Mandatory has a few, well, mandatory items for those of you who can’t stomach the sun and need something educational to detract from the blinding whiteness of your pale skin. It’s the 2018 Mandatory Summer Reading List. It may vary slightly from the President’s summer reading in that there are words instead of moving pictures, and there is no porn involved.
Go deep with some of your favorite fiction writers, along with some new nonfiction authors and a couple political mic drops. There is no filler in these pages.
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Photo: via sciencefriday.com
Michael Pollan has, for as long as we’ve known him, challenged our minds with his philosophies, but this is very next level as he challenges us to change our minds by way of psychedelics. Don’t knock them until you’ve tried them.
The Outsider by Stephen King
Photo: via AVclub.com
Our most (and really, only) prolific horror writer is back with what some call “the It of our Trump era” but given its crime and horror hybrid, we expect nothing less than a healthy dose of suspense that somehow can’t scare us quite as badly as our current administration.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Photo: via johnnyjet.com
What was once considered an impressive swing at a debut book for a guy who used to dunk French fries until he was in his mid-40s is now a modern work of art of a late great. It’s hot in the kitchen this summer with this culinary delight. Rest well, Tony.
The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
Photo: via washington.carpediem.cd
Gathering is something we have done since the dawn of (wo)mankind, but even as social beings who thrive on connection, be it creative, social or humanitarian, we seem to still do a terrible job at it. While most people feel their best sense of self when gathered together, Parker argues ways to find fulfillment in getting together after struggling to find meaning in it. Fascinating.
Calypso by David Sedaris
Photo: via AVclub.com
Sedaris is back with more of his off-the-wall humor dipped in exemplary writing. Quoted as beach reading for those who hate the beach and even more for those who loathe small talk, this is classic Sedaris as we know and enjoy him.
The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh Patel
Photo: via Google Image
You may be satisfied with who you are, as you are, which is great, but if you were looking for something more, this might be it. In a time when religion seems flawed and the world seems fake (news), people are finding the transformation they desire in meditation and other spiritual practice, ones that connect them with themselves, nature and those around them more than religion and politics ever could.
The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper
Photo: via EW
He’s top dog at debunking the leader of the free world on a daily charge, but he’s a quick study at political novel writing, as well. Tapper is spitting out some political noir in a ’50s style suspense murder mystery in his first of hopefully a few historical fictions. We haven’t seen anything like this since Steven Pressfield, who has become more of a nonfiction mentor to young creatives.
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies & Leadership by James Comey
Photo: via openculture.com
But if you want the true story of political suspense, you could always dive balls deep into Comey’s tell-all backhand to the man who tried to put him down. This old dog has many new tricks, and if you love to watch people burn down the President, this guy is the one holding the Tiki torch (no, not those Tiki torches).