This summer is going to be a bit different than those in the past. We’ve been dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for several months now. Many of us are still working from home, changing our vacations to staycations, and doing our best to plan our lives around this new normal. People have found various ways of coping with the stay-at-home boredom. If you’ve already done your DIY haircut and binged every episode of your favorite show three times, you may be running out of ideas.
Well, instead of zoning out in front of the television, try checking out in a different way. If you have a stack of books sitting on your shelves collecting dust, pick one up and start reading. Reading is a fantastic way to exercise your mind and explore topics and entire universes without ever having to leave your couch.
Are you not sure what to read? Are you the type of person that can’t step into a book store without coming out with at least one new book? Maybe the fast pace of adulthood and responsibility has left you unable to read for leisure since you picked up your first Goosebumps book in 4th grade? No matter which category you happen to fall into, you have an opportunity now to change that.
I’ve compiled a list of books below that I think could satisfy the itch for just about every type of reader.
Books to Satisfy Your Inner Conspiracy Theorist
The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz
Many of you may be familiar with this author, and this book in particular. The Eyes of Darkness was originally published in 1981. Koontz is famous for his thrillers, but this one has garnered a lot of extra attention in recent months due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The internet went wild for a while, citing a page from this book as proof that Koontz somehow predicted the real-world virus in his fictional thriller. Of course, that is not the case, but regardless, this edge-of-your-seat thriller won’t have any problems keeping your attention.
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
I’ll admit I’m a bit biased with this one. I was a huge fan of The Secret Life of Bees, so when this book hit the shelves, I had to get it. Much to my delight, the author did not disappoint, and this book has made it to the top of my favorites list this summer. The Book of Longings follows Ana, an outspoken young woman from a wealthy family who ends up marrying Jesus. Yes. That Jesus. The book delves into the trials and tribulations of their life together, and has plenty of twists and turns along the way. It’s a well-researched and beautifully written piece of historical fiction that you’ll be thinking about days after you finish reading it.
Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink
This book was actually recommended to me by a friend. It follows Keisha, who is dealing with the disappearance and presumed death of her wife, Alice. Just when she starts to move on, she realizes that Alice isn’t dead, and sets out on a quest for answers that puts her in the middle of something she never could have imagined. Alice Isn’t Dead is a heart-pounding read packed with intrigue, conspiracy, and of course, love.
Binge-worthy Books with Binge-Worthy Series Adaptations
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Recently adapted into a mini-series for streaming giant Hulu, Little Fires Everywhere is actually based on a book of the same name by author Celeste Ng. I am generally of the opinion that the book is always better than the screen adaptation, and while the all-star cast of Hulu’s adaptation did an amazing job bringing these characters to life, the writers of the show made some major changes that don’t appear in Ng’s novel.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
This is another book that was picked up by Hulu and recently released in series form. I received a copy of Normal People from the Book of the Month subscription box (the same way I got my hands on a few of my favorite titles, actually!) and was not disappointed. Even more fantastic, Hulu did an amazing job of adapting this for the screen without deviating too far from Rooney’s book. There are some changes, and a few noteworthy characters whose roles are quite a bit different from book to television, but overall, the show is a wonderful companion to the book, and both will leave you in your feels long after they are finished.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Fans of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett waited years for an adaptation of Good Omens. The book follows the angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley, who have been working since the dawn of time to balance the scales between heaven and hell. When Crowley is tasked with delivering the antichrist, he and Aziraphale, who have both grown comfortable and fond of Earth, decide that they must do what they can to thwart the impending apocalypse. This book has a wonderful and hilarious cast of characters you won’t soon forget. The screen adaptation was brought to us by Amazon Video, and because Neil Gaiman did the adaptation, you won’t find yourself grumbling too much. There are some small changes in the screen adaptation, but nothing that will make you want to throw anything at your television.
Spellbinding and Out-of-this-World Reads
Goldilocks by Laura Lam
This is probably the newest release on this list. It just came out in May, and it is truly an out-of-this-world wild ride that does not disappoint. Five women embark on a journey to save themselves from oppression on Earth and ensure the survival of the human race. They take a ship and head for the Goldilocks Zone, but of course, the trip doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.
Soundless by Richelle Mead
Richelle Mead is likely a name that fantasy lovers will recognize, but Soundless is a departure from Mead’s other work that stands on its own with strong characters and rich storytelling. The protagonist Fei lives in a mountain village where there is no sound. Her people are dependent upon supplies from a mysterious nearby kingdom. Villagers begin to lose their sight and supplies begin to dwindle, and it’s clear something is wrong. When Fei wakes to a strange noise, she realizes that she has the power to do something for her people. Her journey to the truth leads to mystery, danger, and unexpected romance.
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
I’ll admit the cover alone drew me to pick this book up. The book follows Ivy, who leads a fairly normal life in comparison to her twin sister, who teaches Theoretical Magic at the Osthorne Academy of Young Mages. A murder at the academy pulls detective Ivy into a world she left behind. Rich with magic and mystery, Magic for Liars was an intriguing read that I could not put down.
Perfect Books for the Amateur Sleuth
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
Slyvie travels across the ocean to the Netherlands to visit her dying grandmother and vanishes. Her younger sister Amy sets out to find out what happened to her, and untangles a web of family secrets. This beautifully written book highlights the struggles of an immigrant family, the search for identity, the importance of family ties, and the weight of dark family secrets.
People Like Us by Dana Mele
I’ll admit – reviewers everywhere have compared this book to Pretty Little Liars, so I was equal parts nervous and excited to pick it up. Main character Kay finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery. The dead girl has left her some clues to follow, and Kay takes up the task of trying to find the murderer herself. Unfortunately, her hunt for the truth leads to some new enemies and a host of new problems she never would have expected. This is a read full of twists and turns that will lead you somewhere you never expected. You won’t be able to put it down.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The SilentPatient is yet another gem I received from my Book of the Month subscription. I absolutely adore a well-done thriller, and this one did not disappoint. Alicia has a seemingly perfectly life until one day when she shoots her husband in the face. Afterward, she goes silent. Her case garners the attention of the media and of her psychotherapist, Dr. Theo Faber, who is obsessed with finding out why Alicia did what she did. This is a read with some twists and turns that really delve into the dark side. The suspense will keep you reading all day long.
Books for Readers Who Love to Fall in Love
The Kiss Quotent series by Helen Hoang
The main character in this novel has Asperger’s, so this was a must-read for me. The Kiss Quotent is the first book in the series, which includes two novels thus far (both of which feature main characters tackling life on the spectrum and unraveling their misconceptions about romance) with a third slated to come out in August of next year that features a main character suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Hoang does a beautiful job of not only bringing these characters to life on the page, but also of painting a heart-warming, funny, down-to-earth picture of dealing with romance as an atypical adult.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
This is a wonderful story of companionship and love between unlikely teens from opposite ends of the social pool. A cruel game at their high school intertwines the lives of Libby and Jack, who find themselves undergoing counseling and doing community service together. As they spend more time together, their bond begins to grow. This book highlights how truly beautiful it can be when someone loves you as you are.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
This book is one of the best romantic comedies I’ve read in a while. Olive and Ethan end up on a honeymoon vacation in place of their siblings. They hate each other (of course) and hi-jinks ensue. The author plays with a lot of classic tropes in this hate-to-love tale that sets the perfect stage for this unforgettable summer romance.