Book Your Summer with These Great Reads

Kick back poolside or at the beach, swing lazily in a hammock, or snuggle up on cozy couch and grab one of these books. This isn’t the list Bill Gates would recommend. But that’s okay; this one is better.

So you want some family drama to escape your own?


Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
A home explosion leaves Alice Reid’s lover, daughter, and her daughter’s fiancé dead on the eve before the wedding. Devastated and directionless, Alice hits the road in attempt to find meaning while those she leaves behind attempt to understand.

The Girls by Emma Cline
Evie Boyd leaves her broken family for a different kind of dysfunction—a cult. Cline’s debut hearkens back to Manson family days and you won’t be able to put this book down. Promise.

So you like to escape with historical fiction?


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
It’s 1940 in Paris. A young, blind Marie-Laure and her father flee home to escape the Nazis. Meanwhile in Germany, Werner, an expert at building and fixing radios, gets recruited into the Hitler Youth Academy. Gorgeous prose brings these two together in a most astonishing way.

Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan
It’s 1947 in Taiwan. Dr. Tsai delivers his youngest daughter only to be captured weeks later by Chinese Nationalists and imprisoned on Green Island. The decades long drama spanning two continents covers the love, isolation, betrayal, and survival across two generations of the Tsai family.

So you like to read YA while on holiday?


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
What is there to do in 1986 when you are 16 and living in Omaha, Nebraska? Not a whole lot, actually. Eleanor Douglas has flaming red hair, a full figure, and an eclectic sense of style. Park Sheridan is half Korean and short for his age. He’s also more inspired by comics and alternative music than his father’s love of taekwondo. At the outset, the pair is an unlikely match. But after school bus bullying leaves Eleanor without a seat, Park acquiesces and scoots over, keeping his ear buds firmly in place. As the days progress, Eleanor begins sneaking peeks as Park reads his comics, and a complicated friendship forms. The two share mix tapes, uncomfortable feelings, and first love in a book that captures teenage crushing and conflict perfectly.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Cadence Sinclair has spent every summer on her grandparents’ private island near Martha’s Vineyard. Reuniting each year with her cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and family friend Gat, the fearsome foursome comes to be known as The Liars. But summer 15 proves eventful,l and Cadence is involved in a horrible accident, leaving her with severe migraines, a tainted memory, and unable to return for summer 16. It’s the following summer that the horrifying truth is revealed.

 So you like books that will break your heart but keep you reading?

Gut WrenchingMe Before You by JoJo Moyes
Sweet and quirky Louisa Clark is out of work and unaware of her potential. Arrogant and wealthy Will Traynor is a former playboy and adventure-seeking, hot-shot executive struggling to live life as a quadriplegic after a shocking motorcycle accident. Louisa reluctantly signs on as Will’s daytime caregiver and companion as a means for employment. She quickly finds herself overwhelmed but intrigued by the stubborn and sarcastic Will. He is miserable; she is persistent. Together, they make an unconventional pair in this gut-wrenching love story.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Jude, JB, Willem, and Malcolm meet in college and create unique bond that spans four decades. This friendship feels as tight as a close-knit family, but it is not without strain and heartache. Jude is the glue that holds the four together, despite his inability (or is it unwillingness?) to truly share himself and the unimaginable trauma he experienced as a child. This trauma has recurring impacts on the four as they navigate their lives and it tests their friendship in ways they could have never imagined. Heart-wrenching, maddening, and completely compelling, you won’t want to put it down.  

So you’re more into classics but still want to read something relevant?


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Don’t let the hoopla around Go Set A Watchman fool you. If you are going to read a book by Harper Lee, it must be her classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. It has stood the test of time and proves itself as relevant today as it did when it was originally published in 1960.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
If you missed it as a kid or if it’s been fifteen-twenty years, now is the time. Holden Caulfield is the adolescent/innocent abroad in Manhattan in a no-doubt tamer era. But his angst is still poignant, and so very touching. You’ll be laughing and maybe even crying some at his attempts to find just a little peace and understanding.

So you want a highly readable non-fiction book in which you’ll learn something and still be entertained?

Non-Fiction A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles by Mary Elizabeth Williams
First, it’s Mary Elizabeth. Second, it’s a game-changer. Third, it’s best—tongue-in-cheek—when writers get cancer since they write better. Williams was a young mom of two girls when she was diagnosed with Stage Four melanoma. What follows is a medical miracle, and Williams talks love, family, friendship, and science. Real science. Made accessible to the likes of non-science types. It’s amazing, and the ramifications will touch many. Plus, she includes a nice and important shout-out to Gilda Radner.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
This collection of essays reads like fiction because that’s how good Patchett is. Reading this will teach you that non-fiction doesn’t have to cover history or require heavy lifting. Instead, in the right hands, stories of life, love, marriages (both bad and good), art, and dogs can keep you turning pages.

So you don’t have time to commit to a full-blown novel? 

StoriesSingle Carefree and Mellow: Stories by Katherine Heiny.
If you don’t want the commitment of a hefty novel, pick up this collection of stories that will have you cringe at the characters bad choices while reveling in the great writing.

Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories by Aryn Kyle
Looks like chick-lit. Sounds like chick-lit. So much better than the typical chick-lit.


That should keep you busy for a bit. Chime in and let us know your thoughts on these or any other great reads you pick up over the summer.

Happy Reading, Snotties!