WSJ Books contributors share this season’s best works about nature, food, cycling—and more.
By Joanne Kaufman
Spend quality time with (somebody else’s) family and friends. Emma Straub’s big-hearted “All Adults Here” tells a sprawling multigenerational tale; Jennifer Weiner’s “Big Summer” dissects female friendships and modern social media—while wrapping in a murder mystery and a love story.
By Rien Fertel
The smell of barbecue may bring Texas to mind, but new books offer a fuller taste of the state—celebrating not only smokehouses but also Gulf Coast seafood and the Chihuahuan Desert’s indigenous foodways. Belly up for brisket, smoked cherry old-fashioneds, “Trashfish Soup” or maybe seven-layer yucca dip.
By Sam Sacks
There’s never been a better time to get active and head out on an epic hike—or just a good long walk. Recent books make the case that walking is not only the most elemental and democratic form of human activity but also one of the most beneficial.
By Michael Barry
A disrupted season of cycling leaves our writer, a former professional racer, contemplating the past. Marshall “Major” Taylor became the first African-American sports star at the end of the 19th century, while women riders in the 20th century overcame dismissive attitudes to carve out their own legacy.
By Gerard Helferich
Everyone knows that bees make honey—though actually most bee species don’t. Yet since all bees depend on flowering plants for food, they have evolved into the planet’s most proficient pollinators.