Quality Reads: Shrooms, Shoes, And Seas

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Welcome to Quality Reads, a monthly rundown of our editors’ most loved reads.

Summer is calling! And so is that lengthening stack of books by your bedside (or beach towel). For us, that looks like an intimate seaside contemporary. An academic read incorporating both politics and mushrooms. And a  laugh-out-loud series of essays. Discover the books we’re obsessed with for June in this month’s Quality Reads roundup.

Credit: @wlsgrace

Anna: The Biography by Amy Odell

“As a former fashion and beauty executive, I am perpetually intrigued by the inner workings of the business – and love memoirs and biographies that shed light. As a fan of Amy Odell's first book and her disarmingly honest weekly newsletter, I pre-ordered Anna: The Biography as soon as I knew about it. The book delivered everything I expected – and more. Anna is incredibly thorough, interesting and insightful. Anna Wintour will forever be an icon, but after reading this biography she feels far more human and flawed, like the rest of us.” – Christine.

Credit: @jurassicody

Party of One: A Memoir In 21 Songs by Dave Holmes

“I love a good memoir; especially if it allows me to peek into a life I'd never be able to live. Bonus points if it makes me laugh! Remember Dave Holmes from MTV back in the early 2000s? He's gone on to do many cool things since then (including his current role as an Editor at Large for Esquire) but this book recaps some of his more memorable celebrity interactions and life events from his days in and around his roles at MTV. I laughed so hard reading it on a plane that I think people around me were pissed. A truly delightful read that I cannot recommend enough.” – Kaleigh

Credit: @toallmychickens

The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins by Anna Tsing

“I've been obsessed with all things mycelial for a few years now – this is a book I'm simultaneously protective of (because it's so special to me) but also want everyone to read. Definitely academic, but a sneaky page-turner. ​​If you're even the slightest bit interested in mushrooms and in need of a read that can blow your mind consistently, this is the book for you. I'll warn you: it's certainly academic. That being said, I've re-read it multiple times, and would still call it a beach read (maybe because I'm crazy). Tsing presents an intricate multispecies ethnography, examining the world's most sought-after fungi as a means to understand capitalist destruction and collaborative survival. It's a great book for dreaming about a more fungal future.” – Zoë

Credit: @readingpsychologist

Don’t Wear Shoes You Can’t Walk In: A Field Guide For Your Twenties by Michelle Douglas

“Self-help books and I have a complex relationship. I go through waves of avoiding them like the plague and then absolutely fiending for them. I turned 24 last week, and while I can't say I'm dealing with a quarter-life crisis just yet – I've been keen on self-improvement and bettering myself in little ways. This journaling-meets-advice-column book was gifted to me and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. With many of these ‘self-help’ books, what you derive from it largely depends on your mindset. Come in with a humble and open mind and I promise you'll walk away with actionable lessons and takeaways.” – Lillie

Credit: @literati.zaocean

Cockfight by María Fernanda Ampuero

“I gravitate towards books centered around identity, whether subtly through fiction or more explicitly through theory. I'm a big fan of short story collections, so I was thrilled to be sent Cockfight by a friend at The Feminist Press. María Fernando Ampuero's writing is chilling—the kind of work you're scared to read but glad you did. The stories explore the pervasive and everyday violence of twenty-first century Latin America with a voice that is somehow both haunting and beautiful, all at once. A must read (with a trigger warning re: domestic violence and sexual assault).” – Tatiana

Credit: @wlsgrace

This Is The Story Of You by Beth Kephart

“Sparse, tender, and absolutely stunning, National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart’s This Is The Story of You tackles a devastating hurricane overtaking a small coastal town. Her voice and prose are astonishingly specific, rooted in a gorgeous ocean atmosphere that’s both gentle and unforgiving, and the book gets better with each read. I reread this when my senior year was canceled due to COVID-19 because it was about an unforeseen catastrophe’s effect on a tight-knit community – the subject matter and raw emotion felt really applicable. I’m rereading it now because I crave seaside reads in the summer.” – Grace

Is there another book we should bump up our list? Send it our way: hello@thequalityedit.com.

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