Spending your summer sexy, free, and single? I've got 15 books you should read if you're single this summer, because your unattached days are the perfect time to work on improving and entertaining yourself.
If you're single this summer, let me be the first to congratulate you. As a singleton, you have the opportunity to do whatever you want this summer, without taking anyone else into account. Want to take off backpacking across Europe for two weeks, all by yourself? You can do it!
Of course, maybe you're not that enthused about being single right now. Although I do think that you should celebrate your singlehood as an exciting, new stage of your life — particularly if you've recently come off of a long-term relationship — I understand if this isn't where you wanted, or expected, to be today.
Whether you're feeling a little bit down in the dumps about being single this year, or you couldn't be happier, don't worry. Your feelings are 100 percent valid, and you should give yourself permission to experience them, question them, and accept them.
The 15 books on the list below come from both the fiction and nonfiction sides of the bookstore. Here, you'll find memoir and biography, a little bit of self-help, and works of speculative, historical, and literary fiction starring single women:
'Mirror, Shoulder, Signal' by Dorthe Nors
Shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, Dorthe Nors' Mirror, Shoulder, Signal centers on Sonja, a single woman in her 40s who finds herself drawn back to Jutland after spending years living in busy Copenhagen.
'The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters' by Priya Parker
Even if you aren't seeing a romantic partner on the regular, you should renew your efforts to gather with friends and loved ones this summer. Priya Parker's book examines what makes parties and other social events meaningful and memorable, and it's a must-read if you plan to play host in the near future.
'Still Lives' by Maria Hummel
After a hypeworthy feminist artist disappears from the L.A. art scene on the eve of her exhibition opening at the Rocque Museum, the museum's in-house writer finds herself at the center of the investigation. After all, the prime suspect is her ex-boyfriend, and the missing artist is the woman he left her for.
'When Katie Met Cassidy' by Camille Perri
Some single folks enjoy reading romance novels, and some don't. If you're part of the former category, check out Camille Perri's When Katie Met Cassidy, which alternates between narrations from the two title characters, who meet in the boardroom of a New York City capital firm.
'White Chrysanthemum' by Mary Lynn Bracht
Beginning on Korea's Jeju Island in 1943, White Chrysanthemum centers on Hana, who works as a haenyeo — a female sea-diver — until the day she saves her younger sister, Emi, from being kidnapped by the Japanese. Hana is shipped off to Machuria in her sister's stead, where she becomes one of thousands of "comfort women": sex slaves for Japanese military men. Nearly 70 years later, Emi still works as a haenyeo, but she lives every day with strong feelings of guilt for her sister's disappearance.
'The House of Impossible Beauties' by Joseph Cassara
In 1980s Harlem, Angel and Hector found the House of Xtravaganza, an all-Latinx spot in the drag ball scene. When Hector later dies of AIDS-related illness, Angel is left alone to tend to the House of Xtravaganza, where she takes in a trio of newcomers: Venus, a trans girl; Juanito, a fashion designer; and Daniel, a butch queen.
'The Pisces' by Melissa Broder
In The Pisces, So Sad Today author Melissa Broder turns her attention to Lucy, an A.B.D. scholar who finds herself adrift in the wake of her recent breakup. Searching for meaning and connection, Lucy finds it when she spots a merman named Theo on Venice Beach one night.
'Heart Berries' by Terese Marie Mailhot
In this debut memoir, Terese Marie Mailhot discusses her childhood on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in B.C., her life as a teenage wife and mother, and her adult experiences with bipolar disorder.
'Provenance' by Ann Leckie
Desperate to impress her powerful mother and one-up her brother, Ingray sinks all of her money into a plan to break an infamous antique thief out of prison. But the situation spirals out of Ingray's control when her rescuee is framed for the murder of a diplomat from a neighboring planet.
'Stray City' by Chelsea Johnson
Midwestern by birth, Andrea Morales is loving life out of the closet in Portland's lesbian scene. After a post-breakup one-night-stand leaves her pregnant with a baby she wants to keep, Andrea must navigate queer motherhood in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
'Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power' by Claudia Renton
Immortalized in John Singer Sargent's 1899 painting "The Wyndham Sisters: Lady Elcho, Mrs. Adeane, and Mrs. Tennant," Mary, Madeline, and Pamela take center stage in Claudia Renton's new biography, Those Wild Wyndhams, which covers in glorious detail the fabulous — and, at times, scandalous — lives of these three women.
'Freshwater' by Akwaeke Emezi
As a child growing up in Nigeria, Ada was always different, with emotions she didn't seem able to control. After she moves to the U.S. for college, Ada's alters take control of her body and her life.
'Asking for a Friend: Three Centuries of Advice on Life, Love, Money & Other Burning Questions from a Nation Obsessed' by Jessica Weisberg
Spanning advice from Poor Richard's Almanack to Miss Manners, Asking for a Friend will help you find answers and feel less alone on the days when you're in need of a non-judgmental confidante.
'Dread Nation' by Justina Ireland
In this speculative fiction novel, the dead rise from the fields at Gettysburg, ending the Civil War and creating a new world in which Native American and black children must become soldiers in the war against the zombie hordes. Trained in Baltimore as a bodyguard for the elite, Jane is ready to return home to Kentucky, but the disappearance of some families in the county calls her into action.
'Convenience Store Woman' by Sayaka Murata
Keiko thrives in stable, predictable situations, so keeping the same job at a local convenience store for the last 18 years has been perfectly normal for her. But when her parents begin to worry that she's stagnating, the 36-year-old does something radical by entering into a sham marriage with a disillusioned, new co-worker.