11 Books You Should Read This Summer

From steamy romances to coming-of-age novels to a history of the hot dog, we've got the perfect beach or park read for everyone.

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Piranesi, Susanna Clarke

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Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
Image: Bloomsbury

I had gotten into a nonfiction kick for a few years and forgotten a bit about fantasy/sci-fi, which had always been my genre of choice as a kid and young adult (A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth are still my favorite books). It was lovely to reconnect with the fantasy novel as an adult via Susanna Clarke’s beautiful Piranesi—especially reading from a post-pandemic perspective. The protagonist, Piranesi, lives nearly alone in a giant house full of infinite hallways and statues, with the sea flooding the floor below him and the clouds permeating the floor above. He fends for himself, survives by fishing, and meticulously documents and maps out the wonders of the house, to the extent that he can now predict the tides.

He only knows of one other living person in his world—the Other—who he thinks is in his friend and in his same boat, metaphorically speaking. Then the secrets of the house and the Other begin to unravel, and it becomes a real page-turner.

Piranesi is a beautiful meditation on loneliness—or rather, aloneness—and paints this parallel world with such detail that you start to feel like you can see it and are living in it yourself. Highly recommend. —Laura Bassett

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