While I consider myself an avid reader throughout the year, there’s something about summer that lends itself to reading more frequently. Because Sophie loves to spend many days swimming, my favorite summer activity is laying by the pool reading a book. (Good thing we don’t actually have a pool or I’d never get any work done.) I’ve compiled for you a list of recommended summer reads. These are books that I’ve already read or are in my summer reading pile.
The Death of Santini, Pat Conroy — This is not a new release, but it was on my Amazon wish list for years. So when I found a hardcover for $1 at a used bookstore, I grabbed it for my summer reading. Ever since Prince of Tides, I’ve loved Pat Conroy’s gripping storytelling. The Death of Santini is a heart-wrenching act of reckoning whose ultimate conclusion is that love can soften even the meanest of men.
The Status of All Things, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke — I can’t wait to read this one written by two best friends! Here’s the premise: What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? This heartwarming and hilarious novel follows a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates. Given my feelings about Facebook, this one sounds awesome.
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, Kelli Estes — Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core ― and force her to make an impossible choice. Love that this is inspired by true events.
The Fig Orchard, Layla Fiske — Loved this book that was written by a San Diego author! In an isolated, tradition-bound village high above the Jordan River, 15-year-old Nisrina Huniah is torn between innocent imaginings and looming apprehensions as she marries a man she has never met, only to fall in love on the night they are wed. Her joy takes a heart-wrenching turn when the encroaching World War fiercely shatters her reality, propelling her on an unexpected journey where she develops friendships that ultimately alter her perception of herself and the world around her.
Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline — Molly Ayer is about to “age out” out of the foster care system. As part of her community service, she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.
Better Than Before: Master the Habits of Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin — This is not a novel, but I found this book by The Happiness Project author super insightful. I love how she writes about the different types of people and how we form habits. I learned a lot about myself and what motivates me by reading this. Highly recommend!
One Plus One, Jojo Moyes — I have not read Me Before You, which everyone seems to love, but this novel sounds promising. Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Jess’ life basically sucks (disappearing husband, crises with kids), until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue her. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be an obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean.
The Good Girl, Mary Kubica — SO GOOD! I read the majority of this book in one day. It’s a mystery that’s similar to Gone Girl, but with SUCH a more satisfying ending! Mia goes missing one day, and the book is told in the three points of view of her mother, a detective, and her captor, all of which paint a picture of what happened to her.
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins — Have not read it yet, but anything that is described as an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller sounds promising to me. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning where she is obsessed with seemingly perfect life of two other passengers. And then she sees something shocking, reports it to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved.
Tiny Little Things, Beatriz Williams — I love her books, which take place in the 1950s and 60s and I’m always up for a good family drama tale. In this one, Christina Hardcastle—“Tiny” to her illustrious family—stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Of the three Schuyler sisters, she’s the one raised to marry a man destined for leadership, and with her elegance and impeccable style, she presents a perfect camera-ready image in the dawning age of television politics. But as the season gets underway at the family estate on Cape Cod, three unwelcome visitors appear in Tiny’s perfect life.
Troika, Adam Pelzman — A young Cuban woman passes her nights dancing in a seedy Florida strip club; a Russian orphan loses everything, then builds a prosperous life for himself in New York; a woman struggles to maintain her dignity and hope after a life-changing accident. The three members of the troika are unexpectedly intertwined and discover a world that forces them to challenge their definitions of commitment, love and trust, a world that heals old wounds and inspires them to transform tragedy into beauty. This book reminds me of The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III, which I loved.
Under a Dark Summer Sky, Vanessa Lafaye — Maybe it’s because I just finished watching Bloodline on Netflix, but this book about tangled relationships set in 1935 Florida really appeals to me. It’s been 18 years since Henry went away to war. Still, Missy has waited and now he’s back, but she barely recognizes the desperate, destitute veteran he’s become. As tensions rise in the small community, a massive hurricane is on its way. Based on real historical events, Under a Dark Summer Sky evokes what happens when people, sweating under the weight of their pasts, are tested to the absolute limits of their endurance.
Thanks for reading this long list of book recommendations! Happy Reading!
Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what you’re reading this summer. Please give me some recommendations (because clearly I don’t have enough books in my TBR pile).
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