There’s just something special about diving into a great book over the summer. It feels like such an indulgence. Losing yourself in a good book is a deeply personal experience — an escape of sorts — but sharing a good book is also a wonderful way to connect with friends, family, and neighbors. So we’re super excited to share our top summer book picks with you; there’s something here for every kind of reader.
Our Top Summer Book Picks
The “it” book this summer: City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Everyone’s talking about Elizabeth Gilbert’s new release — a fictional memoir of a love story set in New York in the 1940s. City of Girls is a sensual exploration of femininity, independence, and virtue. Even better: TheSkimm says it “pairs well with a cocktail…or two.” Count me in.
The other “it” book this summer: Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
With an off-the-charts ranking on Amazon (4.8 stars from more than 15,000 reviewers…seriously, wowza, those are some amazing stats, friends), this book is simply the perfect summer read. It’s a story of abandonment, survival, and ingenuity that will live with you for a long time.
If you want it all in one book: There, There, by Tommy Orange
This book has been hailed as “masterful,” “stunning,” “heartbreaking,” “electrifying,” “funny,” and “brilliant,” among other accolades. It traces the intersecting lives and travels of twelve different characters hailing from Native communities. As the jacket describes, “this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.” There, There is a quick read that seriously packs it in.
If you’re mourning the end of Game of Thrones and need a fantasy replacement: The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin
This is the first of Jemison’s books in The Broken Earth series, and it’s gotten hype and praise from virtually every media and literary outlet. The Fifth Season is a dystopian novel set in a far-in-the-future, shattered Earth — Jemison is a master of fantasy and mythology… prepare to be mesmerised.
If you miss your college classics class: Circe, by Madeline Miller
Circe is a creative retelling of Odysseus’s epic saga from a different point of view. Think: the Wicked of Greek mythology. Miller’s writing is gorgeous and the story is utterly captivating.
Non-fiction pick: Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, by Brigid Schulte
Overwhelmed is SUCH a great book for busy parents. Schulte is a smart, hilarious writer, and she taps into some real issues in this book. With chapter titles like “Too Busy to Live,” “The Cult of Intensive Motherhood,” and “Finding Time,” Overwhelmed sheds light on why we feel so oppressively busy and stressed out all the time and offers some strategies for mitigating “the overwhelm.” This book will resonate with parents from all walks of life — make sure to have a friend read it too, because you’re going to want to talk to someone about this one.
If you wish you could read Big Little Lies for the first time again: White Elephant, by Julie Langsdorf
If you love getting swept up in suburban drama, this one’s for you. TheSkimm described White Elephant as “Little Fires Everywhere meets Big Little Lies,” and that’s spot on. Featuring a playful cast of characters in an idyllic residential community outside DC, White Elephant is a snarky, entertaining look at some of the issues dividing American communities today — old vs. new, local vs. national, preservation vs. development.
Historical fiction pick: Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
Manhattan Beach is a juicy, plot-driven page-turner set in the Depression/WWII-era time period. The book tells the story of a young woman in search of the truth about her family’s past as well as her own future. With rich descriptions of life in New York in the 1930s and 1940s (mobs, and gangsters, and docks, oh my!), it’s an especially fun pick if you know and love NYC.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for Now and Then: The Friends We Keep, by Jane Green
Green’s classic beach read is a story of college friends reuniting decades later in life; get ready for “love, grief, and forgiveness,” as Kirkus Reviews says.
If you love guessing what will happen next: Searching for Sylvie Lee, by Jean Kwok
A beautifully-written mystery novel, Searching for Sylvie Lee was one of the most highly-anticipated releases this year. It’s an incredible, powerful story about the women in one Chinese immigrant family’s attempts to track down the eldest daughter in the family, Sylvie. Make sure you have some time when you dig into this one — you won’t want to put it down.
If you talk to your sister on the daily: Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner
Mrs. Everything is on literally every book list right now. It’s an engrossing novel following the lives of two sisters over time. With a jacket cover that asks how should a woman be in the world?, this is another great pick for book clubs.
If you’re still pumped up from Pride Month: Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, by T. Kira Madden
A friend recommended this book to me, and it’s gotten so much positive coverage already: it’s a “crooked and beautiful” coming-of-age memoir from a queer, bi-racial author who’s also struggling to come to terms with the loss of her father. This is a powerful, intense book, and it comes at an important moment in time.
If you want something both beautiful and haunting: The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
The Mothers follows the life of Nadia Turner, a young woman raised in a church-going black community in SoCal. It’s an ambitious, wonderfully-written story about love, independence, family, and making hard choices.
If you want a graceful take on a dysfunctional-family book: Saints for All Occasions, by J. Courtney Sullivan
All of Sullivan’s books are fantastic beach reads, but Saints for All Occasions deserves special mention. It’s a story about two sisters who emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in the mid-1900s. Set in Catholic Boston, this is a beautiful tale of family, duty, and grace.
If you need a book to connect: The Storyteller’s Secret, by Sejal Badani
A captivating book woven between present-day America and pre-WWII India, this is a story of infertility, marital collapse, and a trip that unravels a long-kept family secret.
If you want to be inspired: Becoming, Michelle Obama
An intimate and powerful memoir by the former First Lady of the United States, Becoming invites readers into Michelle Obama’s world, giving them a deep look into the experiences that have shaped her. If you want to get inspired by a woman who defied expectations, this book is for you!
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