Summer is a time for books that lead us toward self-discovery. In my memoir Out East I chronicle a summer I spent in a Montauk, a beach hamlet at the eastern tip of Long Island. I was 27 at the time and searching for connection. Over the course of that summer, I fell in love with a guy for the first time, met a group of friends who became my family, and began the slow process of becoming the person I was meant to be.
For my housemates and I that summer—and there were a whopping 31 of us sharing deflated air mattresses and slices of cold pizza—Montauk came to symbolize family, freedom, and escape. Each book below embodies those hallmarks in different ways. All are perfect for the hot summer months.
No one writes comedic family drama like Grant Ginder. This polyphonic novel about a family’s summer trip to a Greek Island had me legitimately laughing out loud one moment, and tearing up the next. Best enjoyed by the pool with a cold glass of rosé.
Singaporean poet Jing-Jing Lee shuttles between two timelines in this forgotten story from the Pacific theater of World War II. It’s a powerful, transporting read, perfect for a slow, rainy summer day.
This haunting coming of age novel vividly chronicles the ripple effects of a love affair between two teenage boys in the 80s. Hailed as the “French Brokeback Mountain,” Lie With Me is short and arresting, the kind of book you can tear through in one afternoon beneath a beach umbrella.
About John Glynn & Out East
John Glynn is an editor at Hanover Square Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. He grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts and lives in New York City. Out East is his first book.
They call Montauk the end of the world, a spit of land jutting into the Atlantic. The house was a ramshackle split-level set on a hill, and each summer thirty one people would sleep between its thin walls and shag carpets. Against the moonlight the house's octagonal roof resembled a bee's nest. It was dubbed The Hive.
In 2013, John Glynn joined the share house. Packing his duffel for that first Memorial Day Weekend, he prayed for clarity. At 27, he was crippled by an all-encompassing loneliness, a feeling he had carried in his heart for as long as he could remember. John didn't understand the loneliness. He just knew it was there. Like the moon gone dark.
OUT EAST is the portrait of a summer, of the Hive and the people who lived in it, and John's own reckoning with a half-formed sense of self. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, The Hive was a center of gravity, a port of call, a home. Friendships, conflicts, secrets and epiphanies blossomed within this tightly woven friend group and came to define how they would live out the rest of their twenties and beyond.