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The Summer of 2020 Book Stack

It may almost be August, but time these days feels as flexible as I was as a gymnast in elementary school. Plus, we hate following the rules. So I figure it's never too late to give you guys some titles to pick up this summer, or really whenever because they’re just good books. In this list we've got historical fiction, memoirs, activist pieces, classics, newbies and others; no matter your preferences, we promise you'll find the perfect next book. First, I want to restate the importance of ordering from local/independent bookstores whenever/if ever possible. As we’ve seen across industries, small businesses have been hit rather hard by this pandemic and the best way to help is by supporting them whenever you can. Of these struggling fields, bookstores are clocking in near the top of the list. To lighten this burden a little, here’s a list of independent bookstores that you can order from (and many of them are cheaper or quicker than Amazon):

Now, let’s get down to business. Here are 7 books to pick up right now if you somehow haven’t yet: 

1. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Given the reality of our nation’s racist institutions and the current climate in which we, as a society, are confronting these inequalities, this essay is more potent and important than ever. Baldwin’s activism for LGBTQ and black communities is simply incredible. This book is an all time favorite of mine and absolutely essential for, I’d argue, everyone. 

2. Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

Get to know the minds behind Twitter’s rapid growth and continuing success. Nick Bilton’s interrogation of the matter goes beyond what we thought we knew and dives into the tech start up’s initial plans, missteps and surprises. This informative book is a great casual read.

3. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn 

This historical fiction book explores themes of loyalty and family through the lens of devastating war settings, particularly espionage during WWI and a journey to find lost family after WWII. It is one of the few truly empowering female led plots that engagingly and wholeheartedly approaches the nuances of war. An absolute must read by any standard.

4. Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love by Jonathan Van Ness

We absolutely adore this man, and we have no choice but to back his memoir, and it certainly helps that it is as captivating as he is amazing. In this book, the Queer Eye star explores his troubled past and the ways it shaped the trajectory of his life. It’s a quick and easy read that makes every reader fall just a little bit more in love with JVN. 

5. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown This true story explains the failures and triumphs of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team. It’s an incredible non-fiction work that is equal parts inspiring and beautiful. Whether you give a shit about rowing or not (and to be honest, I didn’t at all), it’s a beautifully written and well told story that makes you wish with every bone in your body that you’d been in that boat. 

6. Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge 

The world as we see it now is one that forces information and noise down your throat at any and every turn. We (or at least I) have become accustomed to this lifestyle and the feeling of constantly being “on.” Kagge encourages us to slow down and live authentically during these silences and gaps which is incredibly relevant to today’s pandemic-stricken world. The topic sounds a lot more difficult to approach that Kagge makes it feel, which broadens the scope of his audience tremendously.

7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 

I decided to end this with an all-time favorite. I absolutely cannot believe it took 21 years of my life for me to pick this classic up. Sure, it’s enormous and daunting but let me tell you: it’s worth it. It’s a funny, relatable, gut wrenching work of art - and I’ll just leave it at that.



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