Looking for a fun and fast-paced book to get you through the dog days? I've got the 10 best summer reads for your book club to tackle this year, so you can keep members' spirits up while the heat beats down.
Look, I know Lin-Manuel Miranda read Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton on vacation, but that doesn't mean you should feel the need to grab an 800-page book to read this summer. (Unless it's Harry Potter.)
Travel and getaways cut into a lot of book nerds' reading time during the warmer months, but you can keep up your reading stamina by choosing "lighter" books. This is not to say that you should only read romance or happy-go-lucky novels during the summer, but that you shouldn't bog yourself down with something that's ultra-literary or requires intense concentration to follow.
The last thing you want is for your book club attendance to drop off right in the middle of the year. This might be your year to read Infinite Jest or War and Peace, but it's not everyone else's, believe me. Pick something that's fun and quick to read, and your fellow book club members will thank you.
Check out my selections for the best summer reads for your book club below, and let me know what you'll be reading this year by dropping a line on Twitter!
1. 'This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare' by Gabourey Sidibe
2. 'Before the Fall' by Noah Hawley
When a small plane crashes on its way from Martha's Vineyard to New York City, only two people emerge alive. Cash-strapped painter Scott Burroughs pulls four-year-old J.J. Bateman — the now-orphaned son of a conservative media mogul — to safety, but that kindness somehow makes him a prime suspect in the investigation of what caused the accident.
3. 'After the Bloom' by Leslie Shimotakahara
4. 'Fly Me' by Daniel Riley
In 1972, Vassar graduate Suzy throws caution to the wind and enlists as a flight attendant for Grand Pacific Airlines, just like her older sister. But when the devil-may-care attitude of Southern California draws Suzy into a drug-trafficking scheme, the young "stew" finds herself in over her head, and fast.
5. 'Into the Water' by Paula Hawkins
A river in Northern England claims the lives of more women than your average body of water, but after two seemingly unconnected bodies — those of a popular girl-next-door and a troubled single mom — wash ashore in quick succession, the sleepy town of Beckford tries to sort out the reasons why.
6. 'All Our Wrong Todays' by Elan Mastai
On a June day in 1965, Lionel Goettreider begins generating clean, renewable energy with his Goettreider Engine, and the world will never be the same. Literally, because a sad wannabe time traveler is about to mess everything up by going back in time to the day that everything went right.
7. 'Behind Her Eyes' by Sarah Pinborough
When she realizes that the man she kissed in a bar the night before is actually her new boss, Louise inserts herself into his marriage, becoming friends with both David and his wife Adele. There's something dark looming on the horizon for the couple, however, and no one can be sure just where the trouble begins — or how it will end.
8. 'Around the Way Girl' by Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson dishes on all the Hollywood gossip in her first memoir, Around the Way Girl. Inside, the star of Hidden Figures and Empire tells all about her Washington, D.C. childhood, raising her son as a single mother, and convincing Idris Elba to take a starring role opposite her in No Good Deed.
9. 'Lilac Girls' by Martha Hall Kelly
10. 'The Risen' by Ron Rash
In western North Carolina during the summer of 1969, two brothers fall in love with a carefree young visitor from Florida. The girl who calls herself Ligeia disappears after that short-lived affair, and Bill and Eugene go on with their lives and grow apart. But when a skeleton emerges decades later, the brothers crash into each other, and are forced to reconcile the ghosts of their respective pasts.