There’s (hopefully) going to be a lot of relaxation this summer. School is out, the pool is clean (well maybe), and it’s finally warm enough to hit the beach. When you grab your sunscreen bottle, consider checking out one of these books, perfect for all tastes from taxidermy love stories, Elvis in Las Vegas, and a primer on modern-day soccer.
Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza (Amazon)
Written in a series of vignettes, Optic Nerve tells the story of an Argentinian woman’s obsession with art. Part fiction, personal essay — and art history lesson — Maria Gainza takes us through an art historian’s life by way of Rothko, Courbet, Picasso, and many others.
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett (Amazon)
Jessa walks into her family’s taxidermy shop to find her dad killed himself. Long drawn to taxidermy, she’s tasked with keeping the family business afloat while her family struggles to stay afloat. Through grief, love, queerness, and the everydayness of Florida, Kristen Arnett writes with wit and morphs a family tragedy into a book that can strike a chord with anyone.
Follow Ladders on Flipboard!
Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show by Richard Zoglin (Amazon)
While most think Las Vegas destroyed Elvis Presley, Richard Zoglin says otherwise, telling a story about how Presley and Vegas saved each other. When Presley embarked for there 50 years ago, his career wasn’t nearly what it was until it pushed him back up the charts, while helping make Las Vegas what it is today.
Early Work by Andrew Martin (Amazon)
The heavily-lauded debut by Andrew Martin, now available in paperback, focuses on Millennials who want to write, through a funny and witty crisp prose.
Black Lights: Stories by Kimberly King Parsons (Amazon)
In her debut collection, Kimberly King Parsons quickly establishes herself as a seasoned storyteller with a keen eye for dramatics. Black Lights tackles stories of first love, the pain of addiction, and many others through a brutal scope from the scope of women in the backdrop of Texas.
Natalia Ginzburg never received the recognition she deserved, but she’s getting a reintroduction and second life thanks to New Directions. Two of the Italian writer’s beloved works are reprinted in English, with both dealing family crisis — one by way of a husband being shot by his wife, the other a fleeing son — in equally heart-piercing offerings.
The Plaza: The Secret Life of America’s Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow (Amazon)
In the definitive book behind the Plaza Hotel, journalist Julie Satow gives readers an informative history lesson about the hotel’s famed residents and scandals like Conrad Hilton’s reputation and how the Plaza couldn’t escape the pandemonium of the 1970s, and other happenings at 59th and Fifth.
The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami (Amazon)
These are the ten stories of ten women who fall for Nishino, some who fall in love, others under lust, exploring the image of Nishino through the power of relationship.
Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer by Michael Cox (Amazon)
Finding yourself looking from the outside of the US soccer wave? Then Zonal Marking should be your first stop in the summer of soccer. Michael Cox, one of England’s renowned soccer writers, examines and details the origins of today’s playing styles and tactics from leagues around the world.