Your Summer Reading Guide – The New York Times - The World News

Your Summer Reading Guide – The New York Times

I wrote last week about how finding something interesting to watch has been a challenge in recent months. In these moments, I turn to books. If we can agree that streaming options have been lackluster lately, we can also agree that there’s really no excuse for griping when neither you nor I have even scratched the surface of all the books we’ve been meaning to read. But why, then, am I not living my truth, the truth of being lost rapturously in multiple books at once? I have some ideas.

In December, I dropped out of a reading challenge I’d participated in for two years. The object was to read a book a week, each corresponding to a specific category, such as “a book featured in a celebrity book club” or “a book from a genre you normally avoid.”

The challenge was exactly what I needed in 2021: I had read two books in six months when a friend asked if I wanted in. I eagerly accepted, excited for some structure and incentive to increase my literary appetite. I loved having an assignment each week. I loved that I had access to a boisterous Facebook group in which participants — all friends and friends of friends who’d become a cozy family after many years — gathered to swap reviews and recommendations.

Some time in my second year, I got cocky. Now that I was regularly polishing off a book or two a week, why did I need assignments? I started to chafe at the categories. What if I wanted to read something that didn’t match up with any of them? Surely my own curiosity would be powerful enough to keep me reading at this clip! I’d probably read even more books if I were freed from the challenge’s confines, allowed to consume any title that struck my fancy, right?

You know where this is going. There are a lot of books out there. And I’ve started most of them. In order to finish books, I need a plan. I need a system, even a loose one, that keeps me binge-reading (why isn’t this a more popular term?), one book followed immediately by the next.

I’m considering frameworks for summer reading that will get me back on track and won’t feel too restrictive. Should I commit to reading only from my stacks, the books I aspirationally pile up on the night stand and the coffee table, intending always to read them next but never making any appreciable progress? Should I give myself a number of books to be completed by Labor Day and let my interests wander? Is this the summer I read all of Henry James, or only Nobel laureates in literature?

My colleagues at the Book Review present a tempting proposition: 19 works of nonfiction and 33 works of fiction coming this summer. Even at my most athletic, I wasn’t capable of 54 books in 11 weeks, but perhaps choosing one per week from these lists would make for a pleasant but rigorous arrangement.

I’ve already started Griffin Dunne’s “The Friday Afternoon Club,” a memoir of his famous family (his father was the crime writer Dominick Dunne; Joan Didion was his aunt) and it’s pretty juicy. “Cue the Sun! The Invention of Reality TV,” by the television critic Emily Nussbaum, looks irresistible. And if “Never Saw Me Coming: How I Outsmarted the F.B.I. and the Entire Banking System — and Pocketed $40 Million,” by Tanya Smith, is as exciting as it sounds, there’s hope for attention spans everywhere, even those as dissolute as mine.

And the summer’s fiction sounds pretty appealing, too. Chigozie Obioma, a two-time Booker Prize finalist, has a new novel about a student trying to rescue his brother in the midst of the Nigerian civil war. After adoring “The Need,” I’ll read anything by Helen Phillips; her novel “Hum,” a techno-dystopian thriller, sounds excruciating and delicious. And “The Book of Elsewhere,” by Keanu Reeves and China Miéville, looks like fun — it’s based on a comic series about an immortal warrior who would prefer to be mortal. I’m not sure I can identify with that motivation, but I’m enchanted by the idea all the same.

🎭 The Tony Awards (Sunday): Broadway’s big televised night airs on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific, and it’ll offer both Oscars-level anticipation for theater fans and a way to get a sense of what ticket to buy for anyone visiting Manhattan in the coming months. Want to see if you can predict the winners? We’ve got you covered. You can also see who our chief critic thinks will and should win.

🐉 “House of the Dragon” (Sunday): Season 2 of this “Game of Thrones” prequel returns, bringing dragons, revenge, platinum blonds and (let’s face it) incest back for another summer. The only thing is that the season premiere begins … one hour into the Tonys. Do what you have to do.

It’s Father’s Day tomorrow. Wouldn’t Dad like a cake? Genevieve Ko’s one-bowl chocolate cake is quick and easy to whisk together without a mixer but tastes as richly bittersweet as if you’d been baking all day. Genevieve suggests flavoring it with oolong or black tea, but espresso or bourbon mixed into some boiling water would work just as well (use a quarter-cup each of water and espresso or bourbon). Sprinkle it with some confectioner’s sugar, or go all out and make Genevieve’s two-ingredient fudgy frosting to slather on top. Dad’s sure to love it any which way.

Bang for your buck: This summer, American travelers will find their money buys them more in some unexpected countries, including Japan and Australia.

Ambition monster: A writer had a difficult childhood. It made her an amazing employee.

Internet affliction: The term “brainrot” captures the condition of being terminally online.

Our advice for getting the most out of this summer? Do a little preparation now. Wirecutter’s experts have spent hundreds of hours testing everything you’ll need for a successful season — whether your plans involve cross-country flights, beach trips or homemade ice cream on the porch. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite essentials and secured truly great discounts. A few standouts include a crisp set of linen sheets for better sleep on hot summer nights, an anti-mosquito gadget (ditch the citronella candles; they don’t work), and an iconic beach tote that should last a lifetime. —Brittney Ho

Euro 2024: The European Championship, one of the world’s great soccer tournaments, has kicked off in Germany, with 24 nations competing for continental glory over the next month. England is the oddsmakers’ favorite, and has the most star-studded roster, though history is against them — the English haven’t won a major tournament since 1966. Germany is also rich with talent, but it too is fighting history, as a country hasn’t won the Euro on its home soil in 40 years. Perhaps the safest pick is France, which has both a solid team and a recent history of success. Games air at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern on Fox networks all week.

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