Read This Summer is Mailchimp’s summer reading program

This year, our list of books was curated by author, New York Times Magazine writer, and podcaster Jenna Wortham. She chose a bunch of excellent writers who have published everything from essays to self-help, memoirs to poetry.

This Labor Day weekend, we’re bringing Jenna and all these amazing folks to our hometown for the AJC Decatur Book Festival. But first, we’re spending the summer reading their books. You can, too. Check ‘em out:

How To Cure A Ghost

Photo by Clémence Polès

Fariha Róisín

Fariha Róisín is a writer, editor, and podcaster. Her forthcoming book, How To Cure A Ghost, is a poetry collection recounting a woman’s journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance, confusion to clarity, and bitterness to forgiveness. She’s written for Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Vice Fusion, Village Voice, and more. Fariha lives in Brooklyn.

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

Jacob Tobia

Jacob Tobia is a writer, producer, and author. Their book, Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story, is an eye-opening memoir about what it’s like to grow up not sure if you’re a boy, a girl, something in between, or all of the above. Their writing and advocacy has been featured in The New York Times, Teen Vogue, MSNBC, and more. Jacob lives in Los Angeles.


Photo by Niqui Carter

Tommy Pico

Tommy Pico is a poet, screenwriter, and podcaster. His book Feed is partly an epistolary recipe for the main character, a juke box of nourishments, and a jaunty walk through the High Line park in New York. He co-curates the reading series Poets with Attitude, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Tommy lives in Brooklyn.

Photo by Carmen Chan

Kimberly Drew

Kimberly Drew is an author, curator, and blogger. She and Jenna Wortham co-authored the forthcoming Black Futures, a collection of work—art, essays, memes, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more—that tells the story of the radical, imaginative, and beautiful world that black artists produce today. Kimberly lives in Brooklyn.

Read Kimberly Drew’s article on NPR:
Kimberly Drew On Making Art Radically Accessible For All

How to Not Always Be Working

Marlee Grace

Marlee Grace is a writer, podcaster, and improvisor. Her book How to Not Always Be Working debuted in October 2018. It’s an exploration of boundaries, sacred spaces, and practical advice for living in a hyper-connected world. She facilitates classes and events for her own work and for others. Marlee lives in rural California.

Blue Talk and Love

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College. Her short story collection Blue Talk and Love explores young black women navigating urban life. Mecca’s scholarly work often examines sexuality, identity, and poetics in contemporary African Diaspora culture.

Meredith Talusan

Meredith Talusan is a journalist and author. Their forthcoming memoir, Fairiest, will explore race, gender, immigation, and intersectionality. They have written features, essays, and opinion pieces for many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, VICE, Matter, and more. Meredith lives in New York City.

Read Meredith Talusan’s article on Wired:
Search Algorithms Kept Me From My Sister For 14 Years

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob is an author and illustrator. Her book Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations is a graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and our most difficult conversations. Her recent work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Glamour, Tin House, and Literary Hub. Mira lives in Brooklyn.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Photo by Tom Hines

Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is an author, poet, and UMass-Amherst Assistant Professor. His novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harpers, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review. Ocean lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

The Book of Delights

Photo by Natasha Komoda

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is an award-winning author, poet, and teacher. The Book of Delights is his first nonfiction book, a genre-defying volume of his lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. He’s a founding editor of online sports magazine Some Call It Ballin’ and a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard. Ross lives in Indiana.

Algorithms of Oppression

Safiya U. Noble

Safiya U. Noble, Ph.D. is an author, researcher, and professor. Her book Algorithms of Oppression is a revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms. She is regularly quoted for her expertise by places like The Guardian, Wired, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Safiya lives in Los Angeles.

Photo by Kathy Ryan

Jenna Wortham

Jenna Wortham is an author, New York Times Magazine writer, and podcaster. She and Kimberly Drew co-authored the forthcoming Black Futures, a collection of work—art, essays, memes, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more—that tells the story of the radical, imaginative, and beautiful world that black artists produce today. Jenna lives in Brooklyn.

Hear Jenna Wortham’s podcast on The New York Times:
Still Processing: We dissect Jordan Peele’s new psychological thriller, “Us”

It’s very easy to Read This Summer. Here’s how you do it in 3 simple steps:

  1. Choose a book—or 12 of them—from this list.
  2. Read the book(s).
  3. Take a selfie, tell us what you think of the book(s), and tag #ReadThisSummer on Twitter or Instagram.

Oh, and if you’re in the ATL area on Labor Day weekend, you can meet the smart humans behind these books and watch them speak—along with a bunch of other interesting and impressive writers—at the Decatur Book Festival. It’s always a great time. We’ll see you there!

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