I know the stores are starting to stock their shelves with Halloween costumes and I may or may not have already seen a meme on social media about pumpkin spice lattes, but I am here to declare that I’m hanging on to warm summer nights, days by the pool, and all the ice cream my lactose-intolerant-denier self will continue to eat.
Every year, I make a list of books to read in the summer, and every year, my kids thwart my efforts to do anything remotely enjoyable for myself, but I am determined to squeeze in some sort of summer reading this year. (Take that, kids!) So if you’re looking to join me in soaking up the last bits of summer, here are the books on my list, along with a few favorites recommended by Team Truly Mama.
While Giffin has been in the news recently for some controversial reasons (she was widely criticized for her abrasive comments on Meghan Markle), her latest book is a reminder of why I was first drawn to her writing in the first place—it’s the perfect mix of relatable characters, an engaging story, and it draws you into the chaos and uncertainty of the post 9/11 world, which is largely reminiscent of the world today.
Sue Monk Kidd
You might know author Sue Monk Kidd for her popular “Secret Life of Bees,” and if you’re a longtime fan, as I am, you’ll love her long-awaited new release. It follows the fictional account of Jesus’ wife, Ana, and her trademark lyrical storytelling and clean prose made this book well worth the wait. It’s an incredibly fascinating account that brings a well-known historical story to life in an entirely different way—and tells the story that changed the world, all through the eyes of a woman who has her own story to tell.
Set in what was once the slave trade epicenter, Ghana, “Homegoing” follows the paths of two half-sisters as they lead very different lives: one marrying into a life of comfort and royalty and one captured and sold into slavery. The novel brings the dark and troubled history of how slavery was hidden in plain sight—and the legacy it has created.
This book has unplanned pregnancies, mysterious figures showing up, dashed dreams, and plenty of suspense along the way. Penned by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, this book delves deep into how the mistakes of the past affect the future, and begs the question: what happens if we don’t learn from them?
Good luck getting this book from the library—I’ve been on the waitlist since its June debut, so it’s a popular one. But it’s worth the hunt to track it down, as this widely-renowned story follows the lives of two twin sisters who choose to live differently, one as a Black woman, and one as a white woman, and the intersection of their lives as past meets present.
6. Open Book
Yes, that Jessica Simpson. When an editor recommended this book, I thought she was joking, but as it would turn out, Simpson is a witty, smart writer and moms especially will love her insight into motherhood and life because she’s, well, an open book. And you know we were all curious about that infamous “Chicken of the Sea” bit anyway. This is a great one for listening to while tackling chores around the house or reading while keeping one eyeball on the kids at the beach.
7. Virgin River
If you have the Kindle unlimited membership, you can read this one for free and yes, it’s the story that the popular Netflix series of the same name is based on. The book features scenes that are a bit juicer than the Netflix series and while the writing is not something I would classify as highly intellectual, it’s a light, easy read for a mom who just wants something entertaining after the kids go to bed.
Also a Kindle Unlimited find for me, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this author, because she has a lot of book options to choose from. This one tackles the ever-present scenario of a mom who feels like a hot mess and a mom who appears to have it all together as an Instagram influencer with the perfect marriage, the home-cooked meals, and the gorgeous wardrobe. But what lurks beneath the surface may not match that shiny filter…
Although this book was published in January, it feels even more relevant to our times today for women and mothers who are absolutely exhausted. But as this book reveals, our exhaustion is not our fault alone—because what if we realized that the very world we live and work and play in—from the roads we drive on to the buildings we inhabit—was designed without a single woman’s need in mind? This book will open your eyes to a reality you didn’t even know existed.
10. The End of Her
If you like a little suspense, mystery, and murder with your summer reading, this book has got you covered. Imagine you’re a perfectly content suburban stay-at-home mom in the throes of dealing two colicky twins when your husband is suddenly accused of murder. As a mom of a baby who had colic, I honestly can’t say which is worse, but I’m definitely going to keep reading to find out.