's summer reading list

For some, summer doesn't truly start till the first firefly sighting or ice cream truck soft-serve cone (with sprinkles, of course). For us, it's not really, truly summer till we're parked in the sand, sea before us, with a great book cracked open on our laps. Escaping with a great story is a brilliant way to spend a weekend staycation or while away hours on a long-haul flight. If you've got a summer book club that needs a lineup, or simply want to stack up your bedside table with a buffet of books, our must-read roundup has something for everyone — even pizza. 

Mandy Berman's Perennials is a coming-of-age tale set at a summer camp, a source of escape and utter childhood freedom. An intense friendship between to the two main characters blossoms as the novel takes us through their complicated rise to adulthood. If you're a woman and have female friends, you'll see yourself in the pages of this skillfully written debut. 

If you've taken the NY Times' '36 Questions That Lead To Love' questionnaire with your partner, you owe it to Mandy Len Catron, whose Modern Love column was the spark for the probing craze. How To Fall In Love With Anyone is a non-fiction exploration of love in all its permutations — as a dopamine fix for the brain, a romantic escape in literary classics, and the personal myths we create for ourselves with our own successes and failures in coupling up. 

Touch, Courtney Maum's second novel, will make you think twice about texting when you could be talking. The satirical novel puts a trend forecaster at the center of an anti-tech movement at precisely the same moment she signs a contract with, you guessed it, a tech giant. A social commentary on our reliance on devices, Touch is exactly the book the world needs right now. Read it on paper, please. 

The seven short stories in Jenny Zhang's Sour Heart are at once heartbreaking and exhilarating. As the children of Chinese immigrants, each story's characters are coping with being different in America — something we all know is insanely difficult to overcome. As the debut book on Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's Lenny imprint, Sour Heart is the dark horse of summer's hot releases. 

Food writer Amy Thielan's memoir, Give A Girl A Knife, should be read with a cold beer and a jar of homemade pickles close by. Thielan's romantic Midwestern sensibilty about food — and how it shapes our lives — is the thread that takes her from David Bouley's New York City kitchen to a one-room, hand-built cabin in rural Minnesota. For women struggling between the poles of feminism and domestic life, it's a refreshing, reassuring read. 

The Reminders' charming, pop-culture packed plot weaves together a friendship between a 10-year old girl with an extraordinary memory and a gay man grieving for his late partner. There are Beatles references, a songwriting competition, and countless poignant moments that leave the reader on the verge of tear-tinged chuckles. Comic timing and a gentle, knowing grasp of the uncertainties of childhood and adulthood alike make this a fast, gratifying read. 

Burgers and hot dogs get most of summer's food glory, but the real, true treat of summer is pizza. Crust master Joe Beddia's Pizza Camp is the only cookbook you should flip through this summer — the simple, mouth-watering recipes make mastering at-home pies easy work. They may also inspire a road trip to Philadelphia, where Pizzeria Beddia holds down the fort as America's greatest pizzeria.