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What’s Hot, Hot, Hot in books this Summer

Heat slowing you down this month?  Then, roll with it, after all slowing down is what summer is for anyway!

Want another reason to enjoy slowing down?  Digging into a good book!  Whether you like them creepy, lusty, funny or just full of plain truths, diving into that pile of books you promised yourself to read during quarantine is far better than pounding out another Zoom workout in this hottest of summers.

Books are the plane and the train and the road. They are the destination and the hourney. They are the home.” — Anna Quindlen, author

A second reason for attacking that reading pile is to celebrate National Book Lovers Day which was this month on August 9th.  This unofficial holiday isn’t going to be recognized by Hallmark any time soon but it is observed around the world simply to encourage everyone to read.  There are no real rules except reading on your phone doesn’t count, people are advised to put away their phones and tech distractions (take that, social media!) and pick up a book with real pages.

Of course, you can pull anything off the shelf but if you need some enticement check out this sizzling list of popular books for whiling away a hot summer’s day or night….

The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe

If you’ve fallen in love with Moe’s podcast you will find his book just as inspirational.  Written with humor and insight, The Hilarious World of Depression speaks to all those who suffer or seek to understand someone suffering from depression.  Part memoir and part investigation, Moe’s brings to light the lack of understanding, work-life challenges, self-medication, effects on loved-ones and the tragic outcome of suicide all with a brilliant gentleness and the ability to see the humor through the haze.

Intimations, Six Essays by Zadie Smith

An intimate and tender look at the Coronavirus pandemic in six personal essays.  The essays are Smith’s attempt to communicate her thoughts and feelings that floated to the top of the Covid-19 quagmire while experiencing lockdown.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

A Muslim girl from the slums and an opportunistic gym teacher find their fates intertwine with each other’s rise and fall from a simple yet careless comment on Facebook.  Riveting from the outset, “A Burning” feels like an epic with complex themes of a thriller on class and fate but skillfully compressed to be read in one sitting. 

Self Care by Leigh Stein

A satirical look at the wellness industry born from the #selfcare movement, “Self Care” takes a deep dive and exposes the world without the lens of social media.

Branwell: A Novel of the Brontë Brother by Douglas A. Martin

As the only son in the Bronte family, Branwell is expected to make the family fortune but instead finds death at the age of 31 from alcohol and opium abuse.  A historical novel that paints a tragic picture of the only brother to his three sisters, Emily, Charlotte and Anne, as he sinks under the weight of family expectations and his sisters’ rise to greatness.

Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession, edited by Sarah Weinman

Written during a time where an appetite for true crime stories has grown with the likes of popular podcasts such as My Favorite Murder and In the Dark Sarah Weinman weaves together a 400 page book with 13 thrilling crime stories while reflecting on the elements that make them so irresistible.

Look Big by Rachel Levin

If you have ever wondered what the rules are for a faceoff with a moose or how to handle the spray from a smug skunk, “Look Big” is the field guide for you!  Full of humor and illustrations, this book also includes expert tips, animal facts and true tales making it a must-have guide for outdoor, urban and suburban encounters. 

Afterland by Lauren Beukes

A feminine and high stakes thriller merges sci-fi and noir to create this novel about a fictitious pandemic known as The Manfall.  With most of the men dead within three years we find that a world run by women may not be a better place after all.

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

Racial identity is the theme of this novel about twin black sisters whose skin is so light that they can pass for white.  One sister pursues a black identity while the other secretly passes off as white with even her husband believing her claim.  Separated by many miles and just as many lies the sister’s fates are intertwined with future generations feeling the reverberations.

Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic, edited by Alice Quinn

Poets respond to the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus in an eloquent collection of poems assembled by the New Yorker poetry editor, Alice Quinn.  The poems explore illness and separation, the bravery of medical workers and the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the inequities in our society.  Emblematic of the current times, the poems help us to reach to the depths of our own emotions with wisdom, humor, and resilience.

What books are you reading this summer?  With some many books to choose from don’t let the sun set on this summer without cracking the cover of a good one!  See you in the next blog!

Deb Fries is a freelance writer and designer, she has worked with Julianna Rae in Graphics and Customer service and now writes for the blog while wearing her favorite pair of tap pants, the Moonlight Serenade in Lotus.