Dear readers,

Now that 4th of July celebrations are long past and the novelty of grilling anything and everything has worn off a bit, it's time to take a break from hosting all those barbecues and relax with a nice mid-summer read. Below you'll find a recommendation for everything—from intellectually stimulating nonfiction to adorable picture books to that classic paperback novel you kept hearing about but never got around to picking up. And, as we say goodbye to a few WORDies jetting off to places far from New York City, a travel book seems fitting, too. 

As ever, happy reading. You know where to find us.

WORD recommends these books in 

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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson's history of science is filled with fun and a sense of wonder. Somehow he manages to cover nearly everything—from the origin of the universe to the rise of man—​and along the way he tells the stories of the women and men who helped to figure it all out. His reading is warm, friendly, and perfectly paced. (Kerry)


Fiction We Love:


The Octopus Rises by Ryan Boudinot
Each unique story has a brilliant level of absurdity: from the humanization of beloved childhood characters, Bert and Ernie, to a tale about a man who goes about his day in a normal manner while bleeding out from multiple wounds. (Kristina)

Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes (ebook available)
Noyes' debut collection of short stories made me wish my commute was longer so I could spend more time with her gorgeous prose. These stories manage to be both graceful and surprising, full of sensual detail, and the characters feel real and recognizable from the first page. (Caitlin)


A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl 
Such a rewarding story! The writing is full of heart and the characters are so honest. The resonance I felt for Alex (he’s just 9 years old!) is uncanny—his goals, fears, frustrations, all of it was tangible. By far the best book I’ve read in 2016. (Jasper)

Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
If smartphones had been around, would the underground railroad have been better or more easily defeated? Ben H. Winters has reimagined our world without the civil war, where slavery still exists and wreaks obvious havoc on our country's soul. Victor is a brilliant black man taking one of the few jobs he can: bounty hunting. So begins the incredibly unique and thoroughly realized novel you will want everyone you know to read. (Hannah)


The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda (ebook available)
A crime novel set in modern Japan that tells the story of a female lieutenant trying to solve a grisly murder mystery while overcoming gender-related issues within the police department she works for. A fun crime novel that's not too dreary and full of likable characters with varying personalities. (Chazz)

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (ebook available)
The winner of the 2016 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction, The Improbability of Love is about a young woman who finds an old painting in a junk shop—one that might be a long lost masterpiece rumored to have the power to inspire true love. Critics, collectors, and gallery owners are skewered in this smart, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable book. (Kerry)

Nonfiction We Love:


Trying to Float by Nicolaia Rips (ebook available
Nicolaia Rips wrote a delightful, fond narrative of her "it takes a village" upbringing in The Chelsea Hotel. Every kind of New York character you can imagine fills her experience which, by the age of 17 when she published this title, is more reasoned and broad-viewed than most. Amidst the whimsical stories of Halloweens gone wrong are the truly anxiety-inducing tales of bullying and educational mishaps that can so harm us early on. But, Rips wears the Chelsea Hotel like armor, and if you read this book, so can you. (Hannah)

The Fifty-Year Mission by Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman
While it doesn't hurt to be a Star Trek fan to dive into this unauthorized oral history, it is by no means necessary. The Fifty-Year Mission: The First 25 Years is an exploration of a pop-culture phenomenon that has dramatically changed the colliding landscapes of television and culture. Gross and Altman follow the trajectory that led to Star Trek being one of the largest fanbases, nay, even paving the way for all future fanbases to proliferate and exist in the way they do today. The genius of this book lies in the editing: told in the words of the designers, writers, actors, and producers who made it happen. A book that celebrates the epic spirit of boldly going where no one has gone before. (Ashanti)


Democracy Now! by Amy Goodman (ebook available
A comprehensive overview of the last 20 years of the Democracy Now! news organization. What I worried might be a lame oral history turned out to be a nuanced, point-by-point narrative of their coverage of stories that are seldom acknowledged by corporate media. There are very few behind-the-scenes goodies, which I appreciated
 because it would almost be hypocritical of Democracy Now! to focus on themselves and not the issues it has painstakingly brought to light for the last two decades. (Tom)

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield (ebook available
If anyone were to write the definitive overview of a persona like David Bowie and his musical career, it would be Rob Sheffield. Sheffield knows everything about music that you never even realized you didn't know, and yet his pop culture analysis is always the opposite of pretentious—never alienating. A sweeping tour through the work of the man we all knew and loved (as well as an exploration of the more elusive, obscure parts of the Bowie oeuvre), On Bowie breathes new life into the myth of the great Starman. This is a book that is waiting in the sky and ready to blow your mind. (Michelle)

Paperback Picks:


Heartbreaker by Maryse Meijer (ebook available)
Maryse Maijer's
words have teeth. Her stories are brief and potent, capturing moments of heartbreak and creation. Using the tools of the fairy tale, Heartbreaker tackles subjects of loss, sex, and the tensions that occur on the cusp of transition into adulthood. There are terrifying consequences, surprising turns, and, yes, heartbreak, in the these few pages. A perfect read for those who travel or only have 
bite-sized moments in their day to read; there is a lot packed into 208 pages. (Hannah)

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The classic from Jacqueline Susann is as fresh in its attractive 50th-anniversary release as it was shocking in 1966. Still gripping, still gossipy, still the raw reflection on fame, super-stardom, and the salacious legacy of those that produce it. (Ashanti)

Gorgeous by Cathy G. Johnson
I've been waiting for this book since Cathy did an event at our Brooklyn location last year and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Cathy's hazy graphite illustrations work perfectly with this brief but emotionally devastating story. It leads you down surprising paths while exploring unexpected emotional depths. I finished this book and was caught so off guard, I immediately read it again. (Dylan)


Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a classic; it takes the typical story of a crazy mother and the family that is trying to deal, and turns it into a journey from the soccer moms of suburbia to the beautiful Arctic tundra. No matter how crazy things get, the book never strays into a territory that is too dark for anyone to handle. A modern epistolary novel, the main character tries to track Bernadette through emails that she received and sent, leading the reader to a beautiful, tear-jerking conclusion. A recommendation for anyone who loved the Broadway show Next to Normal, or who just wants to read a real soap opera of a novel. (Avery)

You Only Live Once by Lonely Planet
Fantastic for summer, this beautiful, information-packed book will inspire you. The chapters are periods of time: an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year with diverse suggestions of activities for each. For anyone with insatiable wanderlust. (Alyssa)

Books for Teens, Tweens, and Littles:


Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
If you like rooting for the underdog while looking at adorable watercolor illustrations, you'll love Ben Hatke's newest picture book about a goblin defending his dungeon and rescuing his skeleton friend. (Emma)

Herman's Vacation by Tom Percival
Herman comes up with the best & most non-expensive summer vacation for him and his best friend, Henry: camping! But what happens when Herman has a blast while Henry struggles to have a good time? Find out in this fun, lift-the-flap picture book! (Lydia)

Possum Magic by Mem Fox
Hush and Grandma Poss are household names in Australia, and Possum Magic is a true classic of children’s literature. A delightful read for both children and adults, and full of beautiful watercolor illustrations, Possum Magic is a cute story about an invisible possum and her magical grandma. (Louris)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (ebook available)
Cyber pen-pals, blackmail, theater, 
friendship, and Oreos—what more do you need in a book!? There's also some romance, drama (both on and off the stage) as well as Simon's witty and hilarious narrative. So what do you do when you're blackmailed into being someone's wingman while trying to figure out your sexuality as well as the identity of your cyber-crush? I have no clue what I'd do; Simon does a pretty
bang-up job given the circumstances. (Crystal)

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie (ebook available)
A pretty great light horror book 
when you're in the mood for a good ghost story. When I picked this up I mostly knew about the Youtube show. While I thought it would be a bit weak for me, the story had some twists I didn't expect, and I found myself really enjoying it by the end. (Will) 

Roses and Rot  by Kat Howard

This is one for all the artists. If you've ever felt the pressure of creation, please pick up this book. Howard weaves a story of two sisters struggling to find their place and grappling with the fear of failure commonly felt by so many creative people. Her world of fairies & heartless villains and love & magic is charming and effective. Fans of twisted fairy tales will eat this one up! Another debut author that I am looking forward to following for years to come. I really cannot resist the allure of a brand new novelist. (Katelyn)

This has been another production of the book-lovin' fools at:

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