Music & Wine

Books to read this summer

You can do it anywhere. In bed, on the beach, in the bath, even on the kitchen floor if you're so inclined. We're talking about reading, what did you think?!

By Christabel Brain
2018/08/08, 12:58 PM

Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World - Stephan Orth


Some places are harder to access than others. When the journalist Stephan Orth traveled to Iran, he was aided by the accident of his German nationality. Orth used the internet to launch himself into a fantastical realm that happens to be real. He describes the open hearted reception he encountered in a closed country, where he found lodging in the homes of ordinary Iranians who put him up free during his two-month trip. This was brave of them because taking in foreigners is forbidden.

Orth found his hosts mostly through the app “Couchsurfing,” an international enterprise that pairs travelers with sociable locals. “The people here are hungry for news from other countries,” he observes, adding that outsiders are just as hungry for on-the-ground knowledge of Iran.

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The Chateau - Tiffany Reisz


Tiffany Reisz’s THE CHATEAU is both a spiritual sequel to the midcentury erotic novel “Story of O” and a prequel to Reisz’s erotic thriller series, Original Sinners, but it works beautifully as a stand-alone story. There are small hints at its prequel nature, but let those flow by and there’s a surprisingly engrossing erotic thriller here all on its own.It's a romantic thriller, and a very erotic one at that. Reisz writes sadomasochistic scenes that are charged with love and care alongside the sex and suffering. Not for the faint hearted (or prudish!)

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Eat A Little Better - Sam Kass


Sam Kass used to cook for the Obamas when they were in the White House. Not designing menus for state dinners or assembling platters but devising flavorful, nutritious everyday meals for Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha in their private residence, where 6:30pm dinner was a command performance for every member of the family, including the president.

The anecdotes are only part of the story. Kass, who trained at the Michelin-starred restaurant Moerwald in Vienna, became determined to cook healthy, sustainable food that “occupied the place where good flavor overlaps with good-for-you.” His motto is 'eat a little better, a little at a time'. Learn how to read a food label. Not only because it’s healthy for you, but because it’s better for the planet.

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I'll Be Gone In The Dark - Michelle McNamara

True crime

Have you heard? They may finally have caught the Golden State Killer, who managed to commit more than 50 rapes and 12 murders between 1976 and 1986, until he just … stopped. This book is about one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer. Sadly, the good news can’t reach the author, Michelle McNamara, who died in 2016, leaving an investigative journalist and a researcher to finish this comprehensive and important study of how a killer can elude detection for almost 40 years.

Because sections of McNamara’s manuscript were pieced together from her notes, there’s a disjointed quality to some of the chapters. But the facts remain the facts. In December 1979, the serial rapist transitioned into a killer when he shot Robert Offerman, an osteopathic surgeon, and his girlfriend, Debra Alexandria Manning. How cold could this guy be? After committing the murders, he went into the kitchen and ate their Christmas dinner.

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For the full list of recommended summer reads, check out the New York Times book review