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Book Club

The 7 Books We Can’t Put Down This Summer

June 24th, 2024

Our editors share their best summer reads.

There’s no better time than the summertime to sit back and relax with a good book. Whether you’re at the beach, by the pool, or just hanging out in the backyard, it’s great to just let your mind get lost in something that’s fun and enjoyable.

Here are seven books that our editors are reading this summer.

Logan Morford

The perfect summer read for me is on the shorter side, light in nature, and fictional. Raymond Chandler’s third novel featuring private investigator Philip Marlowe nails the summer read criteria. “The High Window” is full of intrigue and wisecracks. Chandler’s writing style is the prototype for cynical, sarcastic, hard-boiled detectives working in the seedy underground of Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s. You can’t help but hear Marlowe in the voice of Humphrey Bogart (who played him expertly in “The Big Sleep”).

Chandler was a master of putting all the pieces out there for the reader to put together but also has Marlowe explain in great detail how it all went down in the end. While some of the verbiage in Chandler’s writing has aged quite poorly — particularly as it comes to race and ethnicity — there is no doubt he is a masterful storyteller.

An aspect of his career that I admire greatly is that Chandler didn’t become a novelist until the age of 44. This is a testament to the idea that we are capable of reenvisioning ourselves and that it is never too late to pursue a passion. As I write this on my 41st birthday, his late blooming career as a novelist is inspirational. Pick up a copy of “The High Window” and head out for a poolside read. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Drew Chambers

I love all manner of books, and if you recall from the writeup in the winter, this can encompass everything from nonfiction to fantasy novels. The summer feels like a particularly good time of year to enjoy a beach read, which in my case has been mystery novels as of late. I recently began the CB Strike series by Robert Galbraith (which is the pen name of one JK Rowling) and am currently on the fourth of seven novels.

They’re easy reads, and the characters are quite enjoyable and entertaining. The material is a far cry from the wizarding world, and there is a show if you are one of those people that likes to read a book and then stream a series to see how close they come to your vision of the characters. I’d recommend reading them in order, which starts with “The Cuckoo’s Calling.”

Gary Harrison

A one-time friend of Robert Redford, writer James Salter lived a rather storied existence. A West Point graduate and combat fighter pilot who subsequently spent the rest of his life exhibiting both extreme charm and grace under pressure whilst bearing the heavy, unrewarding yoke of being regarded as a writer’s writer — a mantle which of course means unsuccessful.

To read Salter’s thoughtful, serene and oft-sensuous prose is to dine at a table with one of the greats. Eventually, the public came to recognize what Redford had spotted too. Despite later acclaim, it’s his 1975 novel “Light Years,” to me at least, that remains his best work. It also contains perhaps the best chapter ever written about commissioning a bespoke garment.

“A bad shirt is like the story of a pretty girl who is single and one day fine she finds herself pregnant? It’s not the end of the life, but it’s serious.”

Brian Sacawa

I’ve been spending a lot of the time I set aside for reading recently opting for business-related (John Doerr’s “Measure What Matters”) or recent history (Nick Foulkes’s “Swans, Legends Of The Jet Society” was an engrossing complement to the FX’s recent FUED series). Which is to say that I don’t really find myself reading a lot of fiction.

It’s not that I don’t like fiction but it’s got to be the right book by the right author. And Amor Towles’s new collection of short stories along with a novella, “Table For Two,” is both of those things. I was a fan of “A Gentleman In Moscow” for obvious reasons and this new volume is just as enjoyable. The prose just flows and is easy to read and I appreciate short stories even more during the summertime.

At the time of this writing, I’m about halfway through but very much looking forward to the rest, especially “Eve In Hollywood,” a Rashomon-esque novella that takes place in Los Angeles during the Hollywood’s golden age. The perfect midsummer appetizer for our annual winter viewing of “The Thin Man” movies.

Ponzio Oliverio

As a university professor I do a lot of academic reading, writing, and editing, so for simple pleasures I often turn to British mystery-detective novels. Agatha Christie’s prim and proper Hercule Poirot and spinsterish Miss Jane Marple, as well as Dorothy Sayers’ dandyish Lord Peter Wimsey make for easy and enjoyable reading. Better still may be the great Arthur Conan-Doyle’s stories of the gaunt and ascetic Sherlock Holmes.

While you may find the plots a bit simplistic, the overall writing of these authors is excellent, especially regarding character development and setting. You feel a part of Victorian England as Holmes prowls the streets of London and get a sense of the Art Deco world of Poirot.

While just about any title by these authors is worth the read, for specific recommendations, “Elephants Can Remember” or “Sleeping Murder” may be Christie at her best, while Sayers “Whose Body?” introduces Peter Wimsey and sets the character up for his later appearances. Similarly, Sherlock Holmes first appearance in “A Study in Scarlet” will likely whet your appetite for more stories of the great detective. Happy Reading!

Tony Gorga

I’ll admit it: between my ‘day-job’, writing at night, and wrangling a couple of rugrats, it’s difficult to read as much as I’d like. But, when this comes, I’ll be wrapping up a week-long trip bouncing between suburban Detroit and Michigan’s Lake Huron-hopefully, with plenty of time to try something new.

For someone who gravitates toward biographies, histories and the like, ‘something new’ is the realm of science fiction.

That’s Andy Weir’s 2021 novel “Project Hail Mary.” Ryland Grace, a science teacher sent to a nearby star to find out how to stop a solar-dimming event that would thrust the Earth into an irreversible ice-age and wipe out all life. Sweet.

But, it’s certainly not that simple. Politics, plot twists, a hint of intrigue, and more than a little real-world rocket science and astrobiology to make you feel smart make this an appealing read. And, since it’s the author of The Martian, it reads in a delightfully quirky way that had me chuckling three pages in.

David Reardon

The perfect summer read should mirror the season – easy-going, interesting yet unhurried, and, most importantly, fun. This Pulitzer-prize winner from Viet Thanh Nguyen (which now has its own mini-series on HBO) is just that – a delightful read full of scintillating prose that was a magnet to pick up (yet easy to put down when overtaken by a mid-afternoon siesta).

At what felt like every page, Nguyen put a smile on my face or made me pause in deep reflection (and usually both) with a jazz-like rat-tat-tat sentence construction and trenchant word choice that had me reaching for my dictionary app every few pages (yes, trenchant was one of those words).

While the narrative flew briskly by – enlightening an aspect of the Vietnam war I hadn’t previously considered – its ending was a bit convoluted, almost as if Nguyen didn’t want the book to end. Regardless, I enjoyed it thoroughly and will be adding the sequel to my queue.

Stylishly Yours,

He Spoke Style

Over the past 10 years, He Spoke Style has established itself as the leading online destination for premium original men’s style content. Blending information and inspiration, He Spoke Style provides practical style advice, outfit ideas, product reviews, and trend analysis for regular guys interested in menswear. Known for their relatable and distinctly unpretentious voice and approach, Founder Brian Sacawa and his team of writers have become influential in the contemporary menswear conversation, having been quoted and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Esquire, GQ, The Robb Report,, Playboy, The Rake, and The Huffington Post.

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Photography by Rob McIver


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