Is there anything better than a summer vacation? When I’m given the opportunity to turn on my OOO for a week or two, I’m likely packing our bags with a few novels off my “to-read” pile and heading out on a trip (even if it’s just to the backyard this year).
Over the years, travel and reading have become inextricably intertwined for me. I can specifically remember which books I was reading on each trip, and my connection to the narrative seems to collide with my connection to the city I am visiting. When I have the chance to revisit a beloved book, it transports me right back to those cherished memories of travel, of the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way.
This year will definitely be a bit different, and my reading list has adjusted accordingly. This summer, I’m using my reading list to peek into different worlds and perspectives different than my own. Instead of physically transporting to a new place, I’m letting literature do the work. If you have a similar mindset, and you’re looking for a few recommendations to round out your summer selections, I’m happy to help. Scroll down to see what I’m reading this year, and don’t forget to support your local bookstore when you purchase!
What We’re Reading in Summer 2020
Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
This novel has gotten major acclaim (think #1 New York Times bestseller), but it was the grassroots energy behind the book that got my attention. It seems like my entire network has read this book, or is planning on reading it this summer, and I couldn’t resist. The novel follows Kya Clark, a woman who has survived her entire childhood growing up on her own in the marsh on the North Carolina coast. It’s a coming-of-age story that has an unexpected crime drama twist - the perfect fictional story to read while enjoying the lake life this summer.
Educated - Tara Westover
If nonfiction is more your speed, go for Educated. The author, Tara Westover, grew up in Idaho with her family of survivalists, preparing for the end of the world and dodging government interference. As she got older, Tara set out to use education to escape her situation, battling many of the obstacles of her former life. However, when she reaches the peak of academia, she wonders if she’s strayed too far from home. I’d recommend this one for a slow Sunday or as a choice for your virtual book club.
Untamed - Glennon Doyle
Known for her stunning memoirs and personal development Ted Talks, Glennon Doyle has released her latest work, Untamed. The book is described as “soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender”, and dives into what it’s like to finally hear your own voice, to be brave enough to listen when you’re being called to break free from expectation. I’m grabbing my journal and a box of tissues for this one - when Glennon’s words land they tend to make an impact.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - Matthew Desmond
Our country is at a critical turning point when it comes to the discussion on race and privilege. I’ve chosen this book as one of my summer reads on the topic, because it hits close to home - literally. Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee who are navigating poverty in one of the most segregated cities in the United States. Evicted won the Pulitzer in 2017, and was chosen as UW-Madison’s Go Big Read book in 2016. If you haven’t experienced this book yet, it’s a must-read.
The Vanishing Half - Brit Bennett
I’ll admit it - the cover of this book drew us in, and, when we heard that HBO had optioned it for a limited series I knew I had to read it. The Vanishing Half explores the journeys of identical twin sisters who ran away from their small, southern black community at the age of 16. The two women lead radically different lives, one lives with her black daughter in the town she left so many years ago, and the other secretly passes as white, married to an unknowing husband. Brit is a New York Times bestselling author, and I know her latest novel won’t let us down.
So, what do you think? Will you be adding any of these books to your “to-read” pile this summer? Let me know which one piques your fancy, and, while you’re at it, leave your picks in the comments below. I can always use a few more recommendations.