What to read and watch this summer
What to read and watch this summer (photo: Petra Zeiler)

Our 5 Favorite Summer Reads of 2019

We put together a beach book list that has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for true crime or the next hot novel

What to read and watch this summer

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It’s officially beach-read season, so we came up with a list of books to bring on your next summer adventure. We’ve got multiple genres covered, from a mouth-watering food memoir to a deep dive into Greenland's ice sheet. And all of them have one thing in common: once you start reading them, you won’t be able to stop.

If You Want to Chill with Far-Flung Explorers 

(Courtesy Random House)

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future, by Jon Gertner (June 11; $28, Random House)

This captivating book tells the story of Greenland’s 1,500-mile-long ice sheet through a succession of 19th- and 20th-century explorers who first aimed to cross the forbidding expanse and then sought to understand it. Early calculations of the sheet’s size and movement allowed scientists to infer by the 1930s that the melting of Greenland’s ice would be catastrophic for the world. Gertner goes on to chronicle how ice-core and satellite discoveries have confirmed that changes to Greenland’s ice sheet “were no longer in the realm of geological time. The ice was being transformed in human time, too.” Luke Whelan

If You Seek Radical Reinvention

(Courtesy Tim Duggan)

Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World, by Jeff Gordinier (July 9; $26, Tim Duggan)

At midlife, food writer Gordinier felt like he was sleepwalking. His marriage was crumbling and he’d lost his professional purpose. “I interviewed people for a living,” he writes, “yet I had less and less patience for what they wanted to tell me.” His savior is René Redzepi, the superstar chef who uses locally foraged ingredients at Noma, one of the world’s most influential restaurants. Wired for constant movement, Redzepi lures Gordinier with sudden invites—mole tasting outside Oaxaca, dinner in Sydney, fishing in Norway—that ultimately help him find himself. Along the way: many exceptional meals. —­Michael Roberts  

If You Want to Immerse Yourself in the Next Hot Novel

(Courtesy Farrar, Straus and Giro)

The Unpassing, by Chia-Chia Lin (May 7; $26; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

In her highly anticipated first novel, Lin tells the story of a Taiwanese family facing tragedy in rural Alaska. Gavin, the 11-year-old narrator, goes into a meningitis-induced coma and then wakes to find that the illness has killed his little sister. He observes his family’s grief and the wilderness around him, pinpointing the devastating and surreal with a child’s remove. He hears his mom screaming at his dad, which triggers a memory of finding a dying lynx in the woods: “Once we heard the sounds, throaty and strained, human, pleading, we were backing away, we were gone.” —Erin Berger

If You Like Mushrooms on Your True Crime

(Courtesy Clarkson Potter)

The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World's Most Expensive Fungus, by Ryan Jacobs (June 4; $16, Clarkson Potter)

You’ll never look at truffle fries the same way after reading this book. It seems that every shaving of the prized fungus known as the truffle is tainted by crime. As Jacobs writes, the taste of this ingredient is such a primal seduction that it takes people back to “a place where flavor mattered more than truth and virtue.” You can practically smell the soil as you follow truffle farmers and bandits through the groves and fields of France and Italy where the fungi are harvested and stolen. —Svati Kirsten Narula

If You Want to Get Lost in a Good Obsession

(Courtesy Spiegel and Grau)

Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon, by Tucker Malarkey (July 23; $28, Spiegel and Grau)

Guido Rahr was a misfit as a child in Oregon, more comfortable outside with lizards and snakes than in a classroom with other humans. Once he discovered steelhead trout—for many, the most elusive prize in fly-fishing—he became obsessed with fish and how to conserve them. Rahr has spent years traveling to Russia to ensure the future of Pacific Rim salmon in a country that isn’t exactly easy to navigate geographically or politically. Malarkey (Rahr’s cousin) makes you feel like you’re in the Russian backcountry on one of Rahr’s dangerous adventures. Mary Turner

From Outside Magazine, June 2019 Lead photo: Petra Zeiler

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