Can't Wait to Read!

Summer! Sea and sand, tall glasses of cold wheat beer with slices of lemon … but really I'm just looking forward to reading, same as I am come fall, winter, and spring. Some really excellent reads of all stripes came out in May (looking at you, Wordslut), but I've chosen books I'm most likely to toss in my bag before a week away.

All books on this week's Can't Wait to Read list came out this month, and are listed below in alphabetical order by author. As with any book we feature in Spine, we encourage you to head to your local library or bookstore to grab a copy. If you are an author, agent, or publicist and would like to serve as a guest "chooser" for Can't Wait to Read, contact Susanna at


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 1 by Jordie Bellaire, illustrated by Dan Mora, based on characters created by Joss Whedon

How old am I? Buffy old, and while I'm not a huge fanfic fan, I'm excited to discover how this pair of award-winning comic-world rockstars will bring Buffy Summers and the gang at Sunnydale High into the current era. 


The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

From where I sit (alone, scrolling Twitter), everyone seems to be reading The Bride Test, Hoang's rom-com about a man on the autism spectrum and the woman his mother brings home from Vietnam to be, she hopes, his wife. If everyone's reading it, I want to read it, too!


Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Keane's new book promises beautifully written prose exploring love and tragedy and family. The colors used on the cover immediately brought to my mind the cover of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere. I ate up that book, and if the cover design is hinting at a similar reading experience, I'll happily take the suggestion.


The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

True Confession: I frequently communicate with members of my household via text. Dinner at 6! Send me your grocery lists! Who wants to walk the dog? And so this romance about two flatmates who fall in love via Post-It Notes absolutely rings true, and charming. Beach read for sure.


Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

I love short stories. As a writer, I admire the form, and the skill required to master it. As a reader, I crave them because they offer a perfect narrative experience in the span of a few pages. Russell's knack for conveying the weird in lovely language is a great gift, and I'm pleased to have a new opportunity to receive it.


These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling

I live in Salem, Massachusetts, but more importantly I am mere weeks away from the "mom I'm bored" refrain from my two YA readers. Isabel Sterling's Salem-based debut "These Witches Don't Burn," about Elemental Witch Hannah dealing with high school drama plus the stress of hiding her magic, seems like a perfect place for my kids to begin their summer reading.


Spine Authors Editor Susanna Baird grew up inhaling paperbacks in Central Massachusetts, and now lives and works in Salem. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Boston Magazine, BANG!, Failbetter, and Publishers Weekly. She's the founder of the Salem Longform Writers' Group, and serves on the Salem Literary Festival committee. When not wrangling words, she spends time with her family, mostly trying to pry the cat's head out of the dog's mouth, and helps lead The Clothing Connection, a small Salem-based nonprofit dedicated to getting clothes to kids who need them. Online, you can find her at and on Twitter @SusannaBaird.