Unless you've been living in a cave (and if so: Where is it, and may we join you?), it would be impossible to avoid the impression that the international news — and public discourse about it — have been heating up faster than our mild Oregon summer. It's exhilarating and exhausting and disheartening and galvanizing, but do you know what it's not? Relaxing. And while it's tempting to wake up each morning, check the headlines on your phone, and spend the next 16 hours in an anxious rage, it's summer. The sun is shining. It's seasonally and socially appropriate to eat ice cream in a bathing suit. It's okay to mute your news alerts and read a book just because it makes you happy.
Here are the summer books that make us smile — or at the very least forget about the 2020 presidential race for a few hours. Some are crafty, others will help you plan the ultimate road trip, and many offer temporary escapes into fascinating places, real and imagined, like a private school for mages or Harper Lee's brain. Funny, poignant, sweet, salacious, informative, and absorbing, if they don't exactly allow you to avoid the problems of the world, they at the very least provide fresh ways of looking at them.