What’s your summer reading list?

I’m building my list. I’m curious what you’re reading or read and loved.

I have a few below, some obvious (in that a couple are trendy bestsellers) but I welcome suggestions. We will be in Spain (specifically, the Pyrenees) for three weeks in August, after swapping houses with a professor there. So Spain-related history or really anything is welcome. (Keeping in mind that they’d need to be in English, since my Spanish can only barely get me through a newspaper.)

  1. All Our Names, by Dinaw Mengestu. I loved his first novel, was lukewarm on the second, have enjoyed his short fiction in The New Yorker a lot. All in all I think he’s one of the freshest current fiction writers.
  2. The Discovery of France, by Graham Robb. France was mostly uncharted, disunited, and decided not “French” until the early 20th century. This is a history of the discovery and conquering of France. I would enjoy analogous books about Spain. This one is (so far) refreshingly well written and short, as history goes. Too many brilliant books are longwinded.
  3. Silkworm, by “Robert Galbraith”. Crime fiction by J.K. Rowling, reputed to be quite good. I enjoyed reading The Cuckoo’s Calling.
  4. Africa Must Be Modern, by Olúfémi Táíwò. A Nigerian philospher calls for a culture shift in Africa. I bought it after reading Gregg Zachary’s review.
  5. Peaceland, by Severine Autesserre. An ethnography of the humanitarian crisis/peacekeeping/conflict expat crowd by my favorite Congo expert. I am partway through and will try to find time to blog about it soon.
  6. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. I know nothing about this book other than a lot of people talk about it and it won the Pulitzer. That is not usually enough to get me to buy a book but it’s so easy to hit that little “send to Kindle” button.
  7. So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy, by various authors. A collection of science fiction short stories by minority and formerly colonized writers.
  8. The Golden Hour, by Todd Moss. A development scholar and former State Dept official (who is also my friend) has written a thriller about an academic who gets appointed to the State Dept to use his conflict scholarship to save the world and get the girl. I mean how can I not read this?