Indulgent summer reads abound.
Is there anything as satisfying as a good summer read? Whether we’re lounging on the beach or hiding from the heat, the KCM team loves to indulge in a wide range of books. And, as always, we’re overly thrilled to share our latest obsessions.
If you’re seeking a distraction from the humidity, we’ve got a heap of recommendations, including juicy fiction, tear-jerking memoir, inspirational self-help, and some nostalgic history. Hopefully, you’ll find a new obsession of your own.
Katie (Couric), KCM Co-founder:
A Shoe Story by Jane Rosen
My friend Jane Rosen, who I’ve known since Carrie was in preschool, has written another book (her third) that is a charming, moving love letter to New York City. I loved the characters, the knishes, the NYC landmarks, and of course…the shoes! But most of all, I loved the story.
City of Likes by Jenny Mollen
Jenny Mollen has a new book called City of Likes and yes, it’s a novel — really a roman à clef — about toxic friendships, motherhood, and the often overly curated world of social media. It’s fun, relatable, and an important reflection on the crazy world we live in.
Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence by Ken Auletta
Ken covered Harvey for 20 years and as Maureen Dowd put it, he reported on every detail of this white whale’s life — including a juvenile scam with Boy Scout cookies — and tried to pin down the sexual assault rumors for 20 years. But in the end, Ken had to watch others “crack the case.”
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
This novel came out in 2018, so it’s nothing new, but the coming-of-age novel follows an unnamed narrator who decides she’ll use a myriad of drugs to sleep her way through an entire trip around the sun. If you’re looking for a captivating, dark-humored page-turner, this is it!
John Molner, KCM Co-founder:
Aurora by David Koepp
I just finished this thriller (about a solar event that takes down the global power grid) earlier this summer but I love this novel and Koepp’s first book, Cold Storage, about a fast-spreading killer fungus.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Set in Bolshevik Russia in the 1920s, it follows the story of an aristocrat under house arrest in a grand hotel across from the Kremlin. Towles’ second novel was published 5 years ago, and rose to become a bestseller, but I never got around to reading it until now. I’ve just started and I’m enjoying it.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
I decided to go back and reread some Shakespearean plays that I haven’t looked at for 20+ years. It’s a lot of fun. I’m also planning to read some books/commentary on the play after I finish, to get more insight into the genius of this play.
Diana Valenzuela, Editorial Assistant: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
This summer, I’m rereading one of those books that keeps you up at night: A nonfiction page-turner that’s totally juicy but doesn’t feel like junk food. Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women follows — you guessed it — three women. All three are navigating their relationship with sexual and emotional desire. Each woman has a unique and riveting story that is impossible to encapsulate in a few sentences; their experiences range from tragic and traumatic to blissful and euphoric. Despite coming from different backgrounds, the women seem to meet at some existential point of longing, pain, and endurance. If you want a summer read that really delves into the meaning of femininity, then give Three Women a try.
Maggie Parker, Senior Digital Editor: Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen
I just speedily finished Counterfeit, and I wish I hadn’t: It was so enthralling and entertaining, I should have savored it more. Kirstin Chen’s novel is about a Chinese-American mom, Ava, who’s feeling sorry for herself when an old friend re-enters her life. Winnie brings a lot of high-end baggage with her. And that baggage? It’s fake. Ava gets roped into Winnie’s elaborate counterfeit bag scheme — and she likes it. That is, until it all comes crashing down and she can’t find her way out. Her marriage, reputation, child’s standing in private school society, and freedom are on the line. You’ll be surprised by which relationship withstands the turmoil that ensues.
Katie Pittman, Commerce Editor: The New Mindful Home by Joanna Thornhill
I’ve officially reached the “regularly reading self-help books” phase of my life, and I’m not ashamed of it in the slightest. I’m also a huge home design nerd, so I’ve naturally been immersing myself in books that combine my love of design with ways to declutter your space and your head. Right now I’m reading The New Mindful Home, which is all about creating a space that’s clean, calm, and beautiful. I’m someone who is easily influenced by the spaces around me, and this book has helped me reconsider my need for things in my home, made me think about how I need my tiny apartment to function, helped me let go of clutter, and given me some design inspiration in the process. If you’re a neat freak like me, I also recommend Remodelista: The Organized Home for stylish storage items and processes and Upstate: Living Spaces With Space to Live for some serious design inspo and beautiful photography.
Emily Pinto, Senior Producer and Creative Director: Circe by Madeline Miller
I had already read Song Of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s other super popular book, and thought to myself, “nothing could be better than this.” Then I read Circe. It’s an absolutely magical book. In essence, the book is a bunch of Greek myths (the most famous one probably being the story of Odysseus) told from the perspective of Circe, this totally nerdy and lame outcast of a Goddess who learns that she’s actually a witch and gets banished for eternity to a remote island. It’s a beautiful, compelling, totally original story narrated by this complicated and badass lady who proves that even Goddesses can be super self-conscious, but also that even people who are thousands of years old are capable of change.
Molly Simms, Vice President & Editorial Director: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
I tend to get wrapped up in nostalgia — blame it on my Cancer astrological sign — so a book that brings me back to my youth will always have a special pull for me. In that spirit, I happily devoured Trust Exercise, a 2019 novel that focuses on a group of deeply self-serious high-school theater kids and the tumult that fractures their clique, creating ripple effects in their adulthood. Trust Exercise is not-so-loosely based on the Texas performing arts school that my boyfriend attended, so I initially read it for a peek into his world (there’s that nostalgia again), but ended up transported back to my teen years. Choi beautifully captures the heart-wrenching drama of high school, and the way that those four fraught years can shape all the ones that come later. This book is sexy, heady, and full of love and longing — everything summer should be.
Julia Lewis, Producer: The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson
After finishing Going There by Katie Couric (you may or may not have heard of her…) I was in desperate need of another brutally honest read. A friend of mine had just finished actress Casey Wilson’s book of essays, aptly named The Wreckage of My Presence, and said I HAD to read it, and I’m so glad I did. Throughout the entire book, I was laughing out loud — to the point that my stomach hurt and I was getting suspicious stares from people on the subway — crying, and smiling ear to ear. (Yes, it’s possible to do all those things at once!) Casey has a beautiful way of writing about motherhood, grief, loss, failed career moments, and navigating this weird world we live in as a woman with anger issues. It’s the perfect book to bring to the beach, or read while getting to your summer destination. Since it’s all essays, it’s easy to put down — but you won’t want to! — and pick up again later.
Ryan Buxton, Senior Editor: The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman
Our cultural nostalgia for the 1990s is at an all-time high, and we see reverberations of that decade everywhere, from fashion to music to the reality TV explosion that dates back to The Real World and O.J. Simpson. But rarely has the era been as thoughtfully and uniquely unpacked as Chuck Klosterman has done in The Nineties — a wide-ranging meditation on the period that officially launched us into the digital age. From the way technology suddenly began transforming our lives faster than we could have expected (remember the deep relationship you used to have with your landline?) to the cultural touchstones we can’t leave behind (Titanic, Nirvana, Seinfeld), this book explores what it felt like to experience the ’90s in real-time, and unpacks insights one can only gather with decades of distance.