Holy shit, it's August.
That means that there is only a little under a month left to cram in a book and counteract all of the Netflix trash you consumed this summer. Don't worry — the editors at The Ubyssey have complied a list of last-minute summer reads that will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly, feel cultured.
Coordinating Editor, Samantha McCabe
Pick: Less by Andrew Sean Greer
There's a reason that Andrew Sean Greer's "Less" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year. The novel, in which main character and struggling writer Arthur Less travels the world to avoid his ex's wedding, is light enough for a summer read (and hilarious), but beautifully written and genuinely touching. Bring your biggest sunglasses to the beach, because you will tear up.
Culture Editor, Bridget Chase
Pick: Solar Storms by Linda Hogan
Solar Storms paints the picture of family, personal belonging and environmental struggle in a way that could only be written by a poet. The novel follows Angela, who reconnects with her ancestral roots and returns to the place where she was raised, only to find that a development company is building a hydroelectric dam which will flood sacred land. The writing is intrinsically tied to nature, and will provide readers with a sense of connection to the world around them.
News Editor, Alex Nguyen
Pick: Red Notice by Bill Browder
Red Notice is a page turner that will keep you gripping on your moscow mule. A 10/10 beach read.
News Editor, Zak Vescera
Pick: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Diaz’s opus struck a chord with the Italian in me. The tricky business of family, the forced departure from the motherland and the myths that follow you wherever you go are relatable for so many people even outside the novel’s mostly-Dominician focus. I finished this book right as allegations of sexual assault were being brought against Diaz, and so for me he began and ended with its final page.
Science Editor, James Vogl
Pick: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Clocking in at over 800 pages, this tome may not be the best choice for those with commitment issues, but if you're willing to make the journey, Mr. Tolstoy doesn't disappoint. Following a colorful cast of characters and their respective searches for love, happiness and fulfillment, the novel is superbly written and wonderfully readable, covering a sweeping range of the human experience. No matter who you are or what stage of life you might find yourself in, there's something in this book that will resonate with you.
Blog and Opinions Editor, Tristan Wheeler
Pick: The Sellout by Paul Beatty
The Sellout has simultaneously made me laugh out loud and consider African-American intergenerational trauma. I have never read satire this biting, brave and intelligent, while still remaining hilarious enough for casual reading.
Features Editor, Moira Wyton
Pick: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
I recently acquired the vintage Japanese edition of this novel, and I have spent my stormy prairie nights re-reading the hesitant story of the sexuality, subversion and loss of a university student in 1960s Tokyo. Murakami weaves existential uncertainty into the seemingly mundane story of Toru Watanabe, leaving me no choice but to contemplate my own existence until classes start again.
Photo Editor, Elizabeth Wang
Pick: Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante
Neapolitan Quartet is written by a female author and talks about the life of two women. Because of this, the novels themselves provide the reader an opportunity of reading about women from a female perspective. It's also long enough that you don't have to worry about what to read for a couple of weeks.
Sports Editor, Lucy Fox
Pick: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
As an introvert, it can be hard to figure out how you fit into this world and find strength in your silence. Quiet helped me do just that, a it tells the stories of successful introverts around the world and showcases what makes introverts incredible leaders, even in a world where it seems the most outgoing are at the forefront.
Visuals Editor, Claire Lloyd
Pick: Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
This is a skinny book, just under 200 pages. But don’t be deceived — Cormac McCarthy makes us reconsider our habitual methods of discerning a book’s heft. McCarthy shows us Lester Ballard, a “sullen reprobate,” and we observe his progress through a dark Tennessee. I was astounded by every sentence. Some paragraphs are tear-inducing, not just for the horror of the story but for the language—spare, baroque, mind-quaking.