June 2013 in Books: What Bustle Staffers Are Reading This Month

"I was familiar with Tao Lin prior to reading Taipei. I have read all his books and closely follow his publishing house, Muumuu House. I've always found him far more pleasure to think about and analyze than to read, and this held true for Taipei. Lin's writes introspectively about living in the 21st century, and his prose is stunning, but I didn't find myself dying to find out what happens to his characters. That sounds like a condemnation, but it's not. I was rattled by Lin's writing, but I was not captivated by it."Michelle King

'Taipei' by Tao Lin

"I was familiar with Tao Lin prior to reading Taipei. I have read all his books and closely follow his publishing house, Muumuu House. I've always found him far more pleasure to think about and analyze than to read, and this held true for Taipei. Lin's writes introspectively about living in the 21st century, and his prose is stunning, but I didn't find myself dying to find out what happens to his characters. That sounds like a condemnation, but it's not. I was rattled by Lin's writing, but I was not captivated by it."Michelle King

'Tree of Codes' by Jonathan Safran Foer

"This book is easily the coolest you will ever hold and think about. This novel is partly a sculpted, strategized piece of art and partly a thought-provoking narrative. Each page is laser cut in a different way so that you can see through the holes of text on one page to the text on other pages. In doing so, you deciper a physically- and narratively-layered story of one individual's last day."Claire Luchette

'Behind the Beautiful Forevers' by Katherine Boo

"Boo spent three years as an investigative journalist in a Mumbai slum before writing this gripping tale. The best part is that the insane stories in these pages are all true, yet this reads much more like a lush novel than a moralizing report. I’m recommending this book endlessly to everyone I know."Nathalie O'Neill

'NW' by Zadie Smith

"After devouring White Teeth earlier this year (no pun intended), I had to get my hands on Zadie Smith’s latest, NW. The style of narration is completely different from White Teeth, but both books have the uncanny ability to make me see human interaction in a more dimensional light."Lane Florsheim

'A Clash of Kings' by George R.R. Martin

"I started reading the Game of Thrones series just when the TV series was getting popular to find out what all the fuss was about. Now I'm totally hooked and determined to read the books before watching the series, which feels both bold and exhausting. It seems like I'm constantly trying to duck the barrage the spoilers flying in my direction from entertainment blogs, TV ads, and even overheard conversations on the train. But it's totally worth it! It's rare that I read fiction, and even rarer that I read fantasy, so I feel very fortunate to once again find myself drawn into a world apart."Kayla Higgins

'& SONS' by David Gilbert

"I'm lucky to have gotten an advance copy of this—perks of being Bustle's books editor, yes—and I can't get my nose out of the pages. Gilbert's created a masterful portrait of family life, writerly angst, and the adolescence no one wants to remember—and done so with humor and aplomb. Rush out to buy it in July."Meredith Turits

'How Should A Person Be?' by Sheila Heti

"When I started Heti's book, I was practically leaping out of my bed with excitement. It was kind of like reading my own brain, with my own brain, which was confusing. This is one of those books that you read and find yourself thinking 'Oh yeah, I could totally write this!' —which is actually the sign of some pretty skilled writing. That said, as the book went on, I found myself getting less and less excited by its tone and mini-revelations about the creative process. The payoff wasn't all that satisfying to me in the end, but I'd still recommend reading this unusual novel, if only to find out how you react to its form."Rachel Krantz

'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace

"I've been a huge David Foster Wallace fan for a long time, but Infinite Jest has always felt like the literary equivalent of deciding to have a child, so I put it off, and let it gather dust on the shelf. But I feel like you can't be a DFW fan without diving headfirst into his most respected work, so I'm biting the bullet and, thus far, it's intense but worth the effort."Dale Neuringer

'The Next Best Thing' by Jennifer Weiner

"The protagonist is beautifully drawn and I missed the characters when I was done. I really recommend this."Jenny Hollander

'Marvel Comics: The Untold Story' by Sean Howe

"We know everything about the stars of The Avengers and everything about the characters they play, but we know little about the characters behind the scenes who created them. And I do say characters—though Marvel superstar Stan Lee is well known for his showmanship and participation in fan culture, the other artists behind Iron Man, Spider-Man, and more all come with their own rich personalities and backstories. Who knew there was more drama off-screen than there was on-screen?"Kate Ward

'The Sound and the Fury' by William Faulkner

"My joke answer: I'm reading it because James Franco's plans to adapt As I Lay Dying has made Faulkner trendy. My serious answer: I wanted to see if it still resonated with me after originally reading it as a senior in high school. Turns out, I'm still captivated by the vividness of the world he creates and the drama of the Compson family—and I still can't wrap my head around how anyone writes the way he does!"Lily Allen

'Paris, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down' by Rosecrans Baldwin

"Ah, Paris. The city of lights, mindless bureaucracy, and... McDonald's cheeseburgers? Baldwin's memoir is filled with hilarious, cringeworthy vignettes in which the American expat, blindsided by Paris's brash locals and bizarre trends, decides to mess with Paris right back. This is a fantastic summer read, especially for anyone who's lived abroad—in Paris or elsewhere!"Julia Black

...And Lots of YA

"I've been catching up on a bunch of YA novels, like City of Bones and Maze Runner. I also just finished Angelopolis, which I liked a lot more than the first one in the series, and Fault in Our Stars, which was just as amazing as everyone said it would be."Allyson Gronowitz