Summer’s here and my serotonin levels are soaring right along with the temperature. Memorial Day’s behind us, summer Fridays have arrived, and the days are long and warm more often than not. Some hunker down in air-conditioned rooms and constantly keep a cold one in hand. Some sun lovers take off for the park or the beach to lay down a blanket and soak up the rays while devouring the latest bestselling book on their Kindle.
I gave up on reading physical books a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. This would have been blasphemous to my former self, but my life is better for it. I went through a massive decluttering phase and realized that I didn’t need all the titles crowding my bookshelves.
Armed with Marie Kondo’s mantra "imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn't this the lifestyle you dream of?" I realized the only thing my old books were sparking was a cluttered brain.
I’d been promising myself that I’d read all the books on my nightstand from the top down. But then a fresh title would catch my eye and my tower of unread books only got that much taller. I was completely convinced I needed my old books — even the ones I hated from high school English classes — just in case. Yet, that situation never arose. Instead, my bookshelves were taking up precious real estate in my tiny New York apartment. Eventually, it was a huge issue when I had to move. So I made a dire decision and sold the books I could and donated the rest.
Now, my entire book collection fits on one bookshelf — more space for me to dance — filled with only my absolute-absolute favorites. Whenever I set eyes on my edited pile of novels . . . I. Feel. Joy. Thank you, Marie, for the sparkle! I will say, there’s nothing like cracking open the spine of a brand new, physical book. But for the convenience, a Kindle provides, that old feeling isn’t worth the trouble.
Now that I don’t have to lug a book around anymore, I actually read more because I can use the Kindle app on any device. Besides, should I discover any great bestsellers on my Kindle, I can buy the physical book just to be sentimental — but I reserve this for my highest-rated Kindle finds.
Check out summer’s hottest books on your Kindle:
For the Sally Rooney lovers out there, pick up Emily Henry’s delightful novels, starting with Beach Read. Though it’s more of a sugary rom-com than Rooney’s regular fare, it’s equally as captivating because it puts a millennial and modern twist to expected genre tropes. You’ll fall in love with the complex characters, the practiced pacing, and the summery feeling that’s precisely what its title suggests: the ideal beach read.
For the Coastal Grandmother set — or anyone racking up serious screen time browsing the #OldMoney tag on TikTok — Elin Hilderbrand’s latest work is for you. When it comes to summer reads, Elin Hilderbrand is on of my go-to authors. As the queen of beach reads, this Nantucket-based story is deliciously dramatic. Set in a New England hotel that’s riddled with scandal, it’s stunning and suspenseful all at once.
There are character-driven novels, and there are community-driven novels. This is the latter. This story tracks a group of regulars at a community pool who one day discover a crack at the bottom of their pool. The emotional portrayal of the characters and their lives will stick with you long after you finish this story about aging, family, and interconnectedness.
This novel will be the talk of the town. Stacey Abrams — yes, that Stacey Abrams, champion of voter’s rights and former state representative of Georgia. Did you know she’s also a talented writer of both fiction and nonfiction? Her latest novel follows an operative for a top-secret intelligence organization that must infiltrate a terrorist group and recover stolen environmental technology. Under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Abrams delivers a suspenseful and sophisticated spy tale that will keep you at the edge of your seat — or the edge of your beach blanket.
Memphis is an utterly spellbinding family epic that tracks three generations of Black women in the American South. This book was artfully written and a pleasure to read — making it one I always come back to. This is a story that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming. The women endure much personal trauma but through it all there’s a community of Black women there providing support and lifting them up as they find the strength to heal and overcome the past. This book is an ode to black womanhood, to the community, identity, sisterhood, and endurance.
This seminal work is a must-have for any library. This summer, read Pearl Cleage’s journals. She’s a feminist playwright whose work explores love, race, politics, sex, motherhood, and the maddening realities of being a writer. This book almost feels like youre at brunch with her as she tells you things happening in her life.
A frank account of the trials and tribulations of making it in contemporary culture as one of the few Black women in predominantly white institutions. From private school to private university, to elite corporations, Danielle Prescod has seen it all. Her memoir will feel all too familiar to anyone who has been tokenized, laying bare the bleak lack of progress over the past few decades in a personal and poignant account.
This memoir by Selma Blair reads like a novel. Known for her roles in Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde, Blair chronicles her life as a “mean baby,” and how she grew up to become a troubled adult. Her raw and revelatory account of how her childhood informed her alcoholism, her complicated relationships, her brushes with death, and more.
The follow-up novel to the award-winning Shuggie Bain, this riveting, queer love story takes place in a Scottish working-class neighborhood between two should-be sworn enemies: a Catholic and a Protestant. The vivid prose follows a sensitive boy growing up in 1980s Glasgow, grappling with the world, his sexuality, and himself.
Read this award-winning novel before its feature film adaptation releases on July 15th. A strangely beautiful but reclusive protagonist is coming of age in a swamp. This unsettling — yet astonishing — novel that everyone should read.