6 Books You Should Be Reading This June
From cultural histories to irreverent fiction to a meditation on why humans love driving
As temperatures rise and parts of the country begin to open up ever so slightly, there’s a small chance that you might be doing some of your June reading outdoors. Hopefully you’re staying safe as you do so.
This month’s literary offerings are a wide-ranging group, from essential nonfiction on the contemporary world to keenly observed takes on very specific subcultures. Read one or more of these books and you might just see the world a little differently afterwards.
Lost Property: Memoirs and Confessions of a Bad Boy
Ben Sonnenberg (June 16)
Ben Sonnenberg’s father was an early pioneer in public relations, and the younger Sonnenberg — who died in 2010 — grew up surrounded by celebrities. Sonnenberg’s memoir offers a glimpse of high society in New York City, with a foray into Cold War-era espionage to further complicate matters. And let’s admit it: as subtitles go, “Memoirs and Confessions of a Bad Boy” is a pretty memorable one.
Masha Gessen (June 2)
Among the keenest contemporary observers of American and Russian politics is Masha Gessen, whose books have covered everything from the legal troubles of the activist group Pussy Riot to the global and personal events that led to the Boston Marathon bombing. Surviving Autocracy builds on her acclaimed essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” which was published shortly after the 2016 Presidential election.
Jean Kyoung Frazier (June 9)
While it has no correlation to the contents of the novel itself, it must be said: Pizza Girl has an absolutely fantastic cover, an airbrushed neon fantasia of nighttime Los Angeles. The book itself focuses on an unlikely connection between a young, pregnant delivery driver and the mother to whom she conveys pickle-covered pizzas.
Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road
Matthew B. Crawford (June 9)
Matthew B. Crawford’s work does a fantastic job of finding the philosophical heft in everyday actions. With his latest book, he’s taken on a subject that’s a part of many people’s days: driving. In revisiting the pleasures of driving for driving’s sake, Crawford makes the case for introducing more joy and surprise into your life — never a bad thing.
Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World
Matt Alt (June 23)
From film to technology to video games, Japanese pop culture has had a global impact for decades now. In his new book Pure Invention, Matt Alt chronicles how that came to be — and offers the compelling personal stories of the thinkers and artists who brought that to fruition.
Super 8: An Illustrated History
Danny Plotnik (June 9)
In the right hands, Super 8 footage can offer a gritty vision of the world — or provide an intimate look into the life of a filmmaker. Danny Plotnik’s new history of Super 8 explores this phenomenon from both an artistic and a technical angle, including conversations with filmmakers and camera manufacturers who all offer their own takes on why Super 8 film has had such an enduring impact.