I've been an avid reader since childhood and always have a stack of books, waiting to be devoured, on my bedside table. I know, I know! Who still buys actual books nowadays? Well, I do. I'm quite old school when it comes to books and reading, and prefer to have the actual book in my hands so I'm able to feel (and smell) its pages. When I finish it, I like to give it to a friend or family member whom I know will enjoy it, too.
I especially find myself flying through books this time of the year; I guess it's because I'm more likely to stay indoors during Taiwan's humid and hot summer months, in my air conditioned oasis. We also tend to travel quite a bit during the summer, so finishing a couple of books during airport transfers and flights happens easily. And what's more relaxing than losing yourself in a book next to the pool or at the beach?
This year, I already have a few books lined up that I'm just itching to read. I get most of my reading list inspiration from friends' recommendations, checking out the New York Times Bestseller lists, and by browsing my favorite online bookstore, Bookdepository.com (they have free international shipping and their variety and prices are hard to beat!).
This time of the year, I just want to relax and get lost in a good thriller or a soppy love story, so an easy, light beach read is what I usually lean towards for the summer months. It wasn't easy, but I've narrowed it down to the 10 books I think would be perfect to read this summer.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
"Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than... fine?"
I'm really looking forward to start this one, and now that I know Reese Witherspoon is producing the film (which is still in development) I'm even more eager to read it before the film's release. I don't know about you, but I love reading the book before the movie comes out, just so that I can I can be one of those snooty the-book-is-SO-much-better-than-the-film people. Just kidding. I enjoy comparing and seeing the images I had in my head on screen.
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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
"Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.
But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs."
This book has been popular again for the past year, following the success of the TV series. I actually just finished reading it, and am currently watching the show. I highly recommend both! It blows my mind that Margaret Atwood wrote this back in 1985, as it's kind of creepy (and sad) just how relevant some of the themes are now in 2018.
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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
"Perfect families, perfect houses, perfect lives. Three mothers, Jane, Madeline and Celeste appear to have it all . . . but do they? They are about to find out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control. Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She's got her little boy in tow - plus a secret she's been carrying for five years.
On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline - a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one - and Celeste, the kind beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing - while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps.
But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies. It was always going to end in tears, but how did it end in murder?"
Another book that was turned into a TV series, and I've heard a lot of people sing its praises. I thought I'd read the book before delving into the show. I'm a big fan of Liane Moriarty and recently read The Husband's Secret (which is also in development to be made into a movie.)
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Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
"Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.
Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy."
After the film's many Academy Award nods, I just had to put this one on my reading list for the summer.
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When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
"Welcome to Greenwich, Connecticut, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito's and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor. Let's be clear: Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. After leaving Miranda Priestly, she's been working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily's lost a few clients. She's hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.
When Karolina Hartwell, a gorgeous former supermodel, is arrested for a DUI, her fall from grace is merciless. Her senator-husband leaves her, her Beltway friends disappear, and the tabloids pounce. In Karolina, Emily finds her comeback opportunity. But she quickly learns Greenwich is a world apart and that this comeback needs a team approach. So it is that Emily, the scorned Karolina, and their mutual friend Miriam, a powerful attorney turned stay-at-home suburban mom, band together to not only navigate the social land mines of suburban Greenwich but win back the hearts of the American public.
Along the way, an indispensable ally emerges in one Miranda Priestly. With her signature wit, Lauren Weisberger offers an alluring look into a sexy, over-the-top world--and proves it's style and substance together that gets the job done."
I spotted this book at the airport the other day, and immediately thought that it looked like a good beach read. Lauren Weisberger brought us The Devil Wears Prada, so there's no doubt in my mind that this will also be a winner. This story also includes the character, Emily (portrayed by Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada), whom I adore. I'm sure it's going to be many people's pick for a light summertime read.
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The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
"Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group--a secretive extremist cult--founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe's Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he's tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves.
When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act."
I'm not gonna lie, I just read the words "cult" and "North Korea" and I was sold. I've always been fascinated by North Korea, and I never say no to a story about a cult, so the ingredients for the perfect novel is already there. I have a feeling this is going to be a page turner!
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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
"It's been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna's lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?"
A friend recommended this book to me, knowing that I love myself a good thriller. It definitely gives me The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl vibes.
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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
"When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country's most eligible bachelor.
On Nick's arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers."
Am I the only person on the planet who hasn't read this!? The movie will be released this summer, so I thought I'd read the book first. It definitely sounds like a hilarious story, so I'm looking forward to it.
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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
"Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn't just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend.
It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?"
I've been spotting this book everywhere online, and it seems to be on every "Books to Read this Summer" list. It definitely sounds like my cup of tea.
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Tangerine by Christine Mangan
"The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends - once inseparable roommates - haven't spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice - she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice's husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind."
When I read that this story plays out in Morocco, I immediately added it to my reading list, as I'll be traveling there this summer. Definitely reading this one on the plane ride over!
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We would love to know what's on your reading list this summer!
If you have any other recommendations, please share it with us in the comments.
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