Our Summer Reads, Vol. 8 — Annie Jo Baker

Summer is finally here, and with it, the best time of year to curl up with a book, free – at least in our heads – of all obligations to read anything out of obligation. Long-anticipated leisure reads, lakeside picnics, and much-needed sunshine. This June, the Attic on Eighth writers share what it is that they’re looking forward to reading this summer season.


Every single year I dread summer’s arrival, and every single year, I’m newly amazed when it finally gets here. Summer goggles show you the world minute-by-minute. There are often things you need to do Now, but very few things you will have to do Later. In winter, there are endless tasks. A to do list is never done in winter. Summer is the planet’s grand reset for all of us.

Now that I’m not currently in school, I spend my days working in an office in lieu of writing lab reports and research papers and studying for tests. It’s a solid job—typically quiet with some occasional challenges. A nice, gentle vocation with a bit of downtime for reading during the day. Then, my evenings are typically free for resting and fun activities, such as baking Moomin-shaped bread loaves, embroidering Moomins on various surfaces, working on long-term writing projects, watching slightly surreal Canadian sitcoms, and, of course, reading.

My summer-ish reading list is good and varied, consisting of “lighter” fiction—a couple by authors Bobbie Ann Mason and Silas House from my native state of Kentucky, a few rereads of good and thick books by nerdy white dudes, and a bit of nonfiction to keep my noggin sharp and socially conscious. I say “summer-ish” because I might not finish all these books this summer. If I’m reading for fun, I sure as HECK am going to read for fun. If I get tired somewhere in the labyrinth that is House of Leaves, I can always go read something not mentioned here.

(Like, let’s be real—I’m going to end up rereading a lot of Borges. It’s my summer tradition.)

“Lighter” fiction:

  • The Miniaturist- Jessie Burton

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine- Gail Honeyman

  • The Atomic Weight of Love- Elizabeth J. Church

  • A Parchment of Leaves- Silas House

  • An Atomic Romance- Bobbie Ann Mason

Hefty rereads:

  • House of Leaves- Mark Z. Danielewski

  • Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace

  • Dune- Frank Herbert

Noggin food:

  • Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries- Molly Caldwell Crosby

  • The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America- Nicholas Lemann

  • Falling Aces: War Above the Trenches, 1918- Peter Hart

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Annie Jo Baker is 23 and lives in Kentucky. They have a myriad of interests, including science, literature, and activism.