The 10 best books of June go well with hammocks and porch swings

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June,” author Lucy Maud Montgomery mused in her journal. She later placed those words into the mouth of her character Anne Shirley of “Anne of Green Gables” fame. Such a place may not exist, but for many book lovers, June kicks off the season of vacations and – glory be – more opportunities for uninterrupted reading. A worthy reading list might include a mix of entertaining novels and edifying nonfiction. The choices this month range from a comedy of French and American manners to an exploration of Edgar Allan Poe’s contributions to science. 

Why We Wrote This

As fresh as a summer breeze, this month’s picks invite readers into the lives of people seeking truth and compassion, fighting injustice, and finding themselves. Biographies of two historical figures offer deeply nuanced and complex characterizations, which lend insight.

Kick off the summer reading season with books that offer fresh perspectives, windows on the world, personal reflections, and deep dives into history.

1. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

This inspirational novel pays tribute to the woman who helped J.P. Morgan shape his rare books collection, which became the Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle da Costa Greene’s successful career was a rare feat for a woman in the early 20th century, but what makes it even more extraordinary – and such rich material for historical fiction – is the secret she harbored throughout her long career: She hailed from a Black family that had chosen to pass as white. 

“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris, Atria Books, 368 pp.

Why We Wrote This

As fresh as a summer breeze, this month’s picks invite readers into the lives of people seeking truth and compassion, fighting injustice, and finding themselves. Biographies of two historical figures offer deeply nuanced and complex characterizations, which lend insight.

2. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Nella Rogers, a publishing assistant, finds herself the only Black person in her office. So she’s ecstatic when another Black woman is hired. But something about her is a little off, and it may cost Nella everything to figure out why. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel effortlessly melds together suspense and comedy and transforms an age-old cultural tale into something new. 

3. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi

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