By Contributor Caylin Harris
When I was a little kid, the big bonus about summertime was that I could stay up as late as I wanted and read. The books on my school-issued summer reading list were only suggestions because it was pretty much a guarantee that I’d already read the required two books. It comes as no surprise that I wasn’t a cool kid. Overly serious and mature, I related more to people on the pages of the books I read than my classmates. The second I could write my name in messy scrawl I signed up for a library card.
But summer reading always feels like more of a treat. You sneak in a few pages laying on the beach or sitting by the pool with coffee or a mimosa in hand. These days since we’re barely leaving the house, books are my favorite indulgence—I could buy them endlessly and with a reckless disregard for cost. It’s dangerous.
Here are a few picks that I’ve already read or are on my summer short list. I hope you love them as much as I do, tell us your own summer reading list in the comments:
So, so excited for this debut novel. Everyone I know who’s read it raves about it. It’s about two women, Alix and Emira, Emira is Alix’s nanny and gets confronted by a security guard who thinks she kidnapped Alix’s toddler because Emira is a young black woman and the toddler is white. The book wrestles with topics that feel especially timely right now: societal misconceptions, race, and what it means to be a woman today.
I love reading essays, it’s especially helpful if you’re short on time. You can put the book down and pick it up when you can. This book was written as a series of autobiographical essays that delve into the idea of how we both find and lose ourselves. Full of fun info and facts, you’ll discover so much about the world and yourself reading them.
Sometimes you just need a playful thriller that makes you want to keep reading into the wee hours. This book is set in Long Island against a backdrop of wealth, private schools, and secret societies. The main character Jill, who’s in her senior year, is forced to go back and revisit the murder of her best friend at the hands of her boyfriend when she get texts proclaiming his innocence.
I can’t wait to read this book. It’s about identical twin sisters that grew up together in a small, southern black community, and how each of their lives were changed and molded by their communities and racial identities when one of the sisters moves away and passes as white. I love generational family stories, they always feel especially relevant and provocative.
Another thriller, this one seems perfectly timed with how many woman-owned businesses have undergone a reckoning lately. It’s about a woman only co-working space with a charismatic founder who mysteriously disappears. Two sisters are pulled into the drama and have to deal with secrets that come out when they start move past the shiny, filtered fronts women put up.
Another timely read, this nonfiction book deals with our fear regarding our health and safety, especially for parents. She also addresses our fear of government, the medical field, and what may be in our children’s air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. It’s not dry at all and she writes about science with plenty of mythological and autobiographical stories woven in. It also explores the idea of how ultimately we can’t protect ourselves from the entire world and how interconnected we all are.
Anyone who’s a fan of the 90s movie The Craft knows how wrong things can go when high school girls mess around with magic. A girl named Olivia ends up drawn to a trio of girls at the place where her missing father was last seen, The Levitation Center. The girls are trying to learn how to meditate and levitate. Obviously things start to spin out of control and Olivia is forced to learn about faith, love, and intimacy.
All about what it takes to make a friendship last—through jobs, moves, life transitions, and more. Written by two real life friends and the hosts of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they bring their same unfiltered and frank voice to this book. It’s all about how to maintain and appreciate these important and often taken for granted relationships and the importance of the emotional investment.
Reading a series in the summer is the best. The pace of life is a little slower so it’s a little easier to get on a roll and I will tell you these books have such cliffhangers. There are four books currently and the fifth book is coming out in September, so if you get through these now you’ll be ready! The whole series follows the adventures of a gruff, ex-military private investigator and his assistant-turned-partner Robin. Lots of creepy twists and turns and different villains, you won’t be able to put these down.
I’ve mentioned this in Click. Read. Love. but these books are so much fun. I’m flying through them. It’s about a witch named Diana Bishop, who’s incredibly powerful but doesn’t know it yet. A professor doing research at Oxford, she’s pulled into a new world filled with vampires and demons when she checks out an ancient text that everyone wants to get their hands on. With forbidden romance, magic, and lots of fun historical details, it’s such an enjoyable, immersive read.