Look, I love to read. But I’m not very good at keeping up with the hot new books. Some of this stems from realizing I was dropping like $100 a month on new books and then making a move to read only what the library had available on Kindle. (Can somebody explain to me why there are limited copies of Kindle books… can’t you just digitally make like 1 billion copies of a book… I don’t understand technology.) Some of this stems from just being lazy. Some of this stems from the fact I love crap books. (Crap meaning “not particularly literary and sort of embarrassing to admit you’ve read.”)
So it is with all of that authority that I give you Catherine’s Summer Reading List. None of these books are new or even new-ish (with the exception of one or two), or particularly “literary,” but, by my standards, they’re great for the pool, the beach, or the bus stop as you sweat endlessly into the day as you wait to go to your draining 9 to 5. Cheers!
(Cup of Jo had a good and current books round up here, by the way.)
If You Feel Unhealthily Obsessed With the Upcoming Nuptials of Meghan and Harry:
It’s about an American who falls in love with British royalty. And it’s by internet sheroes the Fug Girls. As my friend Becky reviewed, “This book is like junk food, in that it has very little nutritional value but once you start reading it it's impossible to stop. 100% pure wish-fulfillment fantasy and so much fun.”
If You Feel Like Wondering About the Dark Psyche of Humankind and Also Want to Worry Somebody Is Going to Murder You
Tana French has got to be one of my favorite authors writing today. You’d be mistaken to think her books are just psychological murder thrillers (though, they are, and very very good ones at that). They are complex and masterful studies of human natures and character portraits. In the Woods is the first of several books in her Dublin Murder Squad series, and I think the best. But they’re all great.
If You Feel Like Maybe You Should Be an Immortal Exiled Witch Who Hates Men?
Witches, shitty men getting their comeuppance, magic, myth, nature, spell, feminism, all lyrically written… the best book I’ve read this year.
If You Feel Like Shouting “Yes” Into the Disappointing Void of Your Life
Even incredibly talented and successful and rich people feel like they’re walking through their own lives underwater sometimes. Shonda Rhimes wrote about how she tried to wake up a little bit, and it’s a fun and inspiring and really easy read. My Goodreads review: “I liked this book a lot more than I expected especially because I don't actually watch any of Rhimes' shows and I find her writing style a little grating. But her journey (sorry, hate that word, but apt here) of self-empowerment is a really nice and fun read with a lot of great messages for women of how to become more confident and really self-possessed in their lives and do the things they want to do.”
If You Feel Like Feeling Depressed But Also Philosophical and Somewhat Uplifted
I’m obsessed with therapy and psychoanalysis. The stories we live and tell ourselves are usually covers for a deeper story going on. So I enjoyed this book, vignettes from a therapist telling stories his patients are going through. A good read for anybody who's interested in psychoanalysis or just in very human tales.
If You Feel Exhausted by Tech Bros and Want to See Them Taken Down a Peg
Men in this book are trash; the women are the developed, interesting characters. I don’t really know anything about startup culture, but it felt both stereotypical but accurate at the same time. Fun and breezy and though almost zero of the characters are likeable, you come to root for a few of them.
If You Want to Feel Wrecked But Also Marvel at Incredible Storytelling Talent
This book has the most 5-star reviews amongst my friends on Goodreads and it deserves it. Two daughters in Ghana in the 1700s who will never meet. One stays in Ghana, one goes into slavery, and the stories of their descendants… one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years.
If You Feel Like If Only Sherlock Were A Lady
The mysteries don’t super make sense, but this is a fun fictional reimagination if Sherlock were instead a cherubic blond lady who is still pretty weird.
If You Feel Like 10 Years After the Show Aired You Still Need Some Logan Echolls In Your Life
Did you know Rob Thomas continues Veronica Mars’ story in books?? And they’re good? Each book is like a two-hour episode of the show. A solid mystery, sparkling dialogue, Veronica grappling with her dark side, and yes, Logan Echolls is in both.
If You Feel Like Pondering Love and Race and Humanity and America’s Essential Strangeness
Have you not read this yet? What’s wrong with you. Come on. Get your life together.
If You Feel Like You’re Ready to Move to a Cabin in the Woods and Ponder Our Society’s Destructive Relationship with Nature But Also Feel Uplifted
Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors is this one of my favorite books of hers. I think I like this book so much because it’s just so evocative about nature in summer -- the heat, the haze, the laziness, the tension. There are three main plots about people in all sorts of relationships that eventually intertwine. Also it features a woman in her 40s living alone in a cabin in the woods in the woods of Appalachia, which is pretty much goals for me.
If You Feel Like Reading a Fizzy Romance Novel Because Romance is Utterly Lacking From Your Life
It’s a romance novel and a fun fizzy one at that. This is like the concept of beach read come to life. Enjoy it this summer.