Add These Books to Your Summer Reading List
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The pandemic and resulting quarantine periods inspired a lot of us to pick up new hobbies. Whether it was baking, puzzles or crocheting, people found things to keep themselves busy. But myself and many others used this newfound free time to return to a tried and true pastime: reading. On Instagram, I saw recommendations for books teaching people how to be actively anti-racist. And I quickly ended up on “booktok” as my ‘For You’ page on TikTok became flooded with users ranking their favorite books, listing their monthly reads, or showing the books they want to read soon.
While I’m not at the level of my favorite booktok-ers, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books I’ve read in the last year, just in time for summer beach reading:
Best Romance: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
I love reading romance novels because often times the love stories are so ridiculous that it makes them the perfect guilty pleasure read. The Flatshare blends quirky romance with real issues like emotionally abusive relationships and a racist criminal justice system. It keeps the story grounded in reality and reminds the reader that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, while still giving them a love story to root for.
Jasmine Guillory is a brilliant Black female writer and I’ve read a handful of her books. While they can be cheesy, Guillory’s books are a perfect escape on a particularly tough quarantine day. My favorite is The Wedding Date because the couple is realistic and, without spoiling anything, I love how their story came full circle at the end.
Best Thriller: Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham *Top Pick
Taking a big shift from romance, Good Girl, Bad Girl has an insane, page-turning plot. I finished this book in one day, and immediately ordered When She Was Good, the sequel. Robotham seamlessly weaves three storylines together in this thriller and each one is just as intriguing. I felt like I was watching a horror movie because I was always questioning who the “bad guys” were, while still feeling immense empathy for each character.
Best Drama: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In this world, Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood icon with many previous lovers, and the book details her life and loves. We hear both her story and the story of the journalist interviewing her. While the double plot lines can get confusing and it felt slow to me for the first 100 pages or so, by the end it truly lived up to the hype. The book is broken into sections based on each husband, which makes for easy pacing if you are just getting back into reading. With a perfect mix of love and hope and sadness and regret, The Seven Husbands will pull at your heartstrings.
Best Memoir/Biography: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 while his children were still young. Professors at the university are often asked to give a “last lecture” before ending their careers to impart wisdom on the audience. Pausch was already diagnosed with terminal cancer when he gave his lecture and titled it, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” The book does outline his childhood dreams, but also goes deeper into his battle with cancer and his love for his wife and kids. Pausch provides so many lessons to be learned and inspires the reader through his positivity about his illness. I probably cried over 20 times reading this book, but laughed just as many. It’s a beautifully written book about a terribly sad situation that is unfortunately very real for many. Have tissues handy if you read this one!
Most Excited to Start: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I am very excited to read this book that so many have raved about. I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt and really enjoyed it, so I have high hopes for this one.
Posted by Hayley