Summer’s Bounty: 8 Must-Read Books

June 5, 2019  • Institute Staff

Whether you’re relaxing on a beach or on a mountain meadow this summer, these eight titles will enthrall the mind while your body kicks back. All were written by the acclaimed faculty of the Aspen Summer Words Writers Conference & Literary Festival, held from June 16 to 21 this year.

That Kind of Mother
Rumaan Alam

Alam’s latest book explores what it means to raise two equally adored children—children the world treats very differently. The novel explores the stuff of today’s headlines: white privilege, cultural appropriation, and transracial adoption.

The Dakota Winters
Tom Barbash

By turns hilarious and poignant, this family saga is set in the late 1970s at a critical moment in the history of New York City and the country at large. The novel invokes a number of cultural icons, including John Lennon.

Thirty Girls
Susan Minot

Minot interweaves the stories of a young American writer and a Ugandan schoolgirl kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army. The two confront displacement and heartbreak while struggling to wrest meaning from events that test them both.

Tina Chang

This new poetry collection examines mixed-race identity, violence, and history. Chang’s words come through the lens of motherhood and are expressed in equal parts love and fury.

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
Nick Flynn

Flynn’s memoir reads like a novel: a father and son first meet in the Boston homeless shelter where the son is a caseworker and the father—a self-professed poet and con-man—seeks refuge from the streets.

Heather Harpham

This gripping memoir follows an unconventional couple raising a mortally sick child.

The Unspeakable
Meghan Daum

This collection of candid and funny essays takes aim at midlife, what it means to be an adult, and deciding what kind of adult you want to be.

All Over the Map
Laura Fraser

A single, 40-year-old travel writer wanders the globe in search of romance and adventure while truly longing for a partner, home, and family.