Happy Friday! No matter what is going on in our lives, there is something so freeing about falling into the world of a book. We can be entertained, challenged, scared, humbled… we can learn more about a topic, or more importantly we can learn something about ourselves and those who might have different views or human experiences than us.
I also love that you guys love to read even MORE than I do! Back at the beginning of summer, I asked for reading recommendations on Instagram and in my Lake Shore Lady Community Group on Facebook – and of course you guys delivered. In fact, there were so many amazing recs, that’s one of the reason why I didn’t get this list of Best Summer Reads up sooner! ?Whether you’re looking for easy chick lit, some motivation, or a critically acclaimed book – this list has it. So, let’s dive in!
What I Read/Am Reading This Summer
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
I’ve been a fan of Emily Giffin ever since I read Something Borrowed years ago. Her books always suck me in right away with her easy dialogue and familiar characters. But her latest novel, All We Ever Wanted, is different. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a page turner, but this one dives into some incredibly poignant and relevant issues. The whole thing is extremely relatable and thought provoking in a way that can be uncomfortable – which is usually the most important kind. Highly recommend this one to everyone.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
I love a good inspirational book – do you remember how much I obsessed over Big Magic?! Well, when my friend Ali told me about this book by Rachel Hollis, I went home and ordered it right away. I haven’t gotten very far yet, but it’s all about encouraging women to believe in themselves and stop speaking to themselves in a way that could be holding them back. I AM ALL ABOUT THAT.
Hot Mess by Emily Belden
If you follow my insta stories, you know that I absolutely LOVED this book! I met Emily back when she wrote her first book, Eightysixed (which I also loved), so I was obviously thrilled to read her debut novel, Hot Mess… and I read the whole thing within 3 days. The main character is incredibly likable, it takes place right here in Chicago, and you will NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
After reading Hot Mess, I liked the idea of another book that takes place in the restaurant industry. Truth be told, I only got to the 2nd chapter, so I can’t give you a full review here – but it’s on my shelf and I’m hoping to get back to it soon!
Reader Recommended Best Summer Reads
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
When I asked for recommendations, The Nightingale came up more than any other book – especially in my Facebook group! This book is about two sisters navigating through life in German-occupied, war-torn France. As Amazon says, “A heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.” Seriously cannot WAIT to dive into this one.
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
“The best book I have read in years.” -Dani / This was another popular recommendation, but Dani’s comment sealed the deal for me. This book is about a scarf that connects two women touched my tragedy, one in September 1911 and one in September 2011. And not only did a bunch of you love it, but it has incredible reviews from most everyone else who has read it, too. As if that wasn’t enough, it also takes place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan – where I used to live. Definitely on my list.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
I was surprised to see that two of the most recommended books were both about World War II – but it’s pretty cool that both this and The Nightingale are both about female experiences. This one “reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.” I should have known that you guys would be all about strong female leads!
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Moving on to something a little different – this psychological mystery was named Best Book of the Year by NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, and more. This story of two families in the suburbs of Cleveland explores race, privilege, and our American society.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Andddd here we are with the chick lit! A New Yorker gets invited to spend the summer with her boyfriend in Singapore… only to find out when she gets there that he is family is crazy rich. I hear these books are easy and fun – and the movie comes out August 15th!
Update: I just finished and ordered the next book in the series IMMEDIATELY! Such a fun read!
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
“The Light We Lost was so good! I started and finished it yesterday” – Adrienne / If you’re looking for a good love story, Adrienne and a few others loved this one!
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
“Great for anyone who loves thrillers like Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn novels.” -Paige
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
I’m surprised I haven’t read this one myself yet, because it has been recommended to me countless times. A self help book aimed to empower you to live an awesome life!
Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker
“This journalist takes a year off to dive into the world of wine sommeliers.” – Jackie
It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
A food blogger’s memoir about body image issues, weight loss, and self acceptance.
and more recommendations…
All the Light We Cannot See – Pulitzer Prize Winner
Behind Closed Doors – suspenseful psychological thriller
Call Me By Your Name – this was turned into a critically acclaimed feature film
Tell The Wolves I’m Home – a moving story about an unlikely friendship
The Alice Network – historical novel
The Assistants – “Oceans Eleven meets Devil Wears Prada”
The Great Alone – by the same author as The Nightingale
The Hate U Give – the story of a 16 year old whose unarmed best friend is killed by a police officer.
The Lying Game – suspenseful thriller
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – for fans of Old Hollywood
small great things – a thought-provoking novel about privilege and prejudice in America
Did I leave out any of your Best Summer Reads?!
Trust me, I know that there are so many more great books out there that this barely scratches the surface. I hope it helps you find the next book you crack open this summer!