Beach Tote Tomes

Looking to heat up your summer reading list? Take a page from a few local literati.



Chip Cheek, head instructor at the GrubStreet creative writing center

Best recent read: Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist, and according to Dwight Garner’s review in The New York Times, the book outsold Fifty Shades of Grey in Italy when it was first published there a couple of years ago. Which makes me want to live in Italy. It’s as slim as a book of poetry and beautifully written, and it will concisely and clearly blow your mind. You don’t have to know anything about physics to enjoy it.

What he’s reading next: Kaitlyn Greenidge’s debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, about a black family in the 1990s who move from Dorchester to an all-white neighborhood in the Berkshires to take part in a research project that involves living with a chimpanzee. The reviews have been amazing—and I had the chance to hear Greenidge read from it at a writers’ conference a couple of years ago, and her reading floored me.

Top beach bag pick: Definitely Lily King’s novel Euphoria. It’s been out a few years, but if you haven’t read it, do, especially if you find Margaret Mead interesting. It’s steamy, both in terms of being set in a hot and humid place and because it’s, you know, hot. It would be a guilty pleasure if it weren’t fantastically written, taut and evocative.

Danielle Legros Georges, Boston poet laureate, Lesley University professor and author of The Dear Remote Nearness of You

Best recent read: How about two? Susan Sontag: As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh, Journals & Notebooks, for its look into the fascinating mind of this extraordinary writer and woman, and Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America. A brief essay of mine serves as the prologue to the anthology, but that’s not why I like it. I love its diversity of voice and explorations of what it means to be American.

What she’s reading next: The spring 2016 issue of Consequence Magazine, a literary magazine addressing the culture and the consequences of war. This issue features fine poets and fiction writers and includes a section of work by Palestinian and Israeli writers.

Top beach bag pick: (un)FASHION by Tibor and Maira Kalman, a look at the wild and amazing ways humans adorn themselves.

Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots wide receiver and Georgia Author of the Year Award winner for his children’s book The Magician’s Hat

Best recent read: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

What he’s reading next: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (out on July 31!).

Top beach bag pick: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Laura Koenig, children’s services team leader at the BPL’s Central Library

Best recent read: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which follows the families of two half-sisters who end up on different sides of the Gold Coast slave trade. I love a good sweeping family saga but often feel they get bogged down in telling everything, and Gyasi strips away the meat and muscle and finds the bones in a brief story about each generation.

What she’s reading next: Louise Erdrich has a new novel out, which is always a cause for celebration in my house! LaRose, a novel following neighboring families who are linked by tragedy when a 5-year-old is accidentally shot, is sitting on my nightstand, and the next time I have time set aside to let myself get really lost in a book that’s what I’ll pick up.

Top beach bag pick: As someone who mostly hates the beach, I need something extra-fun to get me through hours of sunburns and trying to avoid sand at all costs. This year I watched the Australian TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, based on Kerry Greenwood’s books about a fabulously dressed ’20s Australian socialite solving murders and making mischief, and I think those are just what I need to make it through a day at the beach.

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