While reading during the summer seems daunting for students, for adults it’s the perfect way to relax. Whether you’re at the beach or tanning by the pool, the perfect summer read should be enjoyable, easy to read, and a real page-turner.
My Summer Reading List
1.The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Summary: All her life, Ariel Levy was told that she was too fervent, too forceful, too much. As a young woman, she decided that becoming a writer would perfectly channel her strength and desire. She would be a professional explorer—“the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Levy moved to Manhattan to pursue her dream, and spent years of adventure, traveling all over the world writing stories about unconventional heroines, following their fearless examples in her own life.
But when she experiences unthinkable heartbreak, Levy is forced to surrender her illusion of control. In telling her story, Levy has captured a portrait of our time, of the shifting forces in American culture, of what has changed and what has remained. And of how to begin again.
2. Sex and Rage: A Novel by Eve Babitz
The popular rediscovery of Eve Babitz continues with this very special reissue of her novel, originally published in 1979, about a dreamy young girl moving between the planets of Los Angeles and New York City.
We first meet Jacaranda in Los Angeles. She’s a beach bum, a part-time painter of surfboards, sun-kissed and beautiful. Jacaranda has an on-again, off-again relationship with a married man and glitters among the city’s pretty creatures, blithely drinking White Ladies with any number of tycoons, unattached and unworried in the pleasurable mania of California. Yet she lacks a purpose―so at twenty-eight, jobless, she moves to New York to start a new life and career, eager to make it big in the world of New York City.
Sex and Rage delights in its sensuous, dreamlike narrative and its spontaneous embrace of fate, and work, and of certain meetings and chances. Jacaranda moves beyond the tango of sex and rage into the open challenge of a defined and more fulfilling expressive life. Sex and Rage further solidifies Eve Babitz’s place as a singularly important voice in Los Angeles literature―haunting, alluring, and alive.
3. The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.
To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.
4. Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba
A few years ago I made a crazy claim in the first edition of Girl Code: that in today’s competitive marketplace, the fiercest thing a female entrepreneur can do is to support other women.
Something dynamic happens when women genuinely show up for each other. When we lose the facades, cut the bullsh*t, and truly have each other’s backs. When we stop pretending everything is perfect, and show the messy, beautiful parts of ourselves and our work—which all look awfully similar. When we talk about our fears, our missteps, and our breakdowns. And most importantly, when we share our celebrations, our breakthroughs, and our solutions.
I’m convinced that there’s no reason to hoard information, connections, or insight. Wisdom is meant to be shared, so let’s start sharing what we’ve learned to make each other better. Let’s start building each other up. Let’s live up to our potential and start ruling the world.
Girl Code is a roadmap for female entrepreneurs, professional women, “side hustlers” (those with a day job plus a part-time small business), and anyone in between. This book won’t teach you how to build a multimillion-dollar company. It won’t teach you about systems or finance. But it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection. Because at the end of the day, that’s what life and business are all about.
5. Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
No one knows who she really is…
Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.
It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?
Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.
Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?
6. Dear Diary by Lesley Arfin
A collection of a girl’s funniest diary entries from 12 to 25 years old. She updates each entry by tracking down the people involved and asking awkward questions like, “Do you remember when I tried to beat you up?” Sometimes old friends apologize. Sometimes they become new enemies. No matter who she talks to about the days we all discovered sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Boys are totally immature.
7. The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia–blond, beautiful, and rich–fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged upbringing grants her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.
With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in a high-stakes deal at work–a deal that, despite the assurances of his Machiavellian boss, begins to seem more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of live. As the economy craters, and as Evan and Julia spin into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more–good and bad–than they’d ever imagined.
Rich in suspense and insight, Anna Pitoniak’s gripping debut reveals the fragile yet enduring nature of our connections: to one another and to ourselves. THE FUTURES is a glittering story of a couple coming of age, and a searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in New York City, a place that so often seems determined to break us down–but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.
8. Love and Chaos: A Brooklyn Girls Novel by Gemma Burgess
Wild child and secret romantic Angie wakes up in a hotel room with $3,000 and no memories of the night before. Her best friends aren’t talking to her, she can’t get a job in fashion, her parents are divorcing, and she’s about to turn twenty-three. And life is about to get much worse.
Brooklyn Girls: Love and Chaos continues the story of our five favorite grads sharing a brownstone and starting out in New York City through Angie’s eyes. On a journey from private jets and yacht parties to dirty subways and hipster bars via crazy storms, flash floods, and retail jobs from hell, Angie discovers who she is, what she wants, how she’s going to get it ―and a crazy little thing called true love.
Meanwhile, her roommates lives are imploding, too. Coco’s self-medicating and self-loathing, Pia’s breaking up and cracking up, Madeleine’s finding her voice and Julia might―just might―have met someone she can actually date.
Brooklyn Girls is the hilarious, inspiring Gemma Burgess series every twenty-something has been waiting for that tells you that whatever you do, whatever mistakes you make, everything is going to be okay. All you need is a little luck, a little work, and your best friends.
9. Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod
Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses this questions to herself as she doodles on a notepad at her desk. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t as daunting as she expected. With a little math and a lot of determination, Janice cuts back, saves up, and buys herself two years of freedom in Europe.
A few days into her stop in Paris, Janice meets Christophe, the cute butcher down the street-who doesn’t speak English. Through a combination of sign language and franglais, they embark on a whirlwind Paris romance. She soon realizes that she can never return to the world of twelve-hour workdays and greasy corporate lingo. But her dwindling savings force her to find a way to fund her dreams again. So Janice turns to her three loves-words, art, and Christophe-to figure out a way to make her happily-ever-after in Paris last forever.
10. Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
This is the story of how a columnist, two gay men, and a writers’ room full of women used their own poignant, hilarious, and humiliating stories to launch a cultural phenomenon. They endured shock, slut-shaming, and a slew of nasty reviews on their way to eventual—if often begrudging—respect. The show wasn’t perfect, but it revolutionized television for women.
When Candace Bushnell began writing for the New York Observer, she didn’t think anyone beyond the Upper East Side would care about her adventures among the Hamptons-hopping media elite. But her struggles with singlehood struck a chord. Beverly Hills, 90210 creator Darren Star brought her vision to an even wider audience when he adapted the column for HBO. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha launched a barrage of trends, forever branded the actresses that took on the roles, redefined women’s relationship to sex and elevated the perception of singlehood.
Featuring exclusive new interviews with the cast and writers, including star Sarah Jessica Parker, creator Darren Star, executive producer Michael Patrick King, and author Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City and Us brings us a both a critical and nostalgic, behind-the-scenes look at a television series that changed the way women see themselves.