Happy summer and so happy to give you another summer reading guide for 2022! If you know me, you know I find so much joy in reading and find incredible joy in sharing my recent reads with others. Have you found any books from my past posts or recommendations? If not, hopefully this time around you’ll find at least one book to enhance your reading life! Here are 10 books that I’ve read recently that I think will be great for summers on the beach, in the mountains, on your couch during a summer storm, on a rocking chair on your porch, or inside your earbuds on a morning walk or up late under your covers. Here is the summer 2022 reading guide!
When thinking about the summer 2022 reading guide, I KNEW I had to include this book. It is one of my favorites I’ve read so far. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This book is set in the 1950s and follows Elizabeth Zott, a chemist. Elizabeth, being a woman in a male dominated field, experiences a lot of sexism and discrimination. I absolutely loved the writing, the characters, and teared up multiple times at the beauty of the relationships. The fierce tenacity of the lead definitely makes her even more lovable and one to root for!
Though the discrimination she faced infuriated me at times, the writing was so great and the voice and humor used was so brilliant that it didn’t leave me as the reader in anger for long.
If you are a woman who has ever felt less than, looked down upon, belittled or reduced to your gender, this book is for you! It will renew your spirit. As Elizabeth’s strength grows, so will yours! Zott is hilarious, tenacious, fierce and unrelenting in her pursuit for justice and what she believes in! I highly recommend this!
*Trigger warning for sexual assault and rape. This book does not shy away from very real things that women experience. Please be aware going in. I am a sensitive reader and I will say that these parts left me disturbed but I was able to move on from them quickly.
The Guncle centers around Patrick, or GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick), as his niece and nephew affectionately call him. Maise and Grant love spending time with him at his home in Palm Springs and when tragedy strikes their family, GUP, Maise and Grant, are forced to move in together in Patrick’s desert home. Patrick himself is in the midst of dealing with the loss of his career and navigating what his life should look like now.
The novel is a really sweet portrayal of a family coming together in difficult times and the bonds they create. The story follows Patrick, as he is forced to take responsibility for these kids and his life. It details all the growth he develops over that time. While this novel is funny and sweet, it is also heart warming and tear jerker. It also takes you to the desert and heat of Palm Springs which was a nice little “destination” to go to in a book.
Deacon King Kong is about an old church deacon named Sportcoat. He lives in a housing project 1969 in Brooklyn, NY. The story starts with him pulling a .38 from his pocket, in front of lots of people in a courtyard, where he shoots the project’s young drug dealer. It brings to life the vivid and diverse community. The plot weaves between the people who witnessed the shooting, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to the investigation, the deacon himself, and the Italian mobsters. The lives of all of these groups of people are intertwined in unexpected ways.
This book has such humor and heart. It was a pleasure to read and discuss with my book club. This was the first book I’ve read by James McBride and I was pleasantly surprised by his lyrical and almost Jazz-like writing. To me, this novel tells a beautiful story of community and what it looks like when we look out for one another.
Have you ever craved a summer at an adventurous Catskills resort a la Dirty Dancing? What about immersing yourself into the world of Marvelous Mrs Maisel? If so, the Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is for you! This was a fun, light, summer read!
This novel follows two families, the Goldmans and the Weingolds. They are both part owners of the Golden Hotel, a resort that was once apart of the great Catskills vacation scene! One of the owners has recently passed away. This calls for both families to come together at the Golden Hotel to decide what’s next for the resort. The facilities and staff are not what they used to be and the families must decide if they want to revamp the Golden into what it was in its hey-day, or say goodbye to the hotel where each member has so many memories.
As the families come together, secrets come out, relationships form and some end. It’s full of fun drama and intrigue and a perfect summer location!
This graphic novel, as well as the previous novel, were both recommendations for “summer books” from the podcast, What Should I Read Next. I’ve never read a graphic novel before but This One Summer was the perfect place to start!
Every summer, Rose and her family go on a getaway to Awago Beach. This summer is different because her mom and dad won’t stop fighting. Rose, and her friend Windy, distract themselves by exploring the beach but are confronted with new drama. One of the local teens is caught up in something that they don’t quite understand. The events of the summer cause both teens to grow and slowly let go of a bit of innocence.
This is definitely a young adult graphic novel, but i found it beautiful and compelling how the teens grappled with the changes in their lives. The illustrations are beautiful and poetic. The illustrations tell the story just as much as the words, and they transport you to the story’s setting. This story brought me back to that awkward and magical time of teenage years. It made me remember what it felt like to slowly let go of innocence; the desires to dip into adulthood but the fear of what might be there waiting for you on the other side. This was beautiful and poetic. It is a hopeful and quick summer read!
Evvie Drake Starts Over is another one of my favorite reads of the year so far! I know I’m late to the game with this one, but I’m so glad I finally picked it up!
This story follows Evvie Drake, a recent widow. Her doctor husband died one year ago. Since then, she has shut herself in her home, seeking to avoid the prying stares and eyes of her community. The only person she sees is her best friend, Andy, for their weekly breakfast. Andy suggests that Evvie, who is still living in a big house, rent out her guest quarters. Andy connects Evvie with his old friend, Dean.
Dean is a former major league baseball pitcher who has experienced a phenomenon calling “the yips.” He is trying to move on from the career that was once his life as well as the prying stares and questioning looks from his former fans.
Dean moves into Evvie’s place and they soon become friends. Their friendship allows each person to knock down walls and heal in the midst of respective life changes. Of course, more than friendship might occur, too.
This book was super sweet. While it did have romance in the plot, the entire story wasn’t revolved around it. The setting takes place in Maine and it was a beautiful and refreshing place to “travel” as a summer read. I highly recommend if you’re looking for a light, heartwarming read with some romance! Her newest book just came out in June and I picked it up the other week – excited to read that, too!
Now, I wouldn’t call this next read “light,” but it is one of the most important books I’ve read in the recent past. If you’re looking for a book to aid in your education on racial justice, this is the perfect one to pick up this summer!
Clint Smith, in How the Word is Passed, gives a history of slavery across America. He leads the reader on a tour of monuments and landmarks that aid in telling the story of slavery’s past. These stories tie together to give a poignant description of how that past informs our present. He goes from Monticello, to the Whitney Plantation, to Angola prison and even visits a sons of confederacy gathering.
This book is beautifully reflective and lyrically written. I loved it on audio and learned so much from it. It really shows the horrific, but necessary to understand, history of slavery in this country and the role that history plays today. Please read!
Molly Gray is the maid, and she’s not like everyone else. She lacks social skills and has a hard time understanding the intentions of those she interacts with. She is also impeccably clean and skilled at her job as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel.
Molly’s life is turned upside down when one the guests at this hotel is found dead in his bed. This guest happens to be one of the hotel’s most wealthy patrons and the husband of one of Molly’s few friends. Molly’s demeanor makes her a prime suspect by the police. Plus the fact that she was the one who found him dead.
Molly is quickly caught in a web of deception and forced to figure out who she can trust. The Maid is a story of family and friendship and found community. The character of Molly is written with such heart and humor and it makes the reader truly root for her! This is a Clue-like mystery and wasn’t too dark or graphic. It was a quick summer read and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a cozy summer mystery.
Yes, it’s THAT Taylor Jenkins Reid. After reading TJR’s most recent three novels, I’ve decided to go back into her backlist titles before her new book comes out this August. The one I picked up this year was One True Loves.
This story follows Emma and her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves away from the town where they grew up in Massachusetts. They travel the world together and take every opportunity to live life to the fullest. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse decides to take on a job which requires him to take a helicopter over the Pacific ocean. Unfortunately, he is never seen or heard from again.
After this devastation, Emma returns to live with her parents. The return immerses her back into her old life that she was once so eager to run away from. This includes running into her old friend, Sam, and a romance blossoms from there. The two old friends fall in love, but on the precipice of their wedding Emma discovers the unimaginable: Jesse is alive.
The plot of this book was SO intriguing to me! You could tell this one one of Reid’s earlier novels but her fast and zippy writing style is just the same. The author asks the reader to question what they would do in this situation. It was definitely a fun ride!
You’re gonna want to buckle your seat belt for this one! The Cherry Robbers is definitely going in my top books of the year and was a huge surprise. I think I found out about this book through my favorite book podcast (linked above), but I really didn’t know much about it going into it. When it became available on my library holds list, I rushed to read it because lots of people had it on hold, too. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
This book has been compared to Mexican Gothic, and I can definitely see the comparison. I would describe it as a feminist gothic novel. It tells the story of the Chapel sisters, all six of them, their haunted mother and the lavish, Victorian house they’re all stuck in. The sisters grow up with only themselves as company as their mother is distant and believes the house is haunted, and their father is a workaholic.
This story is set in the 1950s where, for many women, the hope of leaving their family or town means marriage. Unfortunately for the Chapel sisters, they soon realize that, for them, marriage means death. When the oldest sister marries her groom, tragedy strikes, and the others follow soon after. I don’t want to give away too much as I found it really fun to go into this blind. I will say that this novel was incredibly riveting and compelling and I didn’t want to put it down! Trigger warning that it can get graphic. I am a sensitive reader and didn’t find it too disturbing, but go into it with that understanding. You’re going to want to talk about it when you’re done!!
That’s all! Those are the 10 books I think you should read this summer! If you read all the way through this summer 2022 reading guide, you’re in for a treat! I’m giving away one of these books to one person! Comment on this blog post, the instagram post I shared, OR the facebook post I shared with the book you’d like to win and your favorite local indie bookstore! I’ll choose one person to send a book to benefiting the local indie bookstore of your choice!
Happy summer reading!