For many of us at milk + honey, reading provides an outlet for self-reflection, creativity, and inspiration. It’s an action that requires dedicated time away from our phones and computers. And, most importantly, reading allows us to engage our minds in a meditative way.
With the dog days of summer in our midst, herein find our top escape-the-heat picks. Our recommendation? Grab a book, pack your sunscreen and a towel, and head to Barton Springs for an afternoon of lounging and literature.
- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller — Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life—something like his old life—exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return—not enough fuel to get him home—following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face—in the people he meets, and in himself—is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.“The best book I’ve read this year. The writing is so good, so stark.” — Emilie, HR
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan — When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
“Frivolous, fun, and addictive. You’re immediately drawn in, like a fly on the wall of Singapore’s wealthiest [fictional] families. The characters are outrageous and the shopping is the stuff of fashionista dreams. And if you love this one, be sure to add China Rich Girlfriend to your list, too. ” — Marisa, marketing
- The Fever by Megan Abbott — Deenie Nash is a diligent student with a close-knit family; her brother Eli is a hockey star and her father is a popular teacher. But when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class, the Nashes’ seeming stability dissolves into chaos. As rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through school, and hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town’s fragile sense of security.
“Author Megan Abbott illustrates how quickly fear can sweep through even the sleepiest of towns. Like with any good book, you are left haunted long after you put it down. The scariest part? It all seems so real.” — Kate H., Hill Country Galleria assistant manager
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
“This was tortured reading for me, but not for the reason you think. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end. I’d find myself highlighting passages just so I could return to an exact turn of phrase later. Doerr’s writing is beautiful, lyrical even. The slow unfolding and eventual overlap of the characters’ lives expose us to the realities of World War II from two distinctive perspectives: a blind Parisian girl and a German boy. Highly recommend.” — Marisa, marketing