My absolute most favorite thing about summer is by far, summer reading.
There is nothing better than sitting outside on your front porch, on the back deck, under a big rainbow beach umbrella, or under the shade of a big tree, and getting completely lost in a good book. The best is when an addictive plot meets fascinating characters in a detailed setting and all of these elements meld together in an alchemy of well-crafted prose. It’s a special kind of magic.
Taking the time out to read is one of the ways I practice mindful self-care. I always feel so much better when I do this, so I’ve set an intention this summer to devour as many books as I can. I’d like to share twelve of my favorite picks with you:
Enchanted Islands by Alison Amend
The New York Times book review describes this as “An endearing chronicle of female friendship and evolution in the early 20th century…Amend smartly plies the habitually under-recognized bonds of sisterhood…[she] displays her talent for making solitary humans the most alluring animals among blue-footed boobies, great frigatebirds and the rest of Darwin’s magnificent crew. On an island bursting with nature’s most remarkable creatures, humanity’s depthless capacity for loneliness crows most keenly.”
Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins
In this 2015 National Book Award nominee “Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days. After striking-out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father.” This is the story about how this long walk rebuilds their relationship before it’s too late.
Home is Burning by Dan Marshall
When Dan Marshall’s father is diagnosed with ALS while his mom is undergoing treatment for cancer, Marshall quits his job in LA and moves back to Utah to care for his ailing family, including his several siblings and pets. What follows is hilarious, heartbreaking and one of the most entertaining and touching memoirs I have ever read.
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
This one is coming out at the beginning of September but I had to include it after reading an advanced copy. Preorder this one so you don’t forget about it. It’s powerful, raw, beautiful and you will weep as you learn some tough lessons right along with the author. The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.
This is Not My Beautiful Life by Victoria Fedden
A real-life Arrested Development that could only unfold in southern Florida, This Is Not My Beautiful Life is a hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving memoir of a just-functional family you’ll never forget. One of Publisher’s Weekly’s ten most anticipated memoirs of 2016, it’s the story of how the author lost her parents to prison at the same time she became a new mom.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
I first discovered West on NPR and was hooked by her with, charm and compassion. “With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing.”
So Sad Today by Melissa Broder
Hands down, the best book of essays I’ve ever read.
“From acclaimed poet and creator of the popular Twitter account @sosadtoday comes a darkly funny and brutally honest collection of essays.” Broder writes about sex, anxiety, spirituality, and the complexity of relationships in the Internet age. I dare you not to find yourself on every page.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A must read. “The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.” I wept through the whole thing. In a good way.
Real Artists Have Day Jobs by Sara Benincasa
Reading Sara Benincasa’s new collection of essays feels like hanging out with your best friend. “While the practical aspects of new adulthood can be nerve-wracking—dating, job-hunting, money-managing—the most important task of all is figuring out who you are and where you fit in the world. Author and comedian Sara Benincasa, now in her mid-thirties, had an absolutely harrowing early twenties and now, on the other side, she has a LOT of hard-earned wisdom and common sense to share.”
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
This book motivated me like nothing else. All about overcoming resistance. “The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.” Once you read this, you won’t want to stop creating.
You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
These books go together and once you finish You, you’ll immediately HAVE to start reading Hidden Bodies. This is a thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn and the like. Told from the point of view of the sexiest, most disturbing serial killer of all time, these books are sharp, satirical, addictive, wonderfully wicked and even delightfully funny. The characters are unforgettable and you can’t help but love the psychopathic Joe.
These should keep you busy for at least a couple weeks!
Enjoy your summer and happy reading!
Author: Victoria Fedden
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Unsplash/Tamara Menzi