Check out these summer must-reads by contemporary authors

There is nothing better than a summer read. Whether you’re on your couch, in a hammock, or kicking sand on the beach – a good story is the best company. This list of seven books by various contemporary authors will keep your pages turning all season long.  

The Stationery Shop, fiction by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery Shop takes the reader slowly through love and the exploration of what love truly means. We begin to follow the book’s heroine, Roya, as she navigates 1950s Persia during its historic political unrest with her journey ending in the contemporary United States. Roya’s story circulates around star-crossed lovers, deep romance, classism, and identity as both a woman in Iran and an Iranian woman living in the United States. Marjan Kamali easily transports the reader into the settings, both geographical and cultural, and makes the story come fully alive in a way that pulls at all of your heart strings. The rich descriptions of Persian food and cooking alone are enough of a reason to pick up this vividly beautiful novel.

Mother for Dinner, fiction by Shalom Auslander

This debut novel by novel by Shalom Auslander, previous writer for The New York Times and The New Yorker, takes the reader through a shocking, hilarious, and mildly horrifying journey. Protagonist, Seventh Seltzer, is a loving father and husband with a high-profile publishing career. What makes Seventh unique? He’s part of a Cannibal American family, a past he’s run from for his whole adult life. Now, as Seventh’s estranged mother is about to pass away, she calls him and his 12 other siblings and makes the request he’s feared for years…”eat me.” Auslander’s outrageous novel takes a satiric jab at The American Dream and of how we perceive our identities in relation to culture and family history. Mother for Dinner will have you laughing out loud between gawks at this book full of dark humor.

Educated, Memoir by Tara Westover

In Tara Westover’s debut memoir, we follow her upbringing in the Mormon faith, and her exploration outside of her Mormon community. Westover recounts her memories of what it was like to grow up with no formal education, a system of specific beliefs, and her familial and cultural hardships as she started college at age 17. Westover paints a picture for the reader of how education broadened her world and her deeper understanding of it. We watch as she navigates her new surroundings and social norms while trying to balance maintain her familial roots. This novel begs the question of what we owe to our families, society, and whether that dedication to our families is at the expense of honoring our own growth, development and desires. A deeply emotional story on loyalty, self-value, education and manipulation. Westover’s memoir is both an important and fascinating read.

Broken Harbor, fiction by Tana French

In this crime novel, Tana French takes the over-played “who-done-it” approach to murder mystery and turns it on its head. After a family of four is found gruesomely murdered in their secluded home, Detective Kennedy takes the case with his rookie partner to solve not only who killed the family, but why and how. The oddities of this case continue to unfold in strange and seemingly unexplainable ways, making the investigation as a whole perhaps more interesting than the suspect itself. Diving deeply into themes of familial trauma and mental health, French follows the twisted past of Detective Kennedy and his unlikely ties to this unusual case. Guaranteed to draw you in as a new question arises with every turning page; French’s novel is sure to keep you up reading late at night.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Fiction by V.E. Schwab

V.E Schwab’s newest novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue takes the reader through an enchanting story of time, wit, and the importance of human connection. Addie, born in a small French village in the 1700s, rejects her conventional expectations as a lady during that era. In an attempt to break free of her arranged marriage and to experience more of the world around her, Addie makes a most desperate deal with the God of darkness and is granted the “gift” of complete freedom by selling her soul. Addie can now live forever and go wherever she would like, but no one remembers her when she exits a room. She is cursed with living a powerful life of unlimited time but with deep loneliness, and the insatiable yearning for not only experiencing the world but being able to leave a mark on it. Schwab’s immaculate language choices and the romantic tales of France and the US through the ages will sweep you away into this delicate and meaningful story.

Anxious People, Fiction by Fredrick Backman

The New York Times Best Selling Author, Fredrick Backman gives us another heart-warming and bitingly humorous tale in novel Anxious People. After being left by their spouse and becoming unemployed, a parent ironically decides to rob a bank in attempt to get their life back-on-track and provide for their children. This robbery gone awry results in an accidental hostage situation inside an apartment rental’s open house. Backman takes on the heavy subjects of depression, anxiety and loss and impressively keeps the tone light-hearted and chalked with sarcasm. The novel centers around a diverse group of hostages, a parent-turned-robber-turned hostage-taker, and a father and son police duo. Unlikely friends are made, surprising feelings arise, and unattended emotional are dealt with amongst the quirky characters of this book. Fun to read, impactful to take-in, Backman’s Anxious People is a novel for every reader.

The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays by Casey Wilson

This brilliant collection of personal essays hit the shelves and became and instant New York Times best seller. The Wreckage of My Presence is filled with insightful, raw, and laugh-out-loud tales of actress and comedian, Casey Wilson. With sprinklings of childhood stories, Wilson primarily focuses on her adult life – giving the reader many snap shots of her life as she’s dealt with the death of her mother, and becoming a mother herself. Wilson gives us a humorous dive into her personal experiences, exploiting everything from female friendship, family, grief and identity. The openness of her story-telling shows that Wilson is not afraid to share, leaving no topic off limits. Her perspective on things like “low-brow pop culture” and “cool girls” will leave the reader feeling like they’ve just spent the afternoon chatting with a friend. A dazzling portrayal of life and a must read for the summer.

 

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