John Green
Credit: Marina Waters, 2014

Today, after this past weekend’s BookCon in New York and at the official start of June, it seems like a great time to talk about what we’re going to read this summer. That’s why, right before the Paper Towns panel at BookCon, we asked author, reader, and all-around smart guy John Green what he’ll be reading this summer and if he had any beach-appropriate novels to recommend to his fans.

While Green admitted that his own beach reads have been a little unorthodox at times (“I remember on my honeymoon, my wife and I read the very dark Philip Roth novel, Everyman, while on the beach in the British Virgin Islands. It was lovely”), he did have some more conventional summer reads that might be of interest to his readers. In addition to naming some of his current favorite authors—like Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell—Green called out two books that he plans on reading this summer. (One’s in stores, one’s due out in September.)

“This summer I’m looking forward to reading Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen,” he said. “I’m really excited to read the new M.T. Anderson novel [Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad]. It’s not typical beach read. It’s about the siege of Leningrad, but I’m very excited.”

And when it comes to recommending beach reads to others, Green thinks keeping things interesting throughout is key. “I do think that when you’re outside, and it’s summertime, you want to read to something that’s pretty page turn-y,” he said. “I enjoy a thriller or a romance.” A book that fits that bill for Green is Philip Kerr’s trilogy of detective novels, collected as Berlin Noir. “It’s so good. Once you get into it, you’ll roar through it,” Green said. “The private eye Bernie Gunther is very likeably unlikeable, which I love in a mystery hero.”