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The Salient 2016 Summer Reading List Cassie Richards

With the end of study looming and buckets of free time on the horizon the important question is: what are you going to read (when you’re not on Netflix)? We have a few suggestions for all kinds of readers.

My Brilliant Friend (#1 Neapolitan Novels)


Elena Ferrante

A Little Life

The Secret History

Hanya Yanagihara

Donna Tartt

This sprawling novel has been up for some major awards in the past year and, despite not cinching the top shots, it has become a firm reader favourite. A Little Life follows four male friends in New York City postcollege, pursuing success and fighting demons. Be warned, however: this story packs a notorious emotional punch and is not for the faint of heart.

If you find yourself starting to feel homesick for the study life this summer break maybe you should delve into Donna Tartt’s first novel, which follows a group of Classics students at a Vermont college who take their syllabus a little too seriously. It’s a gripping and disturbing tale of collegiate murder which seeks to explain not who, but why.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Cat’s Cradle

How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature

Kurt Vonnegut

George Monbiot

You’ve never read any Vonnegut, you say? You should change that right away by picking up this perfect little novel about humanity, religion, and global destruction. If that sounds too heavy for your tastes you should know that Vonnegut is a master of deadpan humour, so it’s not entirely all doom and gloom.

Monbiot is a British writer and a columnist for The Guardian known for taking on political and environmental issues. This book, with its very apt title, is a greatest hits collection of his essays and articles from the last few years. Read for the intellectual stimulation and/or to feel pissed off about everything.

Fun Home

So Sad Today

The Rehearsal

Alison Bechdel

Melissa Broder

Eleanor Catton

This graphic memoir follows cartoonist Alison Bechdel through her awkward formative years and at the same time tells the story about her late father. It’s a funny, poignant, look at sexuality, family life, and becoming your true self, with plenty of nerdy literature references thrown in.

Melissa Broder is the woman behind the Twitter account @sosadtoday; a chronicle of anxious-depressive musings (she’s also a poet). This is her first collection of essays and broaches such topics as depression, anxiety, obsessive relationships, and her vomit fetish. A raw, funny, fearless book that is sometimes scarily relatable.

Before The Luminaries, and her literary fame, Eleanor Catton wrote this novel about a student/teacher scandal at an all-girls high school. It’s been turned into a film this year, with a screenplay by Emily Perkins, and if you’re a book-before-the-movie kind of person you’ll want to get on to this.

Amy Schumer Whether you’re heading to see her in Auckland this December or consoling yourself by binging Inside Amy Schumer clips on Youtube, this is probably a book you’ll want to read. It’s a memoir told in essays and is just as funny as you would expect from the trail-blazing comedian.


This series, translated from Italian, has become an international sensation and yet nobody knows the true identity of the author. (Is that you Franzen?) They follow two friends, Lila and Elena, beginning with their childhoods in 1950s Naples. Once you’ve started you won’t be able to stop, so it’s a good thing there are no pesky essays to write.

Misc | Issue 24  
Misc | Issue 24