Miss summer? Prolong those gloriously carefree feelings with these leisure reads.

Summer might be over, but there’s plenty of time to read for pleasure during the school year. Book it to the library (or get on Amazon) and check out these titles.

“In the Unlikely Event” by Judy Blume (2015)

The world’s greatest young adult writer blessed the world this summer with what she says will be her last novel (a statement I’m choosing to ignore). “In the Unlikely Event” is categorized as an adult novel, but it carries with it Blume’s trademark insight into the minds of teenagers: Blume writes about a 15-year-old girl, Mimi Ammerman, during the winter of 1951-1952, when a series of three plane crashes traumatized the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey. As always, Blume’s sharp writing and ineffable characters carry the story, which is hefty at just over four hundred pages. It might take you all semester, but this is one not to be missed. -Jenny Davis, Features Editor

“Primates of Park Avenue” by Wednesday Martin (2015)

Another heavily hyped release, “Primates of Park Avenue” is Wednesday Martin’s memoir-cum-sociological study of New York’s ever-sensationalized Park Avenue. Martin documents her years among the wealthiest of Manhattan, shocking readers with details of must-have designer bags, killer barre classes, and wife bonuses. It’s always entertaining to read about how the other half lives, but don’t mistake Martin’s tale for more than pleasure reading: excluded from this narrative is the humanity in those who reside on New York’s flashiest avenue. Whether you love to hate it or hate to love it, however, “Primates of Park Avenue” is a fast, engaging read that’s sure not to disappoint. -JD

“Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee (2015)

On the off chance that you haven’t heard about this one, Harper Lee—author of the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird”—is back with a long-buried tale featuring many characters from her first novel. Written before “Mockingbird,” “Watchman” tells the story of Scout, now an adult named Jean Louise, who returns from years in New York to her hometown of Macomb, Alabama in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. Readers share Jean Louise’s shocking revelation—that the supposedly even-tempered, eternally just Atticus Finch is a racist—and join her in mourning the crumbling of an idol. “Go Set a Watchman” is a crucial novel about disenchantment and reconciliation with a world that is rarely black and white. Think of “Watchman” as required reading.  -JD

“Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity” by Robert Beachy (2014)

The word “homosexuality,” Robert Beachy explains in his book “Gay Berlin,” did not exist until 1869, when it appeared in a German-language pamphlet (as “Homosexualität”). So what did it mean to identify as homosexual? Beachy’s book focuses on the life of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a sexologist and academic rival to Freud, who was the first to argue that people are born with a biologically determined sexual orientation.  Hirschfeld’s work, Beachy states, allowed for the emergence of a Berlin that was friendly to gay people, even as Nazi ideas and sentiments became increasingly commonplace. -Max Lee, Assistant Features Editor

“The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq” by Hassan Blasim (trans. Jonathan Wright) (2014)

As the war in Iraq has wound down, literary critics have asked which new American authors will emerge from the carnage. Who will become the next Hemingway? The next Ezra Pound? The next Denis Johnson? The best book to have come from the war so far, however, may come not from an American but from Iraqi-born writer Hassan Blasim. Blasim’s short story collection “The Corpse Exhibition” avoids the realism of American writers like Phil Klay (“Redeployment”), in favor of a surreal—and very dark—portrait of Iraq. The characters in Blasim’s book are not necessarily afraid of the violence surrounding them, as they are in Klay’s collection; for the most part, the violence leaves them feeling numb and unaffected. The nightmares they face instead—to use one example—involve waking up, unable to stop smiling. -ML

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel (2014)

I have long been a fan of the post-apocalyptic/zombie narrative, and while this is somewhat of a variation on that theme, it checks all the right boxes and provides a slew of witty and complex characters. The novel begins with the death of one of its main characters, an actor named Arthur, which is soon followed by the quick unraveling of civilization as we know it as an unstoppable sickness kills off a huge portion of the population. The novel is just short enough to leave you wanting more, while still providing a complete and fully realized story arc. -Tess Morgan, Editor-in-Chief

“The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell (2014)

“The Bone Clocks” tells the story of Holly Sykes, a seemingly normal British girl who just wants to make out with her boyfriend and ride on his motorcycle, until she begins to hear the voices of the Radio People. Holly is far and away the best written protagonist I have ever encountered. Mitchell crafts the novel in a disjointed and jumpy organizational pattern, so that Holly pops in and out of the plot, never fully the focus of the text but always existing as an obvious presence. This novel is seriously weird, and it takes until the very last page to fully understand the workings of the world Mitchell has created, where reincarnation, horology, and soul-decanting are all very real and relevant. This lengthy book is worth the read but requires a fair amount of patience. -TM

“Two Serious Ladies” by Jane Bowles (1943)

“Two Serious Ladies” follows two “respectable” and eccentric women, Christina Goering and Frieda Copperfield, as they take vacations from their upright lives and discover the darkest parts of themselves. Mrs. Copperfield visits Panama with her overbearing husband and forms (okay, forces) bonds with women who work in local brothels. Meanwhile, Miss Goering, a wealthy spinster, attempts to change the course of her life through licentious encounters with men she meets on trains and in bars. This novel, considered a modernist treasure, is truly ahead of its time, more Miranda July than Elizabeth Bowen. With all the peculiarity, hilarity, and melancholy of “Grey Gardens,” “Two Serious Ladies” made me adore its protagonists despite, and even because of, their deep flaws. -Rebecca Brill, Editor-in-Chief

“The Fran Lebowitz Reader” (1994)

Fran Lebowitz is best known for two things: her biting sardonicism and her 34-year-long writer’s block. The former takes center stage in “The Fran Lebowitz Reader,” a compilation of essays from Lebowitz’s previous (and with the exception of her 1994 children’s book, only) two books, “Metropolitan Life” (1978) and “Social Studies” (1981). The essays include such gems as, “There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness or death,” and “If you are of the opinion that the contemplation of suicide is sufficient evidence of a poetic nature, do not forget that actions speak louder than words.”

“The Fran Lebowitz Reader” feels dated (see: “Digital Clocks and Calculators: Spoilers of Youth”), but that’s actually one of the things I love about the book; reading it feels like being transported to New York City in the 1970s, a strange parallel universe where SoHo is gritty and tofu scary. Mostly, though, I’m in it for the laughs. When I read “The Fran Lebowitz Reader” on an elliptical, I received menacing looks from my fellow New York Sports Club patrons on account of my incessant chuckling. But then, perhaps I should have taken my fitness advice from “The Fran Lebowitz High Stress Diet and Exercise Program”: “a. Take first sip of coffee. b. Open mail and final disconnect notice from telephone company, threatening letter from spouse of new flame and a note from a friend informing you that you have been recently plagiarized on network television. (Tones up fist area.)”-RB

“The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach (2011)

As an English major with very little interest in sports, I was very wary of reading a book about baseball, and even more wary of reading a book by someone named Chad, but this novel upended all my expectations. Unlike many novels about sports that are purportedly about more than the game, this novel really did deliver on that front, crafting believable and multi-dimensional characters whose relationships to one another drive the plot. The one issue I had was that Harbach only includes one major female character in a narrative already oversaturated with testosterone. -TM

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