Zinc’s Summer Book Picks

Favorite Reads from Zinc Tutors and Staff

Thanks to everyone who sent in a recommendation! Scroll ahead for your next plane/beach/staycation read.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Recommended by Jeremy Weiss, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“It’s a beautiful mess… and it helps remind you that the world is too.”

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Recommended by Hilary Teplitz, Director of Content, ZLL

“An unsparing portrait of love, friendship, and the ways we define—and disappoint—ourselves.”

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Recommended by Francesca Capossela, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“I didn’t believe it could be as good as everyone said, but it is. A raw, honest, funny, and unapologetic story about transitions of all kinds, it reminds me that the best writing is bold and unexplained.”

The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
Recommended by Jonathan Baker, Proofreader, ZLL

“A brilliant and prescient midcentury crime novel by the author of In a Lonely Place. The book manages to grapple with the major struggles at the heart of the American story, while also maintaining a gripping narrative throughout. Don’t read anything about it online! There’s a twist, and I don’t want it to be spoiled.”

The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James
Recommended by Cherry Brice, Jr., Tutor, Zinc Ed

“Insightful and incite-ful intertwining of the histories of the Haitian and French Revolutions.”

I Hate and I Love by Catullus
Recommended by Jonah Herzog-Arbeitman, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“It’s been a busy few months writing my masters dissertation, so Penguin’s translation of Catullus, entitled I Hate and I Love, has been perfect for me. It’s small, short, and at times brutally human.”

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
Recommended by Claire Dunnington, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“An epic about aviation, acting, and the tumult of the first half of the 20th century—it’s both expertly plotted and beautiful on the sentence level.”

¡Hola Papi! How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer
Recommended by Kate Hannum, Director of Customer Success, ZLL

“Just light enough for a summer read, but meaty enough to earn your time and attention. The storytelling is sensitive, warm, and often funny.”

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich
Recommended by Sophia Starmack, Client Services Manager, Zinc Ed

“I finally got around to reading my holiday book swap gift, and stayed up way too late a few nights in a row finishing it. As Cherry, my gifter, said, ‘This book is everything!'”

The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing
Recommended by Mia Hull, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“Permeated with a hope that is neither naive nor avoidant, which in our times, for an extremely informative book at the crossroads of ecology, anthropology, and social theory, feels shocking and activating in the most deep-bellied way.”

Book of My Mother by Albert Cohen
Recommended by Ben Goldman, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“A stunning, stunned love letter to a mother, to all mothers, the living and the dead.”

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Recommended by Kelsey O’Kelley, Associate Content Manager, ZLL

“I read it with a student for his English class. While it’s a book for younger readers, the way Gratz wove together three unique stories of immigrants was masterful, and it was both emotional and educational.”

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Recommended by Dan Coogan, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“This book is filled with prose that feels like poetry, and it left me thinking for weeks about its resolution.”

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Recommended by Dan Lerman, Director of Intensive Studies, Zinc Ed

“An incredible reading experience that puts you in a dystopian hellhole AND forces you to learn a new language, sorta. The movie is pretty good, too.”

The Fourth Child by Jessica Winter
Recommended by Lily Nathan, COO, Zinc Ed

“A well-written, thoughtful family saga that touches on issues of feminism, abortion rights, and religion—and was gripping enough to keep me glued to it for hours on the beach.”