Nothing, not one thing or activity, can replace the experience of a good read—being transported to a different land, a different realm, through words and language.

I just finished an advance copy of Colson Whitehead's new novel, The Underground Railroad. Every now and then a book comes along that reaches the marrow of your bones, settles in, and stays forever. This is one. It's a tour de force, and I don't say that lightly.

The dilemma for me, after such a bone-tingling excursion, is where to go from there. Maybe something lighter. Or maybe I'll take a rest, savoring and contemplating my next journey. I might visit my private library of favorites and page through a classic: The Grapes of Wrath, a first edition perched on a stand in my living room; For Whom the Bell Tolls or The Great White Hope, nestled in a wooden box of treasures on the coffee table. Or my complete collection of Langston Hughes's poetry and prose.

I love being surrounded by books. For me, they're like art, little pieces of sculpture placed all over the house, reminding me, always, of the power of the written word. Just looking at them brings me the purest kind of joy.

This month, in our annual summer reading roundup, we've curated lots of options for your own joyful indulgence. Whether you're on a porch, a beach, a blanket on the lawn, in a hammock or a bed (all my favorite spots for escaping with a book), I hope you treat yourself this summer to the luxury of a good read.

I know for sure it will be time well spent.


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