One guess where you'd like to be right now: relaxing poolside lounging on a comfortable chair in the warm sun with a good book? Reading is one of our favorite ways to unwind during the summer, or at least keep us company on ling trips. If your book list is looking a bit short we have your back! Chosen by ESA members and HQ staff alike, we have 14 recommendations that you can add right now.
Are you more of a book listener or would you like to be? ESA members can get two free books and a 30-day free trial of Audible, the audio book streaming service.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
– Trevor was born during apartheid to a black mother and a white father, thus “born a crime”. He talks about how that affected him living in South African and his struggles to fit in and be accepted. Plus he was a really bad kid and got himself into all sorts of trouble so he has some really great stories. Do you know his name but can’t place Trevor Noah? He is the guy who took over hosting The Daily Show.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng -
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You
, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family living in Shaker Heights, OH and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis -
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, swept up by the tides of the Great Migration, flees Georgia and heads north. Full of hope, she settles in Philadelphia to build a better life. Instead she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment, and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins are lost to an illness that a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children, whom she raises with grit, mettle, and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them to meet a world that will not be kind. Their lives, captured here in twelve luminous threads, tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage—and a nation's tumultuous journey.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
– A woman takes the same train every day and watches the same couple as she passes each day. One day she sees something she shouldn’t and gets way too involved in finding out what happened. You’ll want to know what happens too!
The Goldfinch by Laura Tartt
– A young boy survives an accident that kills his mother, and the book is about this life and how he deals with being abandoned while dealing with the guilt and anxiety of taking something the day his mother died.
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
– This book is nonfiction, but reads like fiction. Chapters switch between the building of the World’s Fair in Chicago in the early 1900s and the rise of HH Holms, a serial killer living in Chicago who built a hotel for people traveling into the city for the fair.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
- A tragic act of violence at the local high school disrupts a quiet town and witnesses have to decide if what they remember is accurate or if they are being pressured to speak by the adults in the community.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
– In this work of non-fiction, set during WWII, a former Olympic athlete’s plane went down over the Pacific Ocean, which he miraculously survives. He finds himself alone in a life raft in the middle of the ocean and must figure out how to get rescued.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
– The daughter of a man who owns a freak show museum in Cony Island, who herself has been turned into an attraction by her father, spies a young man one evening and becomes obsessed. Meanwhile the young man, a photographer, has become enthralled with figuring out the mystery of a missing girl after a sweatshop fire that he photographs.
Ready Player One by Ernest Kline –
Set in the future where virtual reality equipment is owned by everyone and life is lived almost entirely in the virtual world, this is the story of an orphaned boy living in a futuristic version of a trailer park called “The Stacks”. The boy finds himself in first place in a race to find a millionaire’s “Easter egg” in the virtual world which will earn him the millionaire’s entire fortune, but also control of the virtual world itself. Despite being set in the future this book is a love letter to the 1980’s, so if you’re feeling nostalgic this one is for you.
The Martian by Andy Weir –
This is the fictional story of Mark Watney, an astronaut abandoned on Mars after being mistakenly taken for dead by his crew during a dangerous sandstorm. Follow Mark as he struggles to survive on Mars and find a way to get back to Earth.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty –
Someone has died at the elementary school trivia night, which parent is responsible? While this book is certainly a murder mystery, it’s also a testament to the various struggles of modern mothers and women. You’ll feel as though you befriended each of the characters and that makes the surprising ending all the more exciting.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald –
They say that posting a Snapchat story so that one person will see it is the modern day equivalent to Gatsby throwing lavish parties hoping Daisy will walk in. Whether you agree or not (or don’t use Snapchat and don’t know that that means) this is a classic worth reading again and again. The story of Jay Gatsby and his quest to win the love of Daisy Buchanan is just as relevant today as it has ever been.
What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love by Carole Radziwill
– In her memoir Carole begins with loss and returns to loss. A small plane plunges into the ocean carrying John F. Kennedy Jr., Anthony’s cousin, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Carole’s closest friend. Three weeks later Anthony dies of cancer. With unflinching honesty and a journalist’s keen eye, Carole Radziwill explores the enduring ties of family, the complexities of marriage, the importance of friendship, and the challenges of self-invention.
Have you read something great lately? Tell us for a chance to have your recommendation featured!