We may not be filling our beach bags with books this year, however, as we continue to hunker down at home we still need a good book to provide a therapeutic escape. Here we round-up the best summer reads, including modern love stories and inspiring self-help manuals…
This collection of essays about modern life from journalist and The High Low podcast presenter Pandora Skyes is one of the most hotly-anticipated summer releases. The essays explore a range of thought-provoking topics from the explosion of wellness to the rise of cancel culture. Dolly Alderton approves, so it’s going straight into our Amazon cart when it comes out in July.
Normal People is causing quite the stir at the moment because a sublime BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s second novel has just hit our screens. The book is a coming-of-age novel about two Irish teenagers and the complications they encounter as their intense love story unfolds. It’s a truly absorbing read that fizzes with millennial relevance.
Fans of Sally Rooney will also enjoy this debut novel by emerging author Naoise Dolan. Exciting Times follows Ava, a 22-year-old TEFL teacher living in Hong Kong, as she navigates a love triangle with banker Julian and the effervescent Edith. Expect plenty of deadpan humour and socio-political undercurrents.
Natalie Glaze, founder of The Book Swap Club, recommends:
Where the Crawdads Sing is one of those books you pick up and fall in love with. The style of writing is wonderfully descriptive, almost poetic, which means you completely immerse yourself in the narrative. The book focuses on the story of a reclusive young girl named Kya and deals with themes of love, family, abandonment and adulthood. It’s simply beautiful.
This is a contemporary delightful book that follows 12 characters as they move through life and the world in different decades. Each character has a chapter focused on them, however, their stories beautifully overlap and interweave. The characters are complex and flawed and the themes run from unhappy marriages, race, relationships, power, family, politics, feminism and more. It’s complex, challenging and an absolute joy to read.
My Sister The Serial Killer is a darkly comic story based on the main character Korede and her younger sister, who has an unfortunate habit of killing men, with observations around family, loyalty, beauty and social media. Although an easy read in its style, it’s funny, satirical, clever and deliciously addictive.
Toni Jones, founder of the Shelf Help Club, recommends:
The third memoir from activist and thought leader Glennon Doyle is a punchy and inspiring reminder that it is not your job to make other people happy. And also that you shouldn’t believe everything you think. A deliciously written call-to-arms to ‘stop pleasing and start living’.
This beautiful book from Zen monk Haemin Sunim on how to be calm in a busy world is also the perfect manual for making the most of the enforced slowdown that is summer 2020. A gentle, non-preachy guide to mindfulness that offers wisdom on how to deal with everything from first love to life’s disappointments, little and large.
The Shelf Help featured book for May is all about training our brains for growth. Through a collection of inspiring case studies and exercises (and quite a lot of swearing) upbeat American life coach Marie shows us how to eliminate excuses and limiting beliefs before helping us define and then chase down some life-changing goals.
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