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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

6 Titles That Should Be On Your Summer Reading List

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

By Ellie Roberto, Copy Chief

“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You”

In a young-adult remix of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s award-winning book “Stamped from the Beginning,” Jason Reynolds shows why racist ideas linger in our society still today. Reynolds looks back at the origins of anti-black ideas, the roles we play in contributing to those ideas, and the steps to combating them. “Stamped” is an instructive and essential read for those just beginning or continuing their education on racism in America.


“The Glass Castle”

Jeannette Walls tells the tale of family strength and unshakable bonds in her memoir “The Glass Castle.” Walls grew up in a nomadic family. Her father was a smart man always searching for adventure. Her mother was a free spirit who never adapted to her role as a mother. Neither parent ever held a job for long, and when money grew tight (which it often did), the Well’s children had to fend for themselves. It’s no wonder that this astonishing story of survival and love is on so many must-read lists.



Glennon Doyle’s memoir “Untamed” reveals what it means to be a brave woman. Doyle becomes your motivational speaker as she speaks of liberation from the norms of what it means to be a good mother, partner, daughter, and friend. She learns that happiness does not come from fitting a society’s definition. Instead, happiness comes from within yourself. “Untamed” shows you how to be your full self and how to be brave doing it.


“Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency”

Olivia Laing’s new collection of essays answers the question, “Why is art important?” Laing analyses how artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Bowie used art as a means of explaining and transforming the world around us. She examines art as a form of resistance and expression during movements such as women’s rights and gay rights. In the current tense political and social climate, Laing shows us that art can be a tool for education and change.



Stephanie Danler’s coming-of-age novel about a New York City waiter exposes the gritty behind the scenes of working in the New York restaurant industry. While attempting to start a new life, main character Tess struggles to keep up with her new job at an elite restaurant. In the process, she learns about food, wine, drugs, and love. While reading, you can’t help but feel Tess’s raw emotions of failure and triumph as she finds her place in the big city.


“Normal People”

You won’t want to put down this Sally Rooney’s novel. “Normal People” is centered around two teenagers who find themselves having an inexplicable connection. Connell is popular in high school. Marianne keeps to herself. Their concealed and complicated relationship takes many forms throughout their high school and university years. In her novel, Rooney explores complex love and friendship that define the slippery young adulthood years.

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