If I told you I pitched this story just to get some great summer book recommendations for myself, that would only be a slight exaggeration. The truth is that while I don't think an addictively good read should be designated to any particular season, summer is certainly the time when I most look forward to cozying up on a picnic blanket, hiding under a beach umbrella, or sitting fixed by the AC and escaping into a story. In order to pinpoint which one to read next, I asked nine women with impeccable taste.
Be it editors, writers, designers, or models, the ahead are a few fashion insiders who prove that great style goes far beyond what they wear. And though I'd happily take their shopping or styling advice, I find it just as interesting what's informing their style from a more literary point of view.
Ahead take a look at the books they can't put down (spoiler alert: Cleo Wade and André Aciman are clearly crowd favorites), and then prepare to get cozy and settle into your own next page-turner.
"This summer I am going to work myself through Zadie Smith's Feel Free. It's ambitious more because I really don't get enough time to just read for—but Smith's writing is just so delicious.
"I will also be reading as much news as possible. We live in tumultuous times, and staying informed is key to survival, growth, and a solution to the mess our country is in right now. It's a harder read than beautiful fiction, but it's necessary."
— Marjon Carlos, writer
"Cleo Wade's book, Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life. This is my bible. I carry this book with me everywhere. Not only is Cleo a wonderful friend of my brand, but she is one of my greatest inspirations. I read poems out loud to all my friends and family everywhere I go, and it brings so much joy to our lives!"
— Maggie Hewitt, founder of Maggie Marilyn
"I just finished When Life Gives You Lululemons and found myself laughing out loud with every page turn. Told from the point of view of Emily (IMO the best part of The Devil Wears Prada), it's biting, hysterical, and easy enough to breeze through when you're one to two Aperol spritzes deep, which is about all I need from a summery beach read. I prefer to leave the heavy stuff for my days in the city."
— Nikki Ogunnaike, Elle.com style director
"Right now I'm reading Larry McMurtry's Cadillac Jack. A very fun summer read that follows an antique finder ('pickers' for those in the industry) around the U.S. in his pearly white Cadillac. He's a womanizer but trying not to be and has really good taste in objects. Funny, light, weird, and great.
"I'm reading Call Me By Your Name for a second time because I am… obsessed. If being catapulted into the emotional trauma of first love sounds great to you, then I highly recommend."
"Lately, I've found myself in a serial killer slump—great for reading during daylight hours, not so great when it comes to uplifting summer beach reads. (Though, fully endorse Helter Skelter if you have several weeks free.)
"I'm going to switch back to slightly lighter fare, and while I have a whole pile of recommendations I need to crack into, I'm going to start by rereading The Hike by Drew Magary. It's not your typical beach read, but I blew through it in a manner of hours the first time I read it because it's just that good.
"It's inspired by those early computer adventure games like King's Quest, but it's also much weirder and harder to explain than that. Trust me: You won't be able to put The Hike down."
— Tyler McCall, Fashionista deputy editor
"I am reading Heart Talk by Cleo Wade.
"I am a sucker for beautiful poetry and also words that lift the spirits in tough times. It's a great on-the-beach read."
— Aurora James, Brother Vellies
"One of my favorite books that I keep going to back to is Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
"That book has changed me in so many ways, and I highly recommend everyone to read it. It's informative and exciting to learn so much about yourself and how you can implement small changes to achieve your highest potential."
— Babba Canales, founder of ByBabba
"One book I'm reading now and would recommend is Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.
"It's a thought-provoking memoir about a woman breaking free from the shackles of her dysfunctional upbringing and how education, which too many of us take for granted today, empowers and revolutionizes. It also makes one question their relationship with the family and oneself."
— Danica Zheng, founder of Pamplemousse
Up next: These five astrologers have some thoughts on which sign is the universe's biggest trendsetter (and they don't all agree).