brand partnerships visuals director

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

“I spent much of my time reading Asymmetry searching for hidden symmetries. No dice. Instead, the two narratives wind along in tandem completely at their own pace, a gentle examination of empathy and our ability to relate to those we love, as addled as that experience may be. Unrelated though they may be, I found it impossible to extract one story from the other—the two paths are inextricably linked, despite their differences in time, space, and culture.”  Liz Mundle, managing editor

Joy Enough by Sarah McColl 

“Sarah McColl gives grief an honest voice and portrays mother-daughter relationships kindly and powerfully in her work of nonfiction. She is sympathetic to the heartbreaking realities of losing loved ones in a multitude of ways. I pored over its pages—it’s the perfect summertime sadness story that gives you a look at the real world through real loss.”  Lily Sullivan, associate special projects editor

Calypso by David Sedaris 

“I worship at the church of David Sedaris, so I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it took me a year to get my hands on Calypso, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. Absolutely no one does humorous essays like he does, and whether he’s discussing the aftermath of a family tragedy or recounting that time he tried to feed a benign tumor to a snapping turtle (I suppose you had to be there), he handles everything with equal dexterity. It’s social commentary and personal anecdotes expertly rolled into one book.”  Elly Leavitt, associate digital editor

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones  

This was a relevant read for this summer—it’s a well-written story about racial injustice and how it impacts American families. It’s impossible not to feel invested in the relationships that Jones creates. You’ll cling onto her every word until the final page when every string is neatly wrapped up.”  Tracy Cho, general manager

Guestbook: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton

“Life with a new baby means that I have picked up many books but only finished one. Guestbook is mostly photography, sure, but Shapton is so skilled at drawing in the reader that I had to flip to the front cover and confirm that this was, indeed, fiction halfway through reading it. There’s something so eerie about the way she crafts the vignettes, like a real estate–style listing of a (clearly!) haunted house.”  Alex Redgrave, executive editor

See more must-reads:
I Read 60-Plus Books Every Year. Here’s How I Do It
What to Read This Summer, Based on How You Want to Feel
The Best Books on Love, According to Author Blythe Roberson

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