Arts & Culture

G&G Editors’ Summer Reading List

Seven summer reads from the G&G staff

School’s out, the sun is shining, and the days are long and lazy. In other words, there’s no better time to park yourself in a comfortable hammock and get lost in a book. Here are seven editors’ picks—both new releases and old favorites—to put all that free time to good use.

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
By Aaron Franklin

“Anybody can grill a good cheeseburger, but to produce award-winning brisket, a pit master has to understand everything from meat science to thermodynamics. Aaron Franklin spills a lot of secrets in his new book. As a barbecue nerd myself, I can’t wait to dig in.”—Jed Portman, Assistant Editor

Trials of the Earth, The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
By Mary Hamilton

“This recently re-released autobiography is one of the most compelling real-life accounts ever told of the South on the cusp of the turn of the last century. It’s a gritty tale of what community and family was like—specifically for women in [the] post–Civil War era—in a land abounding with lawlessness during the tumultuous Reconstruction.”—Marshall McKinney, Art Director

This Dark Road to Mercy
By Wiley Cash

“I really enjoyed Cash’s debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, and haven’t yet had a chance to read his follow-up. He’s a North Carolina writer with a gift for suspense, and his books just drip with a sense of place.”—Dave Mezz, Deputy Editor


The Complete Stories
By Flannery O’Connor

“Flannery O’Connor’s works are being reissued this year in travel-friendly paperbacks with beautifully illustrated covers. I’m planning a summer road trip, and I’ll be throwing The Complete Stories in my backpack.”—CJ Lotz, Research Editor

The Liar’s Club
By Mary Karr

“This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the book that sparked a flurry of memoir-writing in the nineties, but I only recently read it, and I finished it in a matter of hours. Karr writes about growing up in the South in a way that is so clean and raw and funny and devastatingly sad and terrifying and dead-on. I’m also looking forward to her next book, The Art of Memoir, which debuts this September.”—Haskell Harris, Style Director

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
By Harper Lee

“When this lost manuscript resurfaced, pretty much everyone I know, including me, marked its release date (July 14) on the calendar and made a mental note to preorder. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what life is like in Maycomb, Alabama, in the roiling 1950’s, some twenty years after Atticus Finch rocked that small-town courtroom?”—Jessica Mischner, Senior Editor

Beach Music
By Pat Conroy

“I look forward to re-reading Pat Conroy’s Beach Music solely for the manta ray segment. I can see myself so clearly sitting on top of that monster, thinking we ran aground.”—Margaret Houston, Associate Photo Editor