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What Are You Reading Right Now?

What Are You Reading Right Now?

Summer. Reading. Like peanut butter and chocolate, or lemonade and iced tea, some things just go perfectly together. To that end, here are three (very different) books the Cup of Jo team has loved lately, and we’d love to hear what you’ve been reading…

What Are You Reading Right Now?

Good Talk by Mira Jacobs
I’m generally a slow reader, but I flew through this graphic memoir in a single day. Good Talk shares real conversations, often about race, love and parenting, that the East Indian author has had. Think: a relatable argument with her husband, a heartfelt talk with her mom, endearing chats with her six-year-old. Jacob’s son, especially, asks lots of questions about race, and she tries to answer them but doesn’t always know how. (After Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, she and her son had this exchange: “Is it bad to be brown?” “What no! It’s great being brown! We look good in colors! We have history! We don’t get skin cancer as easily!” “Why are you yelling at me?” “I don’t know!”) The book is beautiful, humorous and always honest. Highly recommend. — Joanna

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Sometimes, while reading a book, I’ll stop and think how much I’m enjoying the prose or the story. Other times — much less frequently — I’ll stop and think that I am reading something important. This is such a book. Eight years in the making, Three Women is the painstakingly researched true story of three women’s sex lives — a stay-at-home mother in suburban Indiana, a twentysomething in North Dakota, and a restaurant owner in the Northeast. Taddeo delves deep into each woman’s desires, including how their formative experiences helped shape who they became. Although it’s nonfiction, it reads like a novel and has been called everything from “brilliant” to “voyeuristic” to “poetic.” It is, more than anything, the kind of book that starts conversations. And that is enough for me. — Caroline

When You Read This by Mary Adkins
I picked up When You Read This one night before bed and immediately felt wide awake and sucked in. The epistolary novel is told in emails, texts, blog posts, online therapy sessions, even legal documents. Without giving away too much, I found the romantic comedy — about a man trying to fulfill his late friend’s last wish — both completely wrenching and hilarious. I mean like, crazy funny. The offbeat story about love, family and mortality really sticks with you. The ideal summer read. — Kelsey

Have you read anything good lately? Do tell! More favorite books are on our editors’ picks, if you’d like to see.

P.S. More book posts, including reader comments on books, the romance of reading in bed, and the funniest beach read.

  1. Savannah says...

    This is the first book post comment section I’ve had to stop reading! I’m due in September and I know I will want to read ever single book recommended and will end up with twenty library books I forget to return once Nora gets here! You are the smartest most interesting comment section ever.

    • Juliet says...

      Stock up on those books! My mom went to the library for me right before my baby was born and I was so grateful she did. I stayed in bed with baby for 2 weeks after my home birth and it was the BEST. It’s the best way to allow your body to fully recover. I read a few books and was instead of binging on TV shows postpartum and I always remember it as a glorious bonding time. Happy reading!!

    • Diany says...

      have you considered a Kindle or other reading device? I had a baby 3 months ago and my husband gave me one as a ‘push present’ haha. Best present ever. So light and easy to hold while breastfeeding, and because it has its own light I find myself reaching for it during the night feeds. I have even delayed putting my baby back in his crib because i don’t want to stop reading!! Many libraries allow you to borrow e-books so you don’t even have to spend that much

    • Nora says...

      From another Nora – if you’re able to, get an e-reader! I had a baby last September and had such a hard time managing a book and nursing a baby at the same time – the e-reader has allowed me to read more than ever! Welcome new Nora

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Yes! Cup of Jo really does have the smartest, most interesting and most respectful comment section I’ve ever come across. It’s almost unbelievable. Congrats on your baby – and enjoy your books.

    • Erin says...

      Strongly second the e-reader! Mine was a new baby must-have. You can easily and silently read one-handed in any light situation. Most libraries check out e-books through their website, do you don’t even need to leave the house!

  2. christine says...

    Recently finished A Woman is No Man, by Etaf Rum, about a Palestinian woman who moves to America for an arranged marriage. Her story is heart breaking, but the writing is amazing. Also loved The Last Year of the War, the life story of two women who meet in an internment camp in Texas. One Japanese, the other German. Never heard before that Germans were put in internment camps. Great read.

  3. I’m currently obsessed with “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.” I certainly wouldn’t call it a fun summer read, but it a completely fascinating look at the troubles in Northern Ireland, and I can’t put it down.

    • nmr says...

      +1. Such an amazing book!

  4. elinor says...

    I’m reading Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, and it’s great so far!!

  5. Bonnie Friesen says...

    Can we just talk about the LIBRARY for a moment? All of these books sounded amazing, so I immediately logged online to my regional library and placed a hold on each book to have them delivered to my closest pick up location. Where, in a few days, I will lazily and blissfully bike down the road with a picnic blanket to pick them ALL up and read them on said blanket by the river. FOR FREE. The library is the single biggest revelation of my summer. Thanks for the reco’s, friends.

    • jdp says...

      Second that! The library is an everyday miracle. Our whole family is addicted.

    • Joey says...

      YES! All hail the public library!

    • Maire says...

      As a librarian myself I am always glad to see folks who are delighted by the wonders of the library! Keep up the praise and encourage everyone you know to get a library card and use it!

    • Helen says...

      I finally got a library card after spending almost two decades buying books! I love that I can save money and that I get to walk up the pretty steps of the New York Public Library to borrow books. After reading everyone’s suggestions, my holds are quite lengthy : )

    • Owl says...

      So true!!! I always marvel at how progressive the concept of a library is! It’s so amazing if you think about. What a privilege to have access to all of these books and resources for free. (Except for my late fees! Lol! I think of them as a donation to the library!)

    • Barbara says...

      Yes! I love the library, too! I’ve been downloading titles using Libby (a library app) both as e-books and as audiobooks for a few years now, and it’s revolutionary – I often put a book on hold and then forget about it, so when it pops up it’s like I sent a present to my future self. Thanks for the reminder that I can still go pick up books in person, too. I couldn’t find Three Women as an e-book so I placed a (LONG) hold on the physical copy!

    • Erin says...

      “The library is an everyday miracle.” Well said, JDP!

      Our family uses an extra large beach bag for our library trips for all the books that go back and forth to our house. The amount of money we’ve saved on graphic novels they inhale in a couple of hours alone!

      Ours also has amazing programming. We’ve seen operas, ballets, marimba bands – all up close and for FREE!

    • Hannah says...

      I’m a HUGE fan of the library and every time I move it’s one of the first places I go. And on that note, you should all read The Library Book which details a lot about the significance of libraries in history :)

  6. Katie says...

    In the past couple of weeks I’ve read The Farm and The Incendiaries and both were really great!

    • Diany says...

      I tried to read The Farm but couldn’t get over it being narrated in present tense. Isn’t that weird? Is it just me?

  7. Jac says...

    “The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna” by Juliet Grimes was remarkable. I could not put it down; it stayed with me for weeks; and it made me reflect on so much. I highly-highly recommend.

    With respect to “where” I read, I started making 9PM my reading hour. I sit down with a big glass of wine, and will typically read until 10-1030PM vs. my old standby of watching netflix/etc.

    • Joey says...

      Oh my, Stella Fortuna! It turned out to be a much different story than I thought it would be, but I couldn’t put it down. So much sacrifice and heartbreak.

  8. Laura T. says...

    Can we please talk about “Motherhood” by Sheila Heti??? I’ve underlined so many beautiful passages throughout this book. It’s a must-read for any woman considering motherhood—or NOT considering it. This book reads like a work of art.

    • cs says...

      I just requested it from the library because of your comment! I’ve been meaning to read it because I read her book How Should a Person Be? and felt completely moved by the honesty of her writing. I imagine her thoughts on motherhood will be equally as insightful.

    • Kim says...

      I read it last summer on vacation. It was… startling? Just so good. I’ve never read a smarter book about the pros and cons of becoming a mother.

  9. Frances Eleanor says...

    Taffy Brosner’s new book

  10. Vanessa says...

    Book posts are the best!!!
    I’m currently reading The Signature of All Things. It’s been on my “to read” pile for a long time, and I’m enjoying it so far.
    I recommend “The Complete Maus” by Art Spiegelman. It was heartbreaking, but also incredibly powerful and original. It’s the best thing I’ve read this year.
    Also looking forward to the next book on my list: SPQR by Mary Beard!

  11. Lindsey says...

    I just finished ‘my year of rest and relaxation’ in TWO DAYS on the subway. Highly recommend!

    • Kirstin says...

      Yes yes yes – I agree it is the most fantastic novel. I feel like I am pushing something addictive and sinister the way I encourage people to read it.

    • Julie says...

      Loved that one too! Has anyone read any of her other books?

    • Jodie says...

      I loved this one! It really stayed with me after I finished it.

  12. Rachel says...

    “Bethlehem” by Karen Kelly is a must read! A family saga that explores temptation, regret, secrets and the cost of keeping them.

    • gracemarie says...

      I went to college in Bethlehem, it would be cool to read a book set there! Thanks!

  13. I’m also reading Three Women! Really enjoying it so far (almost halfway through). I like that it reads pretty fast, but it’s also very deep. I, too, get the feeling that I am reading something important. I also have My Sister, The Serial Killer, & These Truths on my TBR pile. And hoping to pick up the new Colson Whitehead novel, The Nickel Boys.

  14. Deana says...

    “Southern Lady Code” – quite hilarious

  15. Annelise says...

    I am about to leave for vacation and have the book “Calypso” by David Sedaris packed. His other books have made me laugh out loud, so I’m looking forward to it!

    • Eloise says...

      Just an FYI, I thought Calypso was good, but the subject matter/tone was much heavier than in his earlier works. Have a great trip!

    • Emily says...

      Calypso was the best of his in recent years. Enjoy. I laughed so much reading it.

    • Lily says...

      By far the best David Sedaris collection so far. It packed an unexpected emotional wallop.

  16. BC says...

    To Stop a Warlord! It’s gripping writing, it’s gripping because of the harrowing (HARROWING) truth of it, but then it’s also gripping because we’re all (I imagine) old enough to remember the news cycles of Joseph Kony and the LRA. This book, somewhat indirectly, brings to light the major difficulty of getting people to care about what’s happening in the world. More directly, you finish the book inspired and in awe of her courage and dedication and quick-thinking. And you finish the book grateful that people like her exist in the world.

  17. Rachel says...

    I just finished “Conversations with Friends”, after devouring “Normal People”. I loved them both. Sally Rooney is definitely my summer author crush (last year it was Tana French). But overall this summer I’ve gotten lucky and really liked most of the books I’ve read and I’d recommend them all.
    The Penelopiad-Margaret Atwood
    Heartbreaker-Claudia Dey
    Severance-Ling Ma
    The Broken Earth Trilogy-N. K. Jemisin
    My favorite thing to do in the summer (that I don’t get to do neatly enough sadly) is to spend a day rotating between swimming, reading, and eating strawberries…total bliss.

    • Emily Avers says...

      I read The Broken Earth Triology and Normal People this summer, too! We’re reading twins!

    • Rachel says...

      Hi, reading twin!
      Since we have similar taste, I have to ask, what are you reading now/what book would you wholeheartedly recommend?

  18. Jamie Howe says...

    Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

    This was on my rising Junior’s summer reading list and is a heart wrenching read – lots of hope, but lots of heartache. As a white woman in a progressive bubble in Chicago I want to believe I am woke (altho if I’ve learned anything it’s that very thought is precarious and self righteous), but reading about the levels of institutional racism and lives destroyed gutted me. The work Bryan Stevenson does is nothing short of heroic. His compassion, empathy, and lifelong commitment amazes me. My daughter typically annotates books for school and with this one I told her simply read it – let these people and their stories envelop you. Feel their stories.

    I just saw a headline yesterday that a kid who open fired at an AK school in the 90s killing 5 people died in a head on car crash. I thought ‘how did he get out of jail?’ Well the color of his skin made it easier for him to be tried as a juvenile and released from prison to create a life. I am not suggesting he should have been tried otherwise and was not deserving of a second chance or redemption, but I am saying others are just as deserving. Had I not read this book I may not have thought twice, but it has opened my thinking. And the Equal Justice Initiative (founded by the author) is worth checking out if you want to put your dollars where your heart/morals/conscious/what have you is and financially support racial equity. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/eji

  19. Christine says...

    love to see that so many of these recs are books by female authors! my reading goal this year is to read books not written by white men. some recent favorites:
    – brotopia by emily chang (about the “boys club’ of silicon valley)
    – coming to my senses by alice waters (her memoire)
    – why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria by beverely daniel tatus (about development of racial identity — a must read!)

    • Rebekah says...

      I set that same goal for myself 2 years ago and don’t find my book pile lacking at all! I made one exception, for Michael Chabon’s book about his dad.

    • Katie says...

      Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book is so, so good. A year or so ago it was re-released and updated for the 20th anniversary, and one of the things she examined for the re-release is multi-racial relationships and how that’s changed since the first edition. I haven’t read the new one yet, but keep meaning to. Thanks for the reminder!

  20. Marisa says...

    I just started reading Beyond Babylon by Igiaba Scego and, so far, I really like it. It’s about two women, their mothers, and shared father and it spans generations, the desaparecidos, fascism in Italy, life in Somalia, the reign of Siad Barre–lots of events that I knew very little about before. Highly recommend!

  21. Ardent says...

    I just finished The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Beney. I read it in one sitting and when I finished it I wanted to read more about the characters. A very good detective/mystery with multiple stories that are interconnected.

    • Franny says...

      Loved this too!

  22. Just finished Kristen Arnett’s Mostly Dead Things. Very odd, quirky, lovely book. It drew me in immediately, into a world of taxidermy and a family that’s cracked at its seams. Excellent.

    Now I’m reading Kate Atkinson’s new novel, Big Sky. If you read any of her older books featuring Jackson Brodie, this is a new one in that series. Fantastic, of course.

    • Claire says...

      Love my Kate Atkinson! My favorite is “When will there be good news?”

  23. iz says...

    Another rave for Three Women on a blog…However, not one, not 2, but 3 different people I know read this book and ALL 3 absolutely hated. And these are women whose book tastes I share and trust. I just don’t get it! Is it the cool now to love this book or is it so hyped up now that it’s cool to hate it!?I’m going to have to read to find out for myself!

  24. I just finished City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and enjoyed it very much. I read a lot (usually 5-7 books a month, but due to having a baby in June and traveling a ton, I only read 2 books in July – and this was one of them), and it was the first book in a while that I found delightful to read!

    • Lynn says...

      I’m reading this now! I started it and within two pages thought “this is the rare book that is going to make me want to stay up past 9″…

  25. Patricia says...

    I’m reading an early copy (out Sept. 3) of the brilliant Cathleen Schine’s newest book, The Grammarians. No surprise, it’s funny and wonderful.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      Oh! I am so glad to here this! I have been wanting to check it out. I don’t know if you have read her YA books; but you should read ‘Gravity Is The Thing’ next!

  26. J says...

    I’m a fan of historical fiction and recently picked out Beneath a Scarlet Sky. It is based on the life of an unsung World War II hero, set in Italy. It is action-packed, beautiful, tragic, and all together unbelievable but true….I couldn’t put it down. Once I finished, I continued thinking about it for weeks afterward.

  27. Amanda says...

    Also, these stories take place in fictional and real places very near to where I actually live so when I’m driving around I always think about a scene in her stories, like this could be the bank of the river she is speaking of in this or that book.

  28. Amanda says...

    Every summer I dive back into some old favorites by Louise Erdrich. I have a small library of her work and this summer I chose the The Beet Queen and finished up last week The Master Butchers Singing Club. I forget every year so many complex peices of the story so its exciting to re-read and have an ah-hah moment time and time again. The humor is so carefully crafted against some of the very sad aspects of her writing.

    • Amanda says...

      Also, these stories take place is fictional and real places very near to where I actually live so when I’m driving around I always think about a scene in her stories, like this could be the bank of the river she is speaking of in this or that book.

    • She’s an excellent writer. My favorite was Tales of Burning Love. Very funny!

  29. My husband and I are hiking the Camino in Spain this September, so I’ve been reading books about that in preparation. I recommend Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp and Pilgrimage of the Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life by Phileena Heuertz. Even if the hike is not on your radar, these women write beautifully about spirituality and women’s journeys. Also, since the enneagram is all the rage around me, I’ve loved The Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heuertz (Phileena’s husband), since it talks about helpful practices for each number, not just typing people like it’s a parlor game!

    • Natalie says...

      Oh my gosh! I am so so jealous of you! This is the top of my bucket list when I don’t have young children.

    • Andrea says...

      The best two Camino books I’ve read are by Kevin Codd. Burn Camino!

    • CS says...

      Driving Over Lemons! (I think that’s what is was called.) Read it when I was pregnant 16 years ago… about a man who moves to Spain to live a simple life. I really recommend it!

    • Just read “The House of Ulloa” by Emilia Pardo Bazan. She was one if Spain’s too writers in the 19th century. Lots of social commentary and insight into Spanish history. And easy to read. I recommend it if you want to go beyond the Camino and further into Spanish literature!!

    • S. says...

      I just walked the camino a few months ago and loved Walk In a Relaxed Manner. Would recommend To the Field of Stars for sure!

  30. Alice says...

    It’s not new, so I’m hopelessly late to the party here, but I just DEVOURED Sweetbitter! It was SO good. Next on the list: Under the Banner of Heaven and Americanah, but I’ve got SO many on my “to buy” list. Yay for summer books!

  31. Jessie says...

    I love reading smut books in the summer. Favorite authors: Penny Wylder, and Madison Faye. Good fast read, over the top and hooks me right in. On the opposite side, in the car for road trips, I’ve been listening to The Little House series audio book and Series of Unfortunate Events. My daughters love them and the narrators are wonderful. I also Just finished The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.

    • Tamara says...

      I first read The Blessing of a Skinned Knee 10 years ago but come back to it regularly as my children pass through new ages & stages. Great reminders for how to help them take responsibility for themselves.

  32. I also just read THREE WOMEN and loved it. I also loved THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD, which is a beautifully written big fat rollicking family book that everyone I’ve recommended it to has also loved.

  33. Louise says...

    I just finished “The Mother In Law”. I’m not sure how much I liked it, but I couldn’t put it down.

  34. Alyssa says...

    I generally am a slow reader and usually have multiple books going at the same time which is a terrible habit. But right now I’m loving reading a physical book and listening to an audio book when I drive. It’s made my drives so enjoyable. I’m reading a book called Searching for Me, written by one of my colleagues. And I’m listening to the audiobook version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The man who narrates is a freaking wizard. Hearing him do voices is making it darn magical.

  35. Julie says...

    I just finished The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, which was adorable and insanely hot. I’ve been embracing romance novels to negate the news, it’s been a godsend.

    I’m now reading Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, as well as Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser. It’s been fascinating reading an unsanitized account of both Laura’s childhood and her relationship with her daughter.

    • Katie H says...

      I have also embraced romance novels this past year. So much better than the news! If you liked The Kiss Quotient, I’d recommend The Hating Game, Matchmaking for Beginners, and The Royal We. For a fantasy twist, check out both series by Sarah J. Maas. I’m obsessed!

  36. K. says...

    Where the Crawdads Sing! Great Book!

    • Laura says...

      yes, loved it too!

  37. Yvonne says...

    Women Rowing North : Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age is a great book by Mary Pipher. I love all her books. Books are my lifesaver! Angels in disguise! Of course, I read mainly non-fiction. Another great book is To Begin Again by Rabbi Naomi Levy. It’s a book that talks about the journey toward comfort, strength, and faith in difficult times. It’s not a recent book but one that I turn to when Life gets to be too much.

  38. I’ve just finished “The Farm” which feels like a modern Handmaids Tale and I also thoroughly enjoyed Underground Railroad and Evie Drake Starts Over so far this summer!

    My favorite afternoon this summer was laying on clean sheets, freshly showered and reading during a summer thunderstorm while my baby napped soundly in his bed. SWOON!

  39. Anne says...

    I read Big Little Lies at the beach this year, it was so good! I read it in 2 days, then my niece in 1.5 and it kept getting passed on. I watched the show after, not half as good. Great beach read if you’re looking for one!

  40. Jeri says...

    Was anyone else as totally bored by Red White and Royally Blue as I was?

    • christine says...

      I can’t believe it got such good reviews….I had to abandon it and couldn’t bring myself to finish. When I returned it I picked up In Other Lands instead and LOVED that one.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      Oh. I ADORED ‘Red, White, and Royal Blue’

  41. Charli says...

    Self Compassion by Kristin Neff, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, and When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron…can you tell I’m really going through it right now? Sigh.

    HOWEVER I did just finish The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer and highly recommend.

    • Sarah says...

      Charli, I also loved The Female Persuasion, and just got off the library wait list yesterday for Self Compassion, which was recommended by my therapist– I’ll check out those other two. We’re all out here trying to be so many things for so many people; sending some love and tenderness your way too.

  42. Brooke says...

    Currently reading Florida by Lauren Groff. I LOVE Fates and Furies and this one is just as good. She is such an incredible writer!

    Adding Good Talk and Three Women to my list!

    • Julie says...

      I loved Fates and Furies SO MUCH, I’m going to have to grab a copy of Florida!

    • Eloise says...

      I loved Monster of Templeton and Florida but just couldn’t get into Fates and gave up on it.

    • Sarah A. says...

      Love Lauren Groff.

    • Loved Fates and Furies but couldn’t get into the surrealism of Florida.

    • Nicole says...

      Florida was SO good. I love her writing.

  43. I’m reading Speedboat by Renata Adler and I want to find more books just like it. The language is very Didion-esque, and the story is told in short, darkly funny, observational vignettes. I’d be interested in reading more ’70s- and ’80s-era memoirs after this one.

  44. There was a lot of hype about Three Women I enjoyed it but I think my expectations were too high. It was an ok read for me, I finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne and it was delightful. Currently I’m finishing Miracle Creek and that one is worth all the hype. Everything I’ve read lately here https://pinksole.com/category/reviews/books/

  45. In the middle of My Friend Anna by Rachel deLoache Williams, the Vanity Fair employee who got scammed by a con artist. fascinating character study, quick read.

    A bit disappointed with Sally Rooney books. Bunch of hype over a writer who pulls you in and strings you along making you feel like there is going to be something insightful but alas, no.

    • Rachael says...

      I couldn’t agree more about Sally Rooney. I feel like I’m the only one in the world who didn’t care for them.

    • jet says...

      Same, not much there as far as Im concerned.

  46. Maranda says...

    I love book posts! I’m the type of person who is always reading something, so I have been enjoying a lot of summer reads. Here are some of the books I have read recently and enjoyed:

    The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
    Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
    From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
    Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
    The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before books (there are three in total)

    I’m excited to pick up some recommendations from this post!

    • Katie H says...

      I love half of these (Yes to anything Amor Towles!), so plan on reading the other recommendations. Thank you!

    • Allison says...

      We are on the same wavelength. I am currently reading Save Me the Plums and before that finished Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I have been going to therapy for years but I feel like Lori Gottlieb really opened my eyes to therapy. Such an fascinating book!

  47. Leigh says...

    Just finished Bethlehem by Karen Kelly–my oh my the heartache!!! My summer reading sleeper hit for sure.

  48. Mary W says...

    I listen to audiobooks. The latest are:
    Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. Read with passion by the author. Eye opening and confirming.
    The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone. Biography of Elizebeth Smith who developed cryptographic science for the US before and during WWII. Very interesting.

  49. I am far too quickly approaching the end of Lori Gottliebs ” Maybe you should talk to someone.” It is a fascinating read that gives the reader the perspective of both therapist and patient. I have laughed, cried and savored this book! The characters are relatable warm and funny all at the same time, much like we are in real life. Perfect summer entertainment while lounging in a hammock, lemonade or spritzer on the side. A must read!

  50. Angela says...

    I just started “Rules of Magic.” It is the prequel to “Practical Magic” which I loved in both book and movie format. I’ve never found a book by Alice Hoffman that I could put down. Scrolling through the comments adding books to my “to read” list. So many good books, shows, movies, and podcasts and so little time!

  51. Megan Keenan says...

    Reading Les Miserables, for the third or fourth time. So, so, so incredible. Everything is in this book. It’s really long so I’m taking it nice and slow, making an effort to absorb it all.

  52. The Larger Queen of Minnesota has been my favorite read this summer. Strong women characters and you learn a lot about the present day beer industry Of course there is family conflict through generations but don’t we all get that?

  53. Beryl says...

    I just finished The Rules of Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane, which I enjoyed. Now reading Ani DiFranco’s memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream. It’s engaging. Loved Lori Gottlieb’s book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.

  54. Kate says...

    I *just* finished Once Upon a River and really enjoyed it–it was a can’t-put-it-down mystery like Diane Setterfield’s first novel, The Thirteenth Tale. I thought that was a great summer read, too, but was wary of picking up another book by her after Bellman & Black, which I found so dull I didn’t even finish it.

    Another, very different book that I’ve read and loved this year was The Afterlives, about a man who almost dies and then becomes preoccupied with figuring out what happens after death. It was both funny and really thought-provoking, and it haunted me for a little while after I finished it.

    • june says...

      Have you heard of Many Lives Many Masters and Proof of Heaven? The first is by a psychotherapist who discovered his patients were recounting past lives while under therapeutic hypnosis and is fascinating and the second is by a neurosurgeon who writes a book about what he experienced while in a coma. Both are very thought provoking accounts by professionals who did not previously believe in an afterlife.

  55. A says...

    I got into a Dani Shapiro kick this summer. First, her memoir Hourglass then The Inheritance. She writes really engrossing memoirs. I want to read all of her others!

    I ended up loving Fleishman is in Trouble but I had to get to the end before I could feel that. The bits on gender roles, women’s healthcare, postpartum and how it is all twisted up into each of our own experiences and perspectives left me shook for a few days.

  56. Lauren says...

    I’ve been on an audio book kick as of late. Refreshing like reading, but lets my hands wander (and perhaps me wander as well!), so have also knit 3.5 baby sweaters for soon-to-arrive babies of friends. Currently am listening to The Bookshop on the Corner, an easy summer read.

    Also recently finished Educated, and The Ship of Brides, really enjoying both – hard to put either down/away!

  57. Marianne says...

    ‘Everything I know about Love’ by Dolly Alderton. Such a moving, funny book. I highly recommend it. And also her podcast ‘The High Low’. I’m borderline obsessed.
    I’m currently reading ‘Norse Mythology’ by Neil Gaiman. A great, easy read if you love mythology.

  58. Rachel says...

    The Nickel Boys by Colton Whitehead. Incredible story about a teenage boy inspired by MLK Jr to believe in justice, love, and equality, and how that is challenged when he is unfairly sent to a cruel racist reform school. I sobbed for ages when I finished the book, and still choke up when thinking about it. I don’t often re-read books, but I this is definitely one that I’ll read again. Beautiful, moving, important, can’t recommend it highly enough.

    • Can’t wait for this one, Powell’s is sending me my copy (through their Indiespensable book subscription). It has been getting rave reviews.

  59. Jess says...

    The Confessions of Frannie Langton! It’s gothic feminism. So good.

  60. Jodi says...

    Bitter Orange was a great summer read. Just finished There There which I read in fits and starts but then got totally into about 2/3 of the way through it! Now reading LaRose by one of my long-time favorite authors, Louise Erdrich. If you haven’t read anything by her, I highly recommend you check her out!

  61. Lee Hillhouse says...

    One-in-a-million boy by Monica Wood. It’s sooo good.

  62. Natalia says...

    In the last couple months I read “Yes, Chef” by Marcus Samuelsson and loved it. Amazing biography of a boy adopted from Ethiopia who grows up in Sweden and becomes a Michelin star chef. Also “Educated” by Tara Westover, which is also a biography, and about a girl who grows up in a household in the rural US where she wasn’t allowed to go to school, and rises above her circumstances to get her phd from Cambridge. Both stories involve crazy life paths that seem so bleak, but end up with great happy endings. Highly recommend.

  63. Kay says...

    I read through a few comments and everyone who had read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous raved about it and I feel slightly stupid because I didn’t love it. I loved certain lines, but for the most part I just wanted it to be over. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in the right mindset for it- in this case the line “it’s not you, it’s me” line applies. I’m starting A Curious Beginning, the first book in the Veronica Speedwell mystery series. Britain, Victorian Era, murder? I’m here for it.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I’m part of the way through that book and I’m feeling the same way. I LOVED Night Sky with Exit Wounds and thought this would feel the same but it really isn’t pinging all the right now. I’ve been slogging through it just to say I have finished it but I can’t wait to move on to other books.

    • I love your comment Kay! And I don’t think it’s ok you didn’t love it! Every story should be told, but that doesn’t mean we’re meant to connect with all of them.

  64. Bridgette says...

    I’m loving “on earth we’re briefly gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong! Beautiful writing.

  65. I’m currently reading The laws of human nature – it’s so hard to put the book down!

  66. Whitney Olson says...

    The End of Eternity and A Man Called Ove are probably the two of the five I’ve read this last month that I’d recommend.

    • Whitney Olson says...

      Ah! I LOVED A Long Walk to Water also!

  67. Margie says...

    My favorite book of the summer, so far:
    The Stationery Shop– Marjan Kamali

    So romantic, so sweet.

    • Kristen Solecki says...

      So excited, I just won a copy from my library for their adult summer reading program, can’t wait to read it!

  68. Allie says...

    Bone Gap by Laura Ruby! It’s YA, so definitely a little less highbrow than some of the others listed, but it’s such fun. Some of the best magical realism I have ever read.

  69. witloof says...

    I am slogging my way through Fleishman is in Trouble. I’m not sure what to think about it but I am intrigued enough to finish it. Also rereading A Severed Wasp by Madeleine L’Engle, who wrote A Wrinkle in Time. Recently I read An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope. She went through a long streak of writing not so great books, but she is back in form and this one is really entertaining.

    • Andrea K says...

      I just flew through Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, a novel that weaves together three stories over the course of one summer, so it’s a very fitting read! It was soooo good and I loved how much nature and science takes part in it!

    • Mary says...

      Fleishman was insanely frustrating to me. I wanted to like it but just couldn’t get passed how self absorbed and shallow each of the characters was and didn’t see any maturing over the course of the book. Also added to some very basic stereotypes of divorcees of which I am not :) Finished it this week which is perhaps why I feel so strongly!!

    • Kim Jacob says...

      I felt the same about Fleishman in trouble-ugh.
      try Searching for Sylvie Lee-well written

  70. Marcella Radano says...

    My incredible aunt wrote the wonderful book:
    The White Moth
    By Camilla Calhoun

    Also,
    Shortest Way Home
    By Pete Buttigieg

  71. Claire says...

    mystery/thriller: The Current, by Tim Johnston.

  72. J. says...

    Answering ‘where do I read?’ I read if you have a book with you always, you will always read, which is far too simple to be easy but does work with practice! Do I have a book with me in my bag at every moment of every day? Yes. Does this make my bag crowded and heavy and my books battered with the day-to-day mess of life (bobby pins and spilled drinks)? Yes. Does it make me view things that used to drive me insane– long lines, waits at restaurants, waiting for a friend to arrive, slow bank processes, commutes, all the in-between phone-heavy moments?– deliciously full? ALSO YES. If gratitude is the root of all joy, turning a moment of frustration and ‘WHY IS THIS LINE SO LONG’ to a moment of ‘a long line!!! I’m going on a trip BRB let me know when you’re ready TYSM but also take your time I’m in no rush!!!!’ happiness is one of the purest examples of joy for me.

    P.S. This is also great for creating moments between strangers (most of the pain of waiting is because you’re not with anyone you know) of — “oh, I loved that” or “that is my favorite book of all-time,” which– again, joy!

    • Veronica says...

      Love this.

    • Francella says...

      The best book is the one you’ve got with you.

    • JoAnne Kelly says...

      thank you for this! I need a bigger bag:)

    • Sarah A. says...

      Yup. I’m always got a book with me.

    • Katherine says...

      This is great! One of my friends who manages to read 100+ books a year says this is her secret too-always always always have a book.

    • Mouse says...

      Oh yes yes yes. I live in fear of being stuck somewhere without a book. I take 2 books on any flight just in case. (The horror of being in flight without a book!!!)
      And There There by Tommy Orange is great.

  73. Sarah says...

    Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid! Very different books. Loved them both! I listened to both on audio and I would especially recommend Daisy Jones on audio. The voice actors are amazing (Jennifer Beals as Daisy! ).

  74. It’s been such a great summer of reading for me. Just about to start Courtney Maum’s new book “Costalegre” and I’m excited about it.

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

  75. Jacqueline says...

    These are not new by any means but every summer I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. I love them dearly. I look forward to them every year. They are so funny and full of heart and friendships and hope and just… everything. They are somehow light and eternal at the same time. Also, all four books take place during the summer so they are perfect for August. I just finished them. Have read them a bunch. Still cried three times.

    • Carly says...

      I love love love those books!
      You have inspired me to dig mine out and give them a reread – thank you!

    • Rosa says...

      I just finished reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I read it for my work book club and so far it’s been my favourite read of all the choices so far.
      Part murder mystery and part coming of age, it is hard to put down once you start.

    • Katherine Scieszka says...

      I love this! I read The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand every summer for the last 8ish years. It’s a wonderful beach read set on Nantucket in the summertime in the restaurant scene. The descriptions of the season, the food, and the recipes are just wonderful. It’s the kind of book that makes you wish summer would last forever

  76. Robin says...

    Good books I’ve read lately are:
    Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer, a non-fiction about the fundamentalist Mormons,
    The Son by Philipp Meyer, a Western type of novel with incredible insights on the genocide of indigenous people in America,
    Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, about the childhood of an indigenous boy in Canada,
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (going to read Oryx and Crake next)
    How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, yes it’s a cookbook but I read it all the time! Also, every single recipe I’ve made from this book has been hugely successful.

    • Mary W says...

      These books all look interesting. I’m copying your list.

    • Robin says...

      Awesome, I hope you enjoy the books. Lately I’ve been trying out new genres and even searching for books branded towards men rather than women. I’m kind of over the genre of women overcoming adversity. There’s a ton of good books along these lines, but I’m ready for some other topics. Hope these ones work for you. And if you have suggestions let me know :)

    • Mouse says...

      Robin, you might like There There by Tommy Orange. Also, On the Rez by Ian Frazier and anything by David Treuer.

    • Robin says...

      Thanks! I’ll check those out on my bookstore trip tomorrow :)

  77. Some recent faves:
    I Almost Forgot About You
    The Hating Game
    Normal People

    Just picked up Conversations with Friends (another Sally Rooney!) and The Last Time I Lied (my first thriller in months) after hearing lots of great reviews. Fortunately I have an out of town trip this weekend which means reading time!

    • Oh also! Southern Lady Code, a fantastic collection of essays from a Southern-raised woman in NYC.

    • Jess says...

      I love Sally Rooney! And was so bummed to find out I’ve read all her work. Publish more!

  78. N says...

    As someone one and a half weeks deep into a two month break from her boyfriend (almost/unofficial fiancé), at his request [cue absolute heartbreak], my therapist has me reading “Attached. The new science of adult attachment and how it can help you find – and keep – love” by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel Heller, M.A.

    Not what I was expecting my summer read to be this year, or how the summer I turned 30 would go, but alas here we are, and so far, it’s been interesting.

    Just sharing in case anyone else finds themselves in a tough relationship spot right now and wants to read for understanding instead of pleasure.

    Sending love!

    • Alyssa says...

      Sending love to YOU as you walk through this wonky time. <3

    • Katie says...

      This is a truly incredible book on a complex (and personally bewildering) topic explained in such a clear and tangible way. As an anxious attacher, it helped me so much – understanding triggers, over-firing amygdala and so on. It is something I return to from time to time, to stay even-keeled.

      Sending you only good things, N.

  79. Rachel says...

    I was so excited to read Three Women but was actually disappointed by it. I found it more simplistic and less insightful, nuanced, and thoughtful than the marketing and reviews led me to expect. And I found it kind of sensationalistic and thought the sex scenes were graphic in a way didn’t really serve a narrative purpose. (More than once, while reading on the subway, I was a little self- conscious that if someone glanced at the text of my book, they would think I was reading soft porn!)

    On the other hand, I loved and highly recommend Normal People by Sally Rooney, another book that is getting a lot of attention this summer.

    • J says...

      And I found the Rooney simplistic and disappointing, whereas I thought Three Women was incredible!

  80. Bryn says...

    I was on a Meg Wolitzer kick and read The Wife and The Female Persuasion. I loved both and highly recommend.

    Brotopia by Emily Chang is a fantastic non-fiction read about Silicon Valley. Chang writes about a wide-range of everything Silicon Valley.

    In general, I always look to PBS’ Now Read This and Reese Witherspoons’ Book Club for new book recommendations!

    • Amy says...

      I really liked The Interestings but was a little bit disappointed by The Female Persuasion. Still need to try The Wife.

  81. ER says...

    I second the rec for Fleishman is in Trouble. It’s dishy and page-turn-y, and at the same time layers in profound insights about marriage, divorce, and gender dynamics in America. Can’t recommend highly enough.

    • Allison says...

      I loved The Overstory- one of the best books I’ve read in years. I haven’t stopped thinking about it and was sad when I finished it! Also read There, There, which was great, and Things Fall Apart (from the 50’s but feels especially relevant in this time of horrifying ethnocentrism). Read Normal People, too, but just wasn’t that into it!

  82. Joanna Schoff says...

    I am loving all the memoirs out there with immigrant stories.
    A place called home by Reyna Grande
    Her first book The Distance between us is amazing too.
    Now reading Dear America notes from an undocumented citizen by Jose Vargas. Very good!

    • Kay says...

      If you would like to do a book flight, The Book of Unknown Americans (fiction) by Christina Henriquez is so excellent.

  83. Kelley C. says...

    You know how sometimes you pick up a book and just know, you just know, that it’s going to be really special? You get a little flutter in your chest, and your skin gets all tingly, and you almost don’t want to start reading it because you don’t want it to end. It’s a lot like falling in love. Well, I just picked up Ross Gay’s Book of Delights, and it’s whole body magic.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      What a ringing endorsement!

    • MP says...

      Me too, me too!

    • Elizabeth says...

      I had that EXACT experience when I started The Heart’s Invisible Furies last summer! What a great description, Kelley — thank you.

    • Maggie says...

      Just added this to my Amazon cart immediately upon reading this comment :)

  84. Julie says...

    I read “Where the Crawdads Sing” cover to cover one Saturday a couple weeks ago. It was wonderful and the perfect summer read!

    • Mel says...

      Agreed, I read this earlier this year and it is poetic, and interesting, and different. My heart ached and sang at the same time. Highly recommend.

  85. Liz says...

    “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides is amazing with an amazing ending! Best book I’ve read in a long time.

    • Katherine says...

      I’ve been on the wait list for this all summer and it’s finally mine at the library!! I can’t wait to pick it up today!

  86. Meg says...

    It’s always so interesting to see differing opinions on provacative books – I was intrigued by Three Women after seeing it mentioned several places. But, my favorite book I’ve read this year is Come As You Are, and Emily Nagoski did not give Three Women a positive review on Instagram (didn’t even finish it, in fact). I usually like to make up my own mind, but I may skip if after reading her thoughts. Would love to hear others’!

    • Rebecca says...

      I LOVED Come As You Are and have been recommending it to all my friends.

  87. I read Where the Crawdads Sing early this summer and it was a fabulous novel that has gotten so much deserved praise this summer! I’ve also read a few self help books including You are a Badass, Rising Strong, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, all containing great gems to help me better my life. The Hundred Year House was a pretty twisted novel and the ending felt rushed and unresolved, but I still enjoyed the build up, and sometimes that’s enough. :) I loved Busy Phillips’ book so much more than I thought I would, too! I read at night, or during my baby’s afternoon naptime, and in the morning when I run I listen to audiobooks.

  88. Sara says...

    Loved that you linked to Books Are Magic!

  89. Whitney says...

    I’m a huge Beatriz Williams fan and have her new novel “The Golden Hour” packed in my bag for next week’s trip to the beach. I just finished “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. Well written and interesting characters.
    I’m a mom and I read LATE into the night. I can’t help it -my bed is so cozy and the house is SO quiet. If I’m into a book I lose track of time and stay up til 1:30 reading. It’s so bad. And I’m so tired the next day.

  90. Margaret says...

    Omg I just finished the novel Circe by Madeleine Miller and I cried. A brilliant shaping of story and character within Greek mythology. I didn’t think I would like it as I normally tend towards realism and nonfiction but the prose was so beautiful, the setting and scenery so captivating, and above all the main character was believable and exquisite.

    • Amy says...

      I loved it too! Definitely “reading outside my taste” but enjoyed thoroughly and now looking forward to the HBO series.

    • Sarah E says...

      Haha I actually just ordered a sample of Circe on my Kindle last night and read the first chapter and think I will order the book! I also tend towards realism and nonfiction but I think this will be a welcome change. Looking forward to it!

    • Allison says...

      Her first book, Song of Achilles, is also wonderful! I highly recommend!

    • Emily says...

      I LOVED Circe. Song of Achilles and The Silence of the Girls were both so good too. They sent me on a mission to find more retellings of myths and let me to Home Fire (a modern retelling of Antigone). I highly recommend it!

  91. Tina Zimmerman says...

    So it’s not a “romance” novel, but if you’re looking for something with real love and passion in it, The Song of Achilles wrecked me.

    • Kay says...

      Ugh yes, completely destroyed me. I’m looking forward to reading her other book, Circe.

  92. anonygirl says...

    I’m reading Harry Potter for the first time. I’m perpetually late to the party on pop culture and this is no exception, but I think the timing was right, because I’m fully hooked. I’m counting down until I can leave work so I can get back to it.

    • Chivonne Dorgan says...

      I’m re-reading the entire series … for the 3 time now… and still find absolute joy in it. I’m envious that you get to experience the wonder of Harry for the first time though. Enjoy!

    • Kay says...

      Welcome to the HP journey! Be prepared to experience a serious series hangover when you’re done with all 7 books. It was like I was mourning friends I’ve lost when I finished them, but the beautiful thing about books is that you can revisit them whenever your heart desires.

    • shannon says...

      Oh gosh, to read HP for the first time! Enjoy!!! I’m jealous.

    • hanna says...

      I second the Harry Potter hangover/withdrawal situation!!

    • Erin says...

      I read HP for the first time last year! I’m in my late-30’s and only started reading to encourage one of my kids to keep reading them – and then became completely hooked. I zipped through all seven without coming up for air. No wonder people had parties to celebrate the new books coming out – I was anxious if I had to wait a week for the next to come in at the library!

      I loved them so much that I actually sent a couple of apology notes to various people who have tried to convince me to read them over the years.

  93. Lucy says...

    I finished The Lido in 24 hours while at home sick. It was so lovely. I have a real affinity for the water and really connected with it!

  94. Jaclyn says...

    A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson – I could not put it down. I stayed up all night finishing it in one sitting, and I still think about the sentence uttered by one of the main characters at the end of the book. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

  95. Susannah says...

    I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens in a weekend. It was so good- atmospheric and beautifully written. I definitely recommend!
    I have a big list of books to read- Ninth Street Women, Tell Me Everything, and American Spy are up next.

  96. Laura says...

    Someone please give me suggestions for novels involving romance! I’m in the mood for that genre but can’t find one that doesn’t start off as being too cliche-y. Preferably not for new books as those won’t be as readily available in my library.

    • Allison says...

      Anything by Jasmine Guillory!

    • Whitney says...

      Outlander series. Any novel by Beatriz Williams is full of romance. -Summer Wives; Along the Infinite Sea; Overseas.
      The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is so romantic. I sense a “sea” theme…

    • Joanna says...

      Conversations with Friends and Normal People, both by Sally Rooney, feature great (but complicated) romances. Early Work by Andrew Martin and Ordinary People by Diana Evans are beautifully written books about how romantic relationships progressively and excruciatingly deteriorate over time (if that’s your thing). And, if you’re a pure romantic, you can never go wrong with anything by Jane Austen :)

    • Claire says...

      You’ve probably heard this suggestion a million times but…have you read Outlander?

    • Melissa says...

      I also love romance! Anything by Beatriz Williams is great. I also recently read The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – both were great. And of course my favorite of the summer so far The Idea of You. Swoon.

    • Jessica says...

      You may like The Boss by Jenny Trout. Its contemporary romance. I came to this book via the author’s blog in which she does a chapter by chapter hilarious take down of the 50 Shades of Grey Series. This book was her attempt to present some of the concepts in 50 Shades but devoid of the many problematic aspects and in a more sex-positive way.

    • N says...

      Call Me by Your Name (the novel) is waaaay better than the movie, if you can imagine. Such a good love story. I’ve read it over and over.

    • I just read I Almost Forgot About You and The Hating Game, and loved both!

    • Robin says...

      Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is really good.

    • Rae says...

      I’m not a huge romance reader but I loved both books by Helen Hoang! The first is called The Kiss Quotient and the second is called The Bride Test. I personally preferred The Bride Test and you don’t need to read them sequentially. They both revolve around autistic protagonists that struggle with how to relate to, and find love with, neurotypical people. Really enjoyable!

    • Anna says...

      I love Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Maggie Alderson also writes some of my favourite romance, especially Mad About The Boy and Pants on Fire.

    • Clare says...

      I’ve enjoyed Courtney Milan’s “Brothers Sinister” series! Was skeptical at first and then ended up loving them.

    • Sarah says...

      Have you ever read The Unbearable Lightness of Being? Older book, romantic, heartbreak, intellectual.

    • Jena says...

      The Hating Game is a classic if you haven’t read that one yet :) I also enjoyed The Kiss Quotient last summer (she’s also got a newer one out called The Bride Test but I think I liked the first one better). If you like historical romance, The Dutchess Deal was great, very steamy but does have a touch of cliche. Nuts by Alice Clayton was unique but a cute story. Bellewether, Haven, The Duke I Tempted, Love and Other Words, and The Dirty Book Club are all very solid reads but depend on if the story sounds engaging to you. Hopefully, that’s helpful and happy, happy reading!

    • Just flew through Sally Rooney’s Normal People.

    • Amber says...

      Yes, I agree! I want to find romance in my life again and have been looking for a book that will inspire

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
      – The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
      – Baron by Joanna Shupe (One of the books in The Knickerbocker Club series, which you might want to look into).

      And if you want ‘literary’ but still readable and engrossing romance:
      – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
      – Normal People by Sally Rooney

    • Kaylie says...

      Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, which is set in Maine, delightful, unexpected, and hilarious. It’s new (I’m sorry!) but add it to the wishlist now!!

    • Kelly says...

      “A severe mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken.

    • Tash says...

      I’m just here to support the suggestions below for the Outlander series. Do it! It’s so brilliant. Romance all wrapped up in adventure and history. Who doesn’t want to fall in love in the Scottish highlands.

      Then watch the TV show and revel in Jamie Fraser in the flesh :)

    • Katherine says...

      The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – both fantastic non-traditional love stories
      Before We Were Strangers and Swear On This Life – both by Renee Carlino. I read both in a matter of days, both were such heartfelt meaningful stories that made me tear up more than once. I can’t wait to read more of her books

    • Sarah says...

      If you like Jasmine Guillory, you might also enjoy Christina Lauren. I just finished The Unhoneymooners and really liked it! Also, a few years older, but The Royal We is a great romance that predates Harry and Meghan but has some interesting similarities!

    • Louise says...

      The Hating Game is my favorite romance of all time. So funny and so sexy.

    • laura says...

      oh my goodness – thank you!! making a trip to my library today and i’m so excited. adding myself to the waitlist now for the books that aren’t available! With so many great books to choose from, I feel like I’m back in school and just walked into a book fair.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      ‘Red, White, and Royal Blue’!!!! So fun and charming and funny and beautiful.

    • Cindy says...

      I am in absolute love with Jenny Colgan books: The Bookshop on the Corner, Little Beach Street Bakery, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Meet me at the Cupcake Café, and so many more! Some are a series (which only makes me want MORE MORE MORE) and some are stand-alone reads. I think I’ll start reading them all over again.

    • Maire says...

      Will second recs for Christina Lauren, Sally Thorne, Talia Hibbert, and Helen Hoang if you are looking for contemporary romance. For great historicals, check out Tessa Dare (specifically The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game), Joanna Shupe, and Alyssa Cole. I also really loved The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.

    • jaime says...

      the ‘Court of thorns and roses’ trilogy by Sarah Maas. Book one is good. Books 2 and 3 are amazing.

  97. Some recent favourite Winter (in Sydney) reads:

    The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
    Everyday Madness, by Lisa Appignanesi
    Working, by Robert Caro
    Things I Didn’t Want to Know, by Deborah Levy
    Notes to Self, by Emilie Pine
    Walking on the Ceiling, by Aysegul Savas
    The Ungrateful Refugee, by Dina Nayeri
    More Dashing (collection of letters), by Patrick Leigh Fermor
    Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottleib

    Thank you everyone for sharing your recommendations. I love having new books to add to my list.

    • H says...

      I just read Lori Gottleib’s book and LOVED it!!

    • Sarah Brakke says...

      I liked Whitehead’s book The Underground Railroad so I’m putting The Nickel Boys on my to read list!

  98. Nancy says...

    I just read Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler and *loved* it. It’s got space travel, a really compelling 11 yo protagonist (who’s grown up in other sections of the book), complex family relationships, gorgeous prose . . .

  99. Anna says...

    Women Talking by Miriam Toews, a short and powerful book that I could not put down. Fortunately, I was on a plane from Seattle to Minneapolis and didn’t have to! This book is an imagined response to actual events. In 2005-2008, there was a series of rapes on a Mennonite colony in Bolivia. The perpetrators were members of the colony who drugged women and raped them in the night. The perpetrators were jailed and while bail hearing were going on, the women met to decide what to do when the rapists came back to the colony. It is just an incredible book. Next on the stack is The Underground Railrood by Colson Whitehead and The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.

  100. jdp says...

    This is in answer to “when do you read?….” and mine is, at work! I mean on my lunch hour at work. Going back to the office after my son went to kindergarten has honestly improved my reading life as much as anything. It’s one of the better silver linings (and one of the best reasons to take a real lunch hour). In the last few months alone, I’ve plowed through The Sympathizer, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Goldfinch, and whatever else I can get my hands on, and it’s bliss. Hoping to try some of these recs next.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that idea, jdp!! what a nice break in the day.

    • anonygirl says...

      I am going to make an effort to do the same. I only get a 30 minute lunch, but instead of running out for coffee, I’m going to take that time to read, even if it’s only a few pages. I can eat at my desk earlier or later.

    • Jen says...

      I too love to read my book at lunch, but honestly, some days, the lunch hour is taken up by CoJ comment reading! And then there is no time to turn to my book before I have to brush my teeth and get back to it. (This is just fine with me, by the way.)

    • JDP says...

      Forgot to mention Suite Francaise! An unfinished masterpiece…made all the more intense by the true story of its author.

    • Sarah E says...

      I also loved Suite Francaise! Would recommend to anyone.

    • Emily says...

      I had a similar experience going back to work after my daughter was born, but I do my reading on my commute (by train – not driving!) It’s made the trip so much more bearable and I’ve flown through tons of books. I think it’s so important (and difficult) to carve out time that is just for you after having a kid!

  101. ks says...

    as a new-ish texan, i loved (and laughed along with) god save texas by lawrence wright. just finished on this earth we were briefly gorgeous – which was beautiful. and then finally, eleanor oliphant is completely fine. i know i’m late to the game with that last one but it was the perfect warm your heart, laugh out loud book about friendship that was so needed. these suggestions in the comments are all making their way to my library now xx

  102. Chelsea W says...

    I’m late starting the book Children of Men, but I’m zooming along in reading it, even if it does seem to move a bit slowly. Next on my list is Where the Crawdads Sing which I have wanted to read for some time now not only because I’ve heard so many thoughts about it, but also because the title containing the word “crawdads” brings me back to my childhood and catching those little creatures in the creek at my home.

    • Amy says...

      I’m not into sci-fi but read Children of Men after receiving it was a gift from my father-in-law and really enjoyed. Very different and, I thought, better than the movie.

  103. Arlene says...

    Just finished The Most Fun We’ve Ever Had – it was great! Reading The Lost Family by Jenna Blume, really good also

    • Megan says...

      I loved The Most Fun We Ever Had! I read it a few weeks ago and I’m STILL thinking about it – especially the richness of each character’s inner monologue. As the oldest of three sisters, I saw myself and my family in this story (though without the major secret – I THINK? who knows!).

    • Molly says...

      I’m almost done with The Most Fun We’ve Ever Had, and agree that it is excellent. Very likely to be my favorite book this year.

  104. Nigerian Girl says...

    No summer in my part of the world :D; but lately I’ve read and loved Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Soon Shin and Nora Webster by the great Colm Toblin. They moved me deeply and made me think. Three Women is up high on my to-read list. I hope I won’t be disappointed. I’m looking forward to reading A Particular Kind of Black Man, a debut novel by an amazing Nigerian writer called Tope Folarin and Olive, Again, the highly anticipated (to put it mildly) sequel to Olive Kitteridge.

  105. Nina says...

    Read recently and really enjoyed:
    – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
    – Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
    – Pride, Prejudice, and other Flavors by Sonali Dev (P&P set in modern day San Francisco)
    – The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett

    • I’m ready Black Water Rising right now! I just finished The Cutting Season and Bluebird, Bluebird. I love Attica Locke’s writing.

  106. Sarah A. says...

    I’m reading Normal People right now, which has been praised quite a bit here, and enjoying the somewhat claustrophobic, talky intimacy of it. Some favorite books I’ve read this year: Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell (she did Swamplandia!), The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (apocalypse theme, I eat those up), Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine (incredible true story of the Slits that goes way beyond a band and early punk history to explore the struggle of an artist mother and loss), The Overstory by Richard Powers (I learned so much about trees!), and the Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (helped me better understand the early AIDS epidemic and I appreciated the Chicago setting).

    • Anita says...

      I am here to RAVE about Clothes, Music, Boys by Viv Alberteen. I noticed this book was on the top 50 memoir list in the NYT that was posted here a few weeks back. There is no need to have a special interest in the Slits or punk rock at all to enjoy this book. Viv Alberteen is a hilarious and moving writer. Just knowing about her life has inspired me so much. She is a combination of vulnerability and fearlessness. Highly highly recommend (especially to you Caroline for some reason), I also read her follow up memoir To Throw Away Unopened, also very good though not of the literary memoir genius calibre that is Clothes Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys.

    • Sarah L. says...

      I’m a Chicagoan and loved :The Great Believers.” I’m reading “The Overstory” now, and I’m blown away. We must be on a similar wavelength!

  107. Gemma says...

    Fleishman is in Trouble has stayed with me for weeks! I loved it so much

    • MK says...

      I’m flying through it right now! Literally cackling out loud as I go.

  108. Susan says...

    Yes, let’s talk about Three Women! Caroline, I would love it if you hosted an online book club. You have such great taste in books. I would love to hear the CupofJo community’s take on this book.

    As for me, I read Three Women in one big gulp. But I felt like I wasn’t getting so much an expose’ on American women’s desires as a representation of the author’s (mostly pessimistic) take on desire. She has her view of what sexuality is like and then went out and selected subjects, and presented their stories, in such a way as to fit that worldview. I think she even said something like that in one of her interviews – for example, that she talked to a lot of people who were mostly positive about threesomes, but she wanted a woman who would react to a threesome the way SHE would react so she chose Sloan. There is nothing wrong with this, all writers write from their own point of view, after all.

    But the way this book has been marketed – that it delivers some sort of universal truth – is just depressing to me. Or rather, I wouldn’t want my daughter to read this book and think that’s the way hetero sexual relationships are. Because they’re not, or they don’t have to be. There’s a strange absence of fun in the book. Of women who have agency in their own sexual desires.

    • Caitlin says...

      I haven’t read the book yet (although I recently added it to my list) but I find this commentary really smart and interesting. Would love to be in a book club with you, Susan!

    • Christine says...

      Second the idea for an online Caroline-led book club! Maybe with an IRL component for city/Brooklyn folk :)

    • Melissa Clary says...

      I completely agree with you and appreciate that you shared this. The reviews and excitement surrounding this book is strong and positive. That being said, I felt that the author’s portrayal of sex and women was mostly sad, and needy even. Yes, this book is being marketed as containing a universal truth about women and sex. I, too, find that to be quite depressing. So glad you wrote what you did.

    • Katie says...

      AGREE!

    • Kel says...

      I have to agree on your take of Three Women. I got it because an author I respect said it was the most important book to read this year. It is well written and incredibly detailed but, wow, did it depress me. I don’t need everything to be happily sugar coated but there was no humor or love or joy anywhere in these stories that I could find. Very cynical. And I can’t say that I came away with any helpful knowledge or wisdom.

    • shannon says...

      Susan, you’ve captured something that bothered me about the book but I wouldn’t have been able to put my finger on. I forced myself to finish it and was unsatisfied (perhaps a countertransference of the unsatisfactory sex lives of the women profiled?). The three examples felt pretty fringe-y and extreme on the spectrum of women’s sexual desire/experience. I agree that the buzz around the book having something to say about female desire generally left me feeling disappointed because it fell far short of that for me (for that purpose, Nagoski’s Come As You Are is the go to). I also thought the epilogue was odd with the author suddenly injecting a story about her own mother.

      The writing style was quite unique. I particularly enjoyed the creative use of second person in the 20-something’s story. Overall it was an interesting book, but I think I’d have enjoyed it more if I went in with fewer expectations.

    • ks says...

      third vote for an online book club. and irl local city groups too. Iove the idea

  109. Sarah D. says...

    I read about a book a week and totally fell in love with Amor Towles this summer. A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility were both new to me and I couldn’t put either down. Try Gentleman if you only have time for one, the writing is incredibly lyrical and I found myself trying to be a kinder version of myself.

    • Whitney says...

      I read A Gentleman in Moscow last year and loved it! Rules of Civility was good too. His writing is so beautiful and poignant. When will Amor Towles write another?!

    • Kelsey says...

      Yes! I am reading and loving A Gentleman in Moscow too! I am listening on audio while traveling for work this week. What a delight.

    • Elliesee says...

      I picked the recommendation here and loved A Gentleman in Moscow. I want to gift it to my mother as she lives abroad and can’t find books easily. Thank you for the reminder that there is more from Amor Towles.

    • Natalia says...

      Yes! I loved A Gentleman in Moscow. Such a good book! Apparently that hotel really exists and now I want to visit lol

    • Sarah E says...

      Yes! Another vote for A Gentleman in Moscow! Haven’t gotten to Rules of Civility yet.

  110. Amanda says...

    Normal People by Sally Rooney is blowing my mind. Absorbing coming-of-age romance that’s so hard to put down. And, Help Me, a hilarious memoir, where the writer rereads her seven favorite self-help books and endeavors to adopt each book’s recommendations for a month of her life.

    • MB says...

      Normal People!!! I was reading it at the airport and started tearing up in public. It made me *feel* so deeply. I could not put it down. It felt so special that I want to re-read it in the future. But I need some time away from it first.

    • Whitney says...

      Sally Rooney is incredible. I read Normal People in 36 hours, then picked up Conversations with Friends and read that one quickly too. Her writing is realistic. The dialogue is so natural and authentic.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      I’m rereading Conversations with Friends right now. It’s even better second time around.

    • Natalie says...

      I just finished this and I have to say I didn’t care for it. It felt exasperating watching 2 people who care for each other continually deny their feelings for each other and honestly didn’t think the characters were like able. I also felt like there was no real plot and was annoyed at the ending. While there were some beautiful passages, I felt annoyed that the author kept describing everything in exasperating detail for the most trivial things. I felt like the book could have ended one hundred pages earlier. I wanted to read conversations with friends but think I’ll pass now that I read the first. Where the crawdads sing is my current and so far I love it.

  111. Erin says...

    Just read My Year of Rest and Relaxation, late to the party but absolutely loved it. Also absolutely loved The New Me, by Halle Butler. It is perfection. Relatedly, Fleishman is In Trouble is the worst book I’ve read in a long time!!!! Save yourselves! (Comparable to a poorly done Fates and Furies, I think)

  112. Diana says...

    City of Girls; Elizabeth Gilbert is so darn good.

    • Anu says...

      Loved that too!

    • Sam says...

      Omg yes. I was so sucked in by the main character! You totally forget that she’s fictional.

    • Marlena says...

      Absolutely loved this one! After reading it I stopped for a long moment and tried to remember a book where the female protagonist was so unashamedly sexual and free and I came up with nothing. It was sad. But then I figured, welp. If I can’t find it in a book, I might as well BE it. It’s been a fun month. ;)

      Also – if anyone has suggestions for reads that include sexually fearless and free femme characters, please let me know! I didn’t realize how little I had experienced that sort of character. It’s pathetic, really.

  113. Suzanne says...

    I’m right in the middle of Ask Again, Yes, and it’s hard to put down. It’s definitely not a light read but is so well-written and compelling. I highly recommend!

    • Emily says...

      I just finished Ask Again, Yes. Favorite book of 2019 so far. And I read a lot :)

    • Marie says...

      This was the best book I’ve read in maybe the last decade. It was so profound and moving and yet unpretentious and a page-turner at the same time. Love love love.

  114. Maria says...

    Just here to ask: when do you read? I plow through audiobooks and podcasts because I listen while walking, driving, doing laundry, whatever. But I want to try to read physical books as well because there’s something so satisfying about them. I would rather not read too much before bed, because it keeps me from actually sleeping, which is another thing I don’t want to skimp on. Thoughts?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great question! i’d love to hear people’s answers. in the evening, i typically either watch TV or read. if i’m in the middle of a good book, i’ll often climb in bed shortly after the boys go to bed, around 9pm, so i’m not too tired to read for a while. i also read on the weekends if the boys are doing their own thing (rarely but you never know!). i’m so curious to hear from other people!

    • Kristin says...

      I read on vacation, when commuting or traveling (subway, train, plane), when my husband is out of town for work (which is about a week per month), and on the weekends in the morning before my husband wakes up.

      I FINALLY just got around to reading The Goldfinch which I’ve wanted to read since it came out. I devoured it over a long weekend in Miami by the pool and I loved it. I think the movie looks really bad though, which makes me rather sad.

    • Sarah A. says...

      I ride the train to/from work and I love to have a physical book or my kindle with me so I spend the time eating up a (hopefully delicious) book instead of just blooping around on my phone killing time. I also read before bed if my partner is not there begging me to watch TV, and in my free time on the weekend (husband and I each take ‘personal time’ every weekend while the other watches the kids) or during their screen time in between chores. I love to sit in the backyard when the weather is nice and just reeaaaaddd while kids play. I also go to the park and read on my lunch break about once a week. In bad weather, it’s a coffee shop. Obviously, reading is a priority for me.

    • Hannah G says...

      I read about 15 ish minutes when I wake up- usually a serious, harder read in the morning, along with my Bible. And then I read before bed. We’ve almost cut out weeknight tv in our house, and I find that gets us in bed earlier and I read more. I value my sleep as well, but I find sneaking in 1-2 pages even helps me get through the book at a pretty consistent pace.

    • Anna says...

      I read on weekend mornings before anyone else wakes up, also while commuting, in doctor’s office waiting rooms, and on weekends when there is down time. My husband and I usually watch a show together at night, but when I lived alone I read before bed, too. :)

    • Hillary F says...

      Right after I put my kids to bed I read. Usually this is between 8:15 and 8:30 and then go to sleep at 9:00 pm.

    • anonygirl says...

      On my commute (45 minutes on the bus), on my lunch, at home instead of watching Netflix, before bed, whenever I can squeeze in five minutes. I am never without a book. The only time I can’t read is on a windy road…it never ends well.

    • Hilary says...

      I read after dinner! It’s one of the highlights of my day. I also often read during my lunch break if it’s a particularly good book. Even more luxurious: I teach and we do Drop Everything and Read (DEAR time) every day so I get to read for a few minutes then. Every day I marvel: Kids, I get to sit around and read for a few minutes with you. ADULTS WOULD KILL FOR THIS TIME.

      Follow up: If you have kids, consider scheduling family reading time! My students’ parents always ask how to raise kids who love reading and the answer is pretty simple: they need to read. Often. Kids need to see that adults read and that it’s a normal activity. Our DEAR time is only 10 minutes, so find 10 minutes in your day to all read a book!! Just enough time to get them interested in something.

    • In the summer: on lunch breaks at a park (I work downtown) and on the weekends I take the opportunity to lay out in the sun & work on my tan while reading! In the winter: my commute, albeit short, and weekends to take advantage of the cozy cold weather.

    • Claire says...

      I have to make time for it or it doesn’t happen. Lately I read on my lunch hour at work, or when I turn in early for bed in the evenings. I try to read a poem or two when I wake up in the mornings before I look at news or email or anything else. If I love a book that I’m reading then occasionally I will just go back to bed on weekend mornings with a mug of hot coffee or tea and my book (especially nice when it’s raining). The best reading moment I had lately was one Saturday afternoon recently after working in the yard, followed by a long shower, laying on the couch with my head on a pillow. It was a wonderful interlude in my weekend, in between chores and dinner. I’m going to try to remember to stop my busy Saturday or Sunday and just do that more often. It was quite wonderful.

    • Christine says...

      Im always reading two books. One audiobook and one physical book. I listen to audiobooks on my ride to work or really anytime I’m in the car without my daughter, and sometimes at work if I’m performing a mindless task. The physical books get much less use and I read them after my daughter is in bed.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      If I’m not writing, I read first thing in the morning. Most of the time though, I read at different intervals during the day – blissful lulls in the office, in the salon, in the mall. I’m always with my Kindle, which helps. I try not to carry physical books around so they don’t get torn or stained. I also read at night before going to bed. And if I wake up in the middle of the night and find it hard to go back to sleep, I read. Then on weekends, if I’m watching TV and I get bored, I simply mute the volume and read.

    • Marie says...

      I do most of my physical reading right before bed, or while I’m sitting in my daughter’s room waiting for her to fall asleep. But I do MOST of my “reading” on Audible, while commuting, cleaning up after dinner, folding laundry, etc. I read more calming and meditative stuff before bed and save the exciting page-turners for my commute!

    • Alysia says...

      Love this question and everyone’s answers. I am a former teacher, now stay at home mom and have always read voraciously. I found it very hard to focus and read both during my first trimester (soooo sick- and bc so sick: depressed) and again right after my baby was born! I actually had to pack up my “books to be read stack” sitting by my bed bc it made me so sad so see books I couldn’t focus on or find the energy to read. I had so many friends who said they were able to read so many books with their newborn and this was so not the case for me! I was so relieved in both instances when the morning (read: all day) sickness finally passed and then later when the newborn baby brain fog cleared and I felt I could focus again. I try to read after my son goes to bed.. and if he’s happily playing on his own I try to sneak in some minutes during the day!

  115. Celine by Peter Heller! Celine is such a rich, interesting, no-nonsense but compassionate character. I love her complexity and depth, and the plot is even better! It’s suspenseful and fascinating, without being violent or cruel. It’s great summer read you can really soak in.

    • Kate says...

      I just finished Celine too and really liked it! Have you read any of Peter Heller’s other books? The plots all sound so different, but I really liked his writing style so I’ll probably pick up another one soon.

  116. Amanda W. says...

    I’m in the middle of “The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple.” Not really light summer reading, but very intriguing.

    Planning to read a Ruth Ware book next. Really enjoyed “The Death of Mrs. Westaway,” if you like a good murder mystery.

  117. Sarah says...

    I just read The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck for the first time—I know, perfect light, beach towel read, right? The thing is, I feel like I was absolutely led to it. The day I finished the book was the day I breastfed my one-year-old for the last time. And without giving away any spoilers, if you know what happens at the end of Wrath, then you know why I sobbed hysterically for about two hours. That’s the magic of a good book—it catches you in the quiet moments of your life to grant you meaning and solace and beauty.

    • Kristin says...

      Haha, last year my beach read was A Little Life!

    • Ashley says...

      Oh that novel was such a gut punch. It’s been ages since I read The Grapes of Wrath, but that ending stays with you. Although, I really, really wish that Rose of Sharon had owned a breast pump.

    • Jo says...

      I know exactly what you mean and I can totally see why you sobbed; I read that book over twenty years ago and that scene is still carved into my memory, it haunts me. So sad and so beautifully written.

  118. Erin says...

    I reread Pride and Prejudice recently (it’s so utterly hilarious and I love it so much!) Then I realized I’ve never actually read Sense and Sensibility. I vaguely remember deciding, when I was in my early 20s, that I needed to stretch out my Jane Austen reading rather than gulping down all her books at once. S&S is the only major one I still haven’t read — so I bought myself a copy and am planning to enjoy it on vacation next week. Can’t wait!

    • Jacqueline says...

      It’s so good! I read it recently and my friend was telling me about all the drama going on with her friend, and how she was crazy about this guy, and … I don’t want to spoil anything but it was the same! I was like, “all that you’re saying right now, that’s the plot of Sense and Sensibility.” That Jane Austen. Her stories live forever.

    • Emma Australia says...

      Just finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz. An amazing book and highly recommend.

  119. Claire O'Connor says...

    On a big fiction kick lately:
    The Opposite of Everyone – Joshilyn Jackson
    My Twenty-five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now – Peter Mayle
    The Floating Feldmans – Elyssa Friedland
    Garlic & Sapphires – Ruth Reichl
    The rest are true crime!

    • Mandy says...

      I read the southern lady code as per the early recommendation and found it absolutely hilarious! I need a really good follow up rec!!!!

  120. Katie says...

    Am I the only one who really disliked Three Women? I was expecting to get a female power message but felt the opposite.

    • Kelsey says...

      Nope, Katie, you’re not the only one! I read it very quickly, so I guess it’s not entirely fair of me to say that I disliked it full stop––if I hated it that much, I could have just stopped––but it’s definitely not about female empowerment (although I’m not sure it was ever presented that way) and in fact is a really narrow view of “female desire in America” when it purports to be a GRAND STATEMENT, or at least the marketing positioned it that way. I agree with the commenter who said that what the book is about is really Lisa Taddeo’s ideas of desire, and is actually a very pessimistic view of a very specific kind of romantic relationship (heterosexual, for one). Also it was just… poorly written! I can’t get her description of her subject’s love interest as a “gleaming, avuncular oyster” out of my mind (NY Times review also pointed this out). It has to be the worst simile I’ve ever encountered, and it’s not even close to the only one!

    • Kel says...

      I’m in agreement Katie! It was such a bad experience for me, I immediately took it to the car to be donated. Really, really did not like it.

  121. Heidi Hooten says...

    I am a sucker for an apocalyptic novel (and trying to figure out if I would survive. Probably not.) and I picked up “The Lightest Object In The Universe” by Kimi Eisele and read it in practically one sitting and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a love story, and the most positive apocalyptic novel I’ve ever read. LOVED it.

    • Katie says...

      Have you read Severance by Ling Ma or Station Eleven by Hilary St. John Mandel? Love both of these.

    • nadine says...

      hi Heidi, you may like “Dance the eagle to sleep” by Maggie Percy. I bought it a few years ago and it kept sitting on the shelf, until I started it a few weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. I’ll check “The Lightest Object In The Universe”, thank you!

    • Jacqueline says...

      Have you read Station Eleven? I just finished that one again this week. It’s sad. But also really hopeful. The world ends, but it’s not so bad really. Not in the end. I love a good end of the world book. I am going to go look up yours now.

  122. Kathy says...

    Newsworthy by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton (the poet laureate of Houston)

  123. Mary B says...

    The Salt Path – nonfiction set in Cornwall. Can’t say enough about it.

  124. Kirstin says...

    I read this a little while ago
    https://www.hachette.com.au/julie-keys/the-artists-portrait

    The Artist’s Portrait is a very clever book – it is part mystery, part feminist statement, and explores the way women were excluded from the art world in the past. It also explores what prevents women from following their artistic voice today. The two protagonists are so different… and it dips between the 1920s and the 1990s. It’s super cool because the main character is a bit prickly, so she’s a rich and curious character to experience. I highly recommend this amazing novel from a debut Australian author.

  125. Leah K says...

    I just finished The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer. It’s a true story about Varian Fry, the man who’s job it was to help artists and authors flee Nazi Occupied France. Characters include Mark Chagall, Max Ernst, and Peggy Guggenheim. I even kept it longer than the library allowed – I will pay my late fines, I just HAD to finish it!

    • Danielle says...

      Thank you for the recommendation! I loved the Invisible Bridge and didn’t realize that she had a new book out.

  126. Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick is a riveting book that combines memoir with historical biographies of independent women. It is not a singles manifesto, but rather a really entertaining look at muses and inspiration that parallels Bolick’s trajectory. It’s also really well-written, like everything she writes.

    • Donna says...

      Eagerly awaiting her next book called the March Sisters.

    • Kristin says...

      ooh these both sound great!

    • Rebecca says...

      Give “Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions” by Briallen Hopper a whirl if you like “Spinster.” I thought I liked “Spinster,” but then I read “Hard to Love” and I feel differently about “Spinster” now. Hopper is not as entertaining as Bolick, but I feel like her muses and inspiration are much more real-life, and much more authentic. Hopper even dedicates one of the essays to “Spinster.”

  127. Katie says...

    I picked up “Notes to Self” by Emilie Pine while on a research trip to Dublin in June on the recommendation of another grad student. It’s phenomenal! Basically a series of feminist essays by an Irish author, talking about life as a woman in academia, struggles with infertility, a difficult childhood, and finding herself. I read it in one day. I’d especially recommend it to my fellow 20 something COJ readers, but really it’s a book for all women.

  128. Tristen says...

    I’ve been on a lucky reading streak lately but standout favorites were There There by Tommy Orange and Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. Both incredible debuts– I’m amazed what these writers did their first time around. Wow wow wow.

    • Tania says...

      Thank you for reminding me I need to read Disappearing Earth. Kamchatka! I’m totally intrigued by this place, and this book.

    • Betsy says...

      Disappearing Earth blew me away. I listened to the audiobook on my commute (highly recommend it) and am seriously considering buying the hardcover to read it traditionally, too. I learned so much about a place I’d never heard of, and the story and style were captivating.

    • Tristen says...

      Me too Betsy! The chapter with Ksyusha and Chander had me reading till dawn. I could not put it down, and it was such a beautiful portrait of Kamchatka.

  129. Eloise says...

    I just finished The Library Book (non-fiction) – if you love libraries, it’s a must try! – and On Earth We Are All Briefly Gorgeous (which I think I learned about here?) – so not an easy read, but soooo good. Reminded me a little of A Little Life. I’m currently devouring The Glass Castle.

    • ks says...

      I love on this earth. Ignored everyone so I could devour it.

    • Megan says...

      I started talking about On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous at work the other day and got choked up. It’s so, so beautiful. Every single line was perfection.

  130. Christine says...

    currently reading City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). It’s so good so far!!

    This summer I have finished quite a few books but my three favorites have been “How to be Parisian Wherever You Go”, “Hot Young Widows Club”, and “Educated”. Each book was so different but so so good!!

    • T says...

      I listened to City of Girls on audible and I just adored it. The story is wonderful and fun and the narrator was amazing.

  131. Erin says...

    I just finished the new release Tell Me Everything, which is great if you liked YOU or Gone Girl. It’s basically like YOU but with a woman protagonist, set at an elite college in New England. Amazing debut novel.

    • Gone Girl is one of my favorites! It’s so hard to find thrillers that live up to it, definitely putting this on my list.

  132. Lauren says...

    I believe you already linked to this book a few weeks ago, but I just finished Fleishman is in Trouble and I cannot stop thinking about it.
    I also devoured Ruth Reichl’s latest – Save me the Plums.
    love summer reads!

    • Eloise says...

      I loved Save Me the Plums enough that I’m considering a reread of her earlier books, which I read YEARS ago. I loved the start of Fleischman (which I also learned about here) but lost interest 2/3rds of the way in. I finished it, but, “eh.” I’m curious to hear Joanna’s thoughts on it now. (Also, I’d suggest trying Rabbit Run, by John Updike. Similar theme, but published in 1960. (Trigger warning – bad things happen to a child)

    • Susan says...

      I just finished Save Me the Plums and I sort of regularly go back and read Garlic and Sapphires. I just love the way she writes. I’m not a foodie but she makes food come alive.

  133. Sarah says...

    Women Talking by Miriam Toews… best fiction I’ve read in so so long. Incredible writing, fascinating novel structure, very specific story that somehow feels so illuminating to my life and our moment in time. I fell in love with the characters like they were my own friends and family – I was buoyed by their strength and intellect, got angry at them, cried for them, laughed out loud at their wit – I finished the book months ago and still think of the characters daily.

    • Lindsey Joy says...

      Oh my gosh, yes!

  134. Courtney says...

    The Seven or Eight Lives of Stella Fortuna was so engrossing, and perfect if you’re planning an Italian summer trip!

  135. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, by Julie Grames. It’s a beautiful family saga spanning about 100 years starting in rural Calabria in the South of Italy and ending up in present day NY. Once I was a couple of pages in, I could NOT put it down. I read it on my phone, so I didn’t have to. I was actually that person who walks down Manhattan sidewalks looking down at her phone… but I had to!

  136. Just when I think I’ve exhausted the list of summer must-reads! I want to start all three of these immediately. Thanks for the recommendations. I would add: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed (HIGHLY recommend; I finished it in three days), City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (I didn’t want it to end!) and I’m currently on The Overstory by Richard Powers (an enlightening, interwoven tale of trees and the humans that attempt to understand and coexist with them).

  137. Lauren E. says...

    I never see enough representation for romance novels here, so I’ll toss in my pick of Sonali Dev’s “Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors” about an Indian American neurosurgeon who falls for a chef. It’s beautifully written and super fun and the perfect summer read.

    • Amy says...

      I’ve been reading less and less lately, so this summer I gave up all my non-fiction books about topics I’m usually interested in and switched to YA fiction. Like, teenagers-falling-in-love beach reads. So refreshing and nostalgic! Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and Jenna Evans Welch have good books in this category. Man, I miss falling in love now! (Happily married for ten years)

    • Catie says...

      Yes! Thank you! I adore romance novels and it’s probably the genre I read the most. I would be so grateful for any recommendations. (A couple of my fav romance authors: Courtney Milan, Alisha Rai, and Tessa Dare)

  138. Nicole says...

    I just finished “This Is How It Always Is.” And oh my! What a beautifully told story that made me giggle, then dab my eyes and reconsider how I see things. It’s heartwarming and simply special.

    • lkb says...

      I loved this book too!

  139. Jordan says...

    I just listened to the memoir Educated on a road trip. It was jaw dropping.

    • Christine says...

      I agree!! Such a great book. The fact that it is a true story is both sad and inspiring.

    • Ellliesee says...

      Educated is a real page turner that kept me up at night. I also see certain Mormon bloggers in a new, clear light.

  140. Helen says...

    I was eagerly waiting for this post! I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading.

    This summer I’ve read:
    – The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang- loved it and made me hopeful that I’ll find love.
    – The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – I read it in two days and yet still decided that thrillers just aren’t my thing.
    – Circling the Sun by Paula McLain – While I thoroughly enjoyed this, I didn’t love it nearly as much as The Paris Wife
    -An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – loved this one.

    I’ve read half of the following and don’t know if I’m going to pick it back up. Please let me know if I should push on with any of them:
    -Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
    -Less by Andrew Sean Greer
    – After You by Jojo Moyes (I loved Me Before you and have Still me to Start but this one isn’t doing it for me)
    -Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (I had such high hopes for this one as many readers love it but I’m having a hard time getting into it)

    • Christina says...

      Helen, Exit West is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. But, if you’re already halfway through it and not completely hooked, I’d say move on. I also loved Asymmetry too, but thought the first part was the best. I didn’t love American Marriage so maybe we have different taste in books!

    • Wink says...

      Stick with Exit West, Helen. I had the same experience as you, somehow the high expectations I had for it clashed with its very simple, straight-forward prose, but I went back to it and was so glad I did. Its power is accumulative and the simplicity of the language wound up feeling like an asset. It is one of those books that feels timeless and timely all at once.

    • Laura says...

      the wife between us had TOO many twists (for me)! by the end, it was too unbelievable

    • Bryn says...

      Helen- give Less and Exit West a try again. I really enjoyed both of them!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      I couldn’t get into Assymetry and Less either, Helen. Now Exit West, I adored. I think you should give it another go. It sneaks up on you and builds up into a powerful, exquisitely written book that speaks of our time and to your soul. It’s okay if you can’t, though. The book might just not be for you.

    • Helen says...

      Thank you for all of your replies! I will give Exit West another go : )

    • Kay says...

      I didn’t finish Less either. I loved Exit West, so selfishly, I would say stick with it, but I did read it at the height of the Syrian War and the terrible refugee situation so I felt connected to it, which made the book important to my heart.

    • Sarah says...

      Less had a perfect ending.

  141. Maria says...

    Hi, greetings from Spain!!
    If you want the Gazpacho to be red instead of orange you can blender first all the ingredients but the olive oil and then add the olive oil and blender again. That’s the way we do at home.

  142. Christina says...

    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. Sucked me right in!!! Sad and difficult and hopeful and inspiring. So good, and I can’t believe the rights were optioned by Amy Poehler (!!) for a television series. Yes yes yes. Love your reading lists – they’ve all been added to my goodreads!

    • Suzanne says...

      My very favorite book. I recommend it to everyone I know. I had no idea about Amy Poehler and a TV series (I assumed it would be made into a movie). I’m not sure how I feel about that!

    • Rachel says...

      God, yeah, what a novel.
      It was my lunchtime book for a couple weeks and I probably looked insane as I tried not to cry through some sections.
      Good stuff!

  143. Sam says...

    I read There, There at the beach last week (in less than 2 days) and have started Where the Crawdads Sing. Three Women is next on my list!

  144. Melissa says...

    Red, White & Royal Blue was one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time! It’s a great romance but also a wonderful examination of sexuality, race, politics, and identity. I can’t stop thinking about it!

    • Jessie says...

      SECONDING! I got so engrossed, I tried to read Red, White and Royal Blue while walking from the train to work. I haven’t tried to walk and read since I was a child! It was so beautiful, thoughtful, hilarious and well-written. A pure delight for summer!

  145. K says...

    I finally finished Eat Pray Love which I both learned so much from and thought was insufferably tone deaf.

    I read Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang which was way too relatable, even during the exaggerated flourishes.

    I am reading/re-reading Confederacy of Dunces, which I read up to halfway a couple years ago (I would visit Barnes & Noble any time I had time and read it in installments). I didn’t remember enough of it that I decided to just start from the beginning. It still blows me away how in all it’s satire, it feels so *contemporary*

  146. Jenn P says...

    I finished Claire Lombardo’s “The Most Fun We Ever Had” a week or so ago, and I loved it. A wonderfully written story about a family – the four daughters, their significant others, and their parents. It was lovely. And also Jessica Francis Kane’s “Rules for Visiting” is lovely. If you have close friends, or if you don’t, this book will make you want to reach out to the immediately. It’s a quiet, sort of stilted (in a good, purposeful way), beautifully written novel about middle age and friendship, and what it means to have and be a friend. It’s the best thing I’ve read lately.

  147. Lauren says...

    Just started reading My Friend Anna: The Story of a Fake Heiress. So good!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ve been talking about that book here at the office, it looks so compelling!!!

    • Wink says...

      Ooh, just reserved at the library. Was fascinated by the NYMag coverage on her. Anything Ripley-esque gets my attention!

  148. Marci says...

    Long time lurker here, finally writing in because a friend passed along an advanced copy of a debut novel that I am excited about. It’s set in 1970s Argentina, and it’s called THE TENTH GIRL (by Sara Faring). I am loving every atmospheric Patagonian page. Beautiful writing that is so readable, and the premise is so original. Apparently it has a “Gone Girl level” twist… We’ll see! Looking forward to reading Three Women next.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what an enticing description!!!

  149. Joaquina says...

    “American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson was the absolute best
    novel I have read in years. Everyone drop what you are doing and get this from the library/your local book store!

    I am currently reading JK Rowling’s “Lethal White” from her Cormoran Strike series, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Turns out she is a damn good writer of adult fiction too :)

    • Mary B says...

      I like the Strike series too.

  150. Julie says...

    CAN WE TALK ABOUT THREE WOMEN?!? Because I think it was over-hyped and didn’t love it, BUT it’s probably the book my wife and I have talked about the MOST EVER. I loved the author’s interview on the Lit Up podcast, which helped give me some context, so I liked it more. Maggie’s story line was by far the most fascinating. Ah! So much to discuss!!

    If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, I’d recommend The Gone Dead. The Travelers was different from anything I’ve ever read, but good different.

    And if you want a good non-fiction read: Real Queer America and American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment are worth your time.

    • E says...

      I have been on a spree lately. I’m a high school English teacher on summer break and I’ve been indulging in long, irresponsibly late reading sessions.

      The Need by Helen Phillips- was this already featured here? So dark. I read half in one sitting. Really, the best opening I’ve read in a long time. Be prepared to finish it when you begin.

      Normal People by Sally Rooney- Ditto previous comments.

      Ordinary People by Diana Evans- Yes, the title is a funny coincidence. It is such a relatable story of marriage and families. With a sneaky little thriller twist.