I just returned from a beach vacation where I packed more books than clothes. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect getaway? A bunch of books, a sandy beach, and nowhere to be? Ah, heaven! Alas, back here in real life we may not be able to disappear for a whole day, but we can get lost for an hour. Here are my five favorite books of the summer to help inspire a delightful mini-break.
Into the Drowning Deep
Hands down, Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is my favorite book of 2021. Described to me perfectly as “Jurassic Park, but with mermaids” this book is the definition of un-put-downable. I can’t wait to see the movie. (No, it’s not yet on deck to be a movie. I’m just willing it so.) Bonus points for queer characters and neuro-diverse characters that are just details like being blonde or liking classic rock music. We need more of this in literature.
The Paris Library
I too am concerned about how and why “World War II from a lady’s perspective” is a whole genre, but I’m totally here for it. This version of that story takes us into the life of a young woman working in the American Library in Paris at the time while also flipping to the narrative of a teenager in Montana in 1983. No, I didn’t know how it would work either, but it did and it was great. Based on the true stories of librarians of the time, I guarantee you’ll Google some finer points of history when you finish the book.
Girl, Woman, Other
What the world needs now is not love (though it is also love). It is the ability to consider a life in someone else’s shoes. Even the most empathetic among us will have a tough time with that exercise if left to our own imagination, which is why Girl, Woman, Other shines. This book of loosely woven short stories gives us a glimpse into the world from a variety of perspectives while it entertains with lyrical prose. I listened to this one as an audiobook which may have enhanced the experience as each story was literally given a different voice. However you choose to read it, please just get it on your list.
One To Watch
What a delight! As someone who is proud to say I’ve never watched anything from the Bachelor series, I still really enjoyed this easy, breezy read. In it, we follow Bea Schumacher as she goes from online influencer to TV star. That comes with some perks, but also a lot of opposite-of-perks as she’s the first plus-sized main character of this very Bachelorette-like series. You root for her from the first page and it all works out in the end. Sometimes that’s all we need.
The Lager Queen of Minnesota
Family, beer, a good work ethic – what more could a Midwestern-based book ask for? This is another one with a relatively light plot that keeps the pages turning. If you want to be entertained by a book that feels close to home, this one answers the call.
Honorable Mention (Because it’s just too hard to only pick five books!)
- The Guncle by Steven Rowley – A perfect summer read that marries joy, loss, grief, addiction, and family with a rediscovery of a sense of self, an adopted dog, Christmas in July, and the happiest cover you ever did see. This book is the love child of Ted Lasso and Jonathan Van Ness. If laughter through tears is your favorite emotion, The Guncle is a can’t miss.
- Greenwood by Michael Christie – Set up a hammock between some gorgeous trees and disappear into this generational family saga. It’s masterfully constructed and is the perfect read for someone who loves to sit out in the summer sun and read a book that fully transports them!
- Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – A super spicy romance novel featuring a BIPOC lead with a chronic illness who falls for a ginger who rides a motorcycle. The first in a fantastic series!
The Hype Squad
The hype around these books is LOUD so any of these would be a great pickup for your summer reading adventures and you’ll likely find many a fellow reader who will happily jump into a conversation with you about it on a balmy summer evening:
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
- People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
- The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
- Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid