The Summer Reader 2019


Imagine you are reclining in a crowded London park beneath a blue sky full of crowded commercial airliners, page-turner in hand. Everything smells like sunscreen, but your shoulders are starting to sting. You hear the sound of an ice-cream van in the distance. You’re feeling a little dizzy. Maybe you need some water? 

With the seasons slowly melting into a permanent heatwave, our annual Summer Reader feels somewhat out of sync. It also feels more necessary than ever. When once-predictable cycles give way to chaotic feedback loops and unthinkable complexity, books are a tool for navigation and orientation.

The issue is packed with fashion, features and a package deal of the very best new books, spanning Italian husband-killers, surrealist dream recipes and advice on how to do nothing.

  • Guest edited by Barbara Epler (New Directions), Lisa Pearson (Siglio) and Urvashi Butallia (Zubaan Books)

  • A newly-translated conversation between Hans Ulrich Obrist and the late Harry Mathews, sole American member of the fabled Oulipo writing group

  • Xiaopeng Yuan shoots social-realist fashion in China

  • Interviews with irascible political economist Adam Tooze, Man Booker winner Ben Okri, speculative fiction specialist Elvia Wilk and Simone Fattal, the Syrian-born painter, sculptor and publisher