The quintessential summer reading guide

Check out 74 of the best books you could read on your summer travels (or while just staying home).

William Giraldi at his home in Cambridge.

Inside a man’s world, in Manville

Boston writer and editor William Giraldi reflects on the impact of his father’s accidental death in his memoir, “The Hero’s Body.”

Mark your Calendar

From boxing to dancing on stage in Marblehead

Marblehead Little Theatre presents “Billy Elliot: The Musical” Friday, June 24, through July 3.

book review

Murderous Manson Family, from the perspective of the girls

“The Girls,” Emma Cline’s debut novel, is an astonishing work of imagination — remarkably atmospheric, preternaturally intelligent, and brutally feminist.

Latest Books headlines

Book Review

Katrina refugee has lost everything, including his mind

“A Thousand Mile From Nowhere” is a tale of redemption that turns out to be believably prosaic and incredibly, quietly moving.

Short Stack

‘Daytime Visions’ tells stories one letter at a time

Nicole Lamy looks at Argentine author Isol’s new picture book.


Daneet Steffens’s list

the discovery

‘The Elephant in the Room’

Author and illustrator Jack Bender offers a mix of life’s dark realities and the drive to overcome.


On the catwalk to support BMC

Boston Medical Center’s fashion show raises money for services such as acupuncture and massage.

More Books headlines

the story behind the book

Bronwen Dickey on why we’re so afraid of pit bulls

Our fears are fueled by unreliable bite statistics and a vague definition of what a pit bull is.


Greater Boston author readings June 26-July 2

A weekly calendar of author readings and literary events.

An illustration by Robert McCloskey from “Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man.”

new england literary news

Make way for McCloskey

The Eric Carle Museum is presenting a show honoring Robert McCloskey. Also, a panel talk on Thoreau and Russell Banks launches his new book.

Book Review

Slave trade helped build early New England economy

In “New England Bound,” Wendy Warren, a Yale history professor, shows how the region’s early growth sprang from tainted commerce.

“Salvage the Bones,” by Jesmyn Ward.

What to read next

Match book: Seeking titles that explore the African-American female experience

Recommendations for a reader who loved Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah.”

Excerpt from ‘The Hero’s Body’ by William Giraldi

An excerpt from William Giraldi’s memoir.

“Lion Lessons,” by Jon Agee.

short stack

A kid who learns to roar

“Lion Lessons” tells the story of a boy being trained in the lion arts.

Books in Brief

Moving forward toward a better self

Capsule reviews of “Falling,’’ “The Maximum Security Book Club,’’ and “Face Value.”

Rhoda Blumberg, 98; wrote children’s books that bought history to life

Mrs. Blumberg began writing historical books for children in her mid-50s, producing more than two dozen over three decades.

Clara Bingham

The Story behind the book

Clara Bingham on “Witness to the Revolution”

Bingham approached the book as oral history, interviewing dozens of antiwar activists.

Entertaining, insightful and annoying tale of wealthy couple’s fall from grace

For maddeningly long stretches, the novel gets under your skin in ways it doesn’t intend.

Four Takes

Seaworthy fish tales

Four books on commercial fishing

Anne Tyler offers light, frothy update of ‘Taming of Shrew’

Anne Tyler’s 21st novel is a light, frothy comedy compared to the rugged farce of her muse, Shakespeare.

The Discovery

A look inside the megahit Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’

The book contains the libretto, photographs, essays with behind-the-scenes stories.


Greater Boston author readings

Weekly calendar of literary events for June 19-25

Historian Nancy Isenberg says that the notion that some groups were inherently destined to be poor, lazy, and otherwise inferior — beliefs that historically were accepted in Britain — was brought here by colonial interests. Over the ensuing four centuries it took root and became part of the American story, from the Civil War in the 19th century, to interest in eugenics in the 20th, race relations throughout, and even contemporary American popular culture.

By Michael Washburn | Globe correspondent

Debunking our cultural myths by tracing class in America

The book questions whether the United States is indeed a place where all are created equal.

Movie Review

In ‘Genius,’ great writing comes with bromance

Book editors get their big-screen due in this dramatic depiction of the close working relationship between Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe.

Denis Boyles offers a surfeit of information on the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Book Review

An encyclopedic biography of the iconic reference work

The famed 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was a product of the reference book’s golden age.

Annie Proulx.

Annie Proulx on how Americans change and are changed by land

In many ways “Barksins” is the masterpiece Proulx was meant to write.

Sebastian Junger


Sebastian Junger: Wants to be surrounded by his reading

Sebastian Junger’s interest in how societies work shows up in his new book “Tribe”

Michael Harvey’s latest book is titled “Brighton.”

New England Literary news

‘How to Cook a Moose’ among Maine’s best

This year’s crop of books honored with Maine Literary Awards are richly diverse.

Ben Lerner.

Book Review

Seeing failure unfurling in ‘The Hatred of Poetry’

Ben Lerner’s book examines the curious case of poetry, a genre reviled from within and without.

“Frank and Lucky Get Schooled,” by Lynne Rae Perkins.

Short Stack

Learning together in the wild

Lynne Rae Perkins’s new book depicts a boy and his adopted dog learning through the world around them.

“A Gate at the Stairs,” by Lorrie Moore.

Match book: Trying to get a read on new opportunities

A mom seeks book ideas for her daughter, a recent college graduate having a hard time finding a job that will pay her bills.

Ms. Ward (second from left) posed with fellow National Book Award winners John Updike (left) and John Crowe Ransom, and Nashville Banner book page editor Mary Douglas.

Aileen Ward, 97, scholar gained fame with Keats biography

Ms. Ward’s sympathetic, insightful biography of the Romantic poet won the National Book Award in 1964.

the story behind the book

Ian Frazier on country, city, and feral hogs

In “Hogs Wild,” Frazier gathers two dozen magazine stories, previously published in The New Yorker and elsewhere, over the past twenty years.

book review

What does it mean to be an American in the 21st century world?

In “Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from Far Away,” Bob Shacochis’s restlessness and recklessness, all couched in maximalist prose, are impossible to resist.


‘Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life’

Better powers of observation can help all of us in our daily lives, art historian Amy E. Herman argues.

Susan Faludi

book review

Susan Faludi hadn’t heard from her estranged father in years, until he became a transsexual

There is much to admire in Faludi’s memoir, which encompasses tales of the Holocaust, Hungary’s embattled legacy, and a look at links between culture and gender identity.


Greater Boston author readings June 12-18

A weekly calendar of author readings and literary events.

Ernest Hemingway (left)

new england literary news

Hemingway and “The Sun’

In “Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ ” Lesley M.M. Blume chronicles how Hemingway became Hemingway, the literary icon.


Rosalyn Drexler: Likes a little humor with her humanity

A Q&A with the author and artist about her reading habits.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo and Jasmine Cephas Jones in “Hamilton,” which goes into the Tony Awards Sunday night with a record 16 nominations.


The Weekender: Dragons, punk rock, and European nudes

Everything fun to do this weekend around Boston.

Mary Roach’s newest book, “Grunt,” follows her other one-word titles: “Spook,” “Stiff,” “Bonk,” and “Gulp.”

Book Review

‘Grunt’ takes look under the hood of the machine of war

“Grunt’’ examines the science behind war, as well as the researchers who are leading the charge in these state-of- the-art developments.

Art from “Secret Tree Fort,” by Brianne Farley.

short stack

The lure of the ‘Secret Tree Fort’

The little sister’s storytelling ability dazzles as it fills the pages with fantastic delights.

“The Mysterious Benedict Society,” by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Match book: Looking for summer reading that has humor, mystery

A young adult from Cambridge wants some tips on what to pick up and read in the coming months.


Uncovering hidden truths in nation’s problems with race, gender

Capsule reviews of “White Rage,’’ “Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?,’’ and “Sex Object.”

story behind the book

Grady Hendrix talks about ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’

The author of “Horrorstör” describes his new novel as “sort of like ‘Beaches’ meets ‘The Exorcist.’ ”

Arbus in her apartment surrounded by her work.

book review

A nuanced portrait of endlessly complicated photographer Diane Arbus

Arthur Lubow’s biography proposes a kinder, gentler Arbus, if no less complicated, than the one in the popular imagination.

four takes

Books about standardized testing

Surprisingly most education books give standardized testing a thumbs down.

the discovery

There’s a new children’s book about Cecil the lion’s life

The killing of Cecil the lion in 2015 was followed by a global outpouring of outrage. Now “Cecil’s Pride: The True Story of a Lion King” tells how he lived.