Our 2023 Summer Reading Guide

If summer is all about enjoying the simple things in life—from an iced cold lemonade to the smell of the sea— than what could be better than a lazy beachside afternoon or long plane ride spent absorbed in a new book? That’s exactly what we had in mind as we compiled our 28 latest and greatest reads of the season.

On this list, you’ll find books for every mood and moment you want to experience, whether you’re looking for something to make you laugh, a book full of intrigue, or a moving memoir. Plus, we’ve included some gorgeous design and coffee table books that make the perfect hostess gift for weekends away. So, settle into your beach chair and dive in.

If you want to read the literary novels everyone will be talking about

by Colson Whitehead Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead does it again with this entertaining jaunt through sumptuously seedy 1970s Harlem, New York. Former small-time criminal Ray Carney has committed to an honest life and is focused on his thriving furniture store business—until he needs a favor and hits up his old police contact, Munson, for help. But Munson has his own agenda for Carney and soon, staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated. Whitehead brilliantly reimagines the gritty world of 1970s NYC (filled with drug dealers, mobsters, hustlers, and crooked cops) and a man attempting to stay on the straight and narrow. But Ray says it best: “Crooked stays crooked, and bent hates straight.”
by Ann Patchett
A new novel from PEN/ Faulkner award-winner Ann Patchett is always cause for celebration. While helping work on the family orchard, Lara’s daughters ask her to tell them the story of the summer she dated the famous actor, Peter Duke. As the novel unfolds, Lara selectively shares what truths to reveal to her daughters as she reflects on her life choices that brought her where she is today.

If you like multicultural family sagas

by Esmeralda Santiago From the award-winning, best-selling author of When I Was Puerto Rican, comes a sprawling family saga that moves between Puerto Rico and the Bronx, revealing the lives and loves of five women and the secret that binds them together. Las Madres follows the life of Luz, who suffered a traumatic brain injury at 16 that leaves her dependent on the care of “las madres”—a close-knit circle of women who, through decades of friendship, have created their own kind of family. As fellow author Cristina Henriquez says, “Esmeralda Santiago is already a legend. With Las Madres, a rich and deeply felt novel about friendship, family secrets, belonging and the boundless love that survives devastation, she confirms her status as an absolute icon.”
by Thao Thai A gorgeous debut novel, Banyan Moon follows three generations of Vietnamese- American women as they grapple with the death of their cherished family matriarch. After losing her grandmother, Minh, Ann Tran goes back home to connect with her estranged mother. The two learn that Minh left them her coastal Florida home ‘Banyan House,’ bringing them together under the same roof for the first time in decades. Alternating chapters between three time periods, the book weaves together stories of motherhood, survival, buried secrets and unlikely love.

If you’re feeling nostalgic

by Caroline O’Donoghue This one is SO good! When Rachel and James meet in Cork, Ireland, it’s an immediate connection, and the two begin an instantaneous, life-changing friendship. When Rachel becomes infatuated with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, James helps her make a plan to seduce him. Hilarious and heartfelt, O’Donoghue brilliantly captures the joy, chaos, and intensity of young adulthood. If you’re nostalgic for your college years, if you miss the best friend you ever had, or if you just want to read a sparkling novel that is witty and big-hearted, then scoop up The Rachel Incident immediately.
by Annabel Monaghan Nora Goes Off Script was one of our favorite reads of last year, so you can bet we were excited to get our hands on this one. Sam is happily engaged to a straight-laced doctor and has returned to her family’s beach house on Long Island to see a wedding venue. When she arrives, she discovers that Wyatt, who broke her heart when she was 17, is unexpectedly in town to host a music festival. Seeing her first love for the first time in 14 years brings up long-forgotten memories of the idyllic summers they shared together and causes her to second-guess her life choices. Filled with charm, warmth and wit, this is the kind of second-chance romance that will leave you nostalgic for the intoxicating magic of your own first summer love.

If you like a bit of murder and mayhem

By Ruth Ware Looking for an action-packed thriller with The Fugitive and Mr. and Mrs. Smith vibes? Then get ready to crack open best-selling author Ruth Ware’s latest, block-buster, Zero Days. Jack (Jacinta) and her husband Gabe, own and operate a cyber-security firm. One night after working on an assignment, Jack returns home to find that Gabe has been murdered. Jack quickly becomes the prime suspect but instead of turning herself in, she goes on the run so she can expose the real killer. What results is a suspenseful race against time as Jack finds herself struggling to prove her innocence. This fast-paced thriller will keep you on the very edge of your seat.
By S.A. Crosby Former FBI Agent Titus Crown has recently returned to his southern hometown, Charon County, and becomes the county’s first Black sheriff. After a shooting at the local high school, Titus and his deputies learn that there is a brutal serial killer hiding out in their small town. Now Titus must hunt for the serial killer, all while dealing with bigotry and small-town politics. Determined to find the truth wherever it leads, Titus is forced to walk a fine line while investigating the shocking crime because here everyone knows everyone. This is a gritty, powerful, and addictive thriller that you’ll find impossible to put down.
by Megan Abbott Megan Abbott, the queen of creepy stories, is back with another nailbiter. This time she delivers a modern-day gothic tale reminiscent of Rebecca and Rose- Mary’s Baby. Recently married and expecting their first child, Jacy and Jed travel to visit his father at his remote cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The idyllic setting seems like the perfect respite—until Jacy has a health scare and things quickly turn strange. Why has her husband’s behavior dramatically changed since they arrived at his childhood home? And why is the stern housekeeper, Mrs. Brandt, coming and going at all hours of the night? Get your night light ready because all is definitely not what it seems in this spine-chilling tale.

If you’re in the mood for a real-life story

by David Von Drehle Washington Post writer David Von Drehle forges an unlikely and life-changing friendship with his centenarian neighbor, Charlie, when he and his family relocate to Kansas City. What can you learn from someone who has lived for more than a century? A lot! Charlie’s resilience and willingness to grow throughout his life helped him thrive during tough times and his optimism and grit helped him get through almost anything. As Tom Hanks so eloquently posted about the book on Instagram, “I gotta recommend this book, filled with history, wisdom, common sense and laughs galore. I wish I had lived across the street from Charlie AND that I make it to 109!” We feel the same way, Tom.
by Laura Carney Thirteen years after her free-spirited father, Mick, tragically died, journalist Laura Carney discovered a bucket list he had created the year that she was born. Handwritten and entitled “Things I would like to do in my lifetime,” Mick’s list included 60 things he hoped to accomplish—but he checked off only a few before he unexpectedly died. The list was written by a man dreaming about living his life, not preparing for his death so Carney made the decision to finish it for him. She spent the next six years completing the 54 adventures that Mick had barely had a chance to start. Her inspirational quest takes her inadvertently on a journey of self-discovery and helps her feel close to her father again along the way.
by Mary Louise Kelly Mary Louise Kelly has spent two decades traveling the world as a successful reporter for NPR, where she is co-host of All Things Considered and the BBC. Since having kids, “next year” has been what she told herself—from making it to soccer games to driving carpool. Before she knows it, she will be all out of next year as she realizes her eldest son is about to go to college. The memoir is her attempt to wrestle with the balance between work and life, of anchoring both the news and a family. The result is an honest and touching book that acknowledges the unfair compromises and impossible struggles women (and men) often have to make when it comes to parenthood and career aspirations.

If you’re into complicated relationships

by Maud Ventura (Author), Emma Ramadan (Translator) Full of humor and suspense, this psychological thriller is about a sophisticated French woman with a seemingly perfect life—the perfect job, gorgeous looks, beautiful children and ideal husband—whose passionate interest for her spouse turns into an obsession. The winner of France’s First Novel Prize in 2021, If you like Gone Girl and You, you’ll love this darkly funny and intense page-turner that rewards you with an unpredictable twist at the end. Amour, indeed!
by Genevieve Wheeler Adelaide is an American millennial living in London who falls hard and fast for English- man Rory, who never quite reciprocates her love. Despite her better judgment, she can’t seem to stop pursuing him, only to find herself in the midst of a toxic relationship. It is a raw and honest look at the complicated web of mental health and modern-day relationships and all their complexities, especially the gut-churning ups and downs of unrequited love and the power of friendships. If you’ve ever loved the wrong person or the right person at the wrong time then your heart will ache—and you’ll wish you could give a big hug—to our heroine Adelaide.

If you like binge-able books about rich people doing bad things

by Emma Cline Alex is “the guest,” a permanent drifter, part-time thief and opportunist, who grifts her way through life. She meets Simon—single, older and wealthy—and moves into his luxurious Long Island summer home. When she commits a major faux pas at a dinner party, Simon asks her to leave. With nowhere else to go, Alex drifts through the world of beach clubs and vacation homes of the rich, interacting with characters who often seem as deeply troubled as herself. This mesmerizing, suspenseful novel has The Talented Mr. Ripley vibes as Alex repeatedly reinvents herself to become a guest in other people’s lives. Emma Cline (author of the award-winning bestseller The Girls) knocks it out of the park with this eerily captivating novel that you’ll devour.
by Eliza Jane Brazier New money and old money spectacularly collide in this soapy, dramatic thriller. The Parker family is new to their extreme wealth and is desperate to fit in. Mom Heather is determined to give her daughters everything she never had—social acceptance, six-figure thoroughbreds, and a spotlight in the glamorous, competitive world of showjumping. But the cutthroat competition turns deadly when a corpse turns up at a horse show, and both mother and daughters must wrestle with what’s truly important. This who-done-it is filled with suspense, secrets, and good old-fashioned murder—which means you’ll be flying through the pages.

If you want to laugh and cry

by Steven Rowley The Celebrants, by the bestselling author of The Guncle, follows a group of college pals who tragically lost one of their friends during their senior year. After his funeral, they make a pact for the future: to throw each other “living funerals” to celebrate each other’s lives before its too late and remember what it really means to be alive. But this time around, one of the friends is hiding a tragic secret that could change everything. The Celebrants is being touted as a “Big Chill for our times” and we couldn’t agree more. Funny, tender and incredibly moving, it is a life-affirming, powerful ode to friendship that will inspire you to reconnect with your own treasured friends.

If you want to be swept away

by Dwyer Murphy Doesn’t this sound perfect for a summer read? Small-town Massachusetts lawyer Jack and his retired spy father have an unusual business helping people on the run. They use the summer houses of their coastal town abandoned by residents in the off-season as safe houses to hide clients escaping their former identities. As if his life wasn’t already shady enough, his ex-girlfriend Elena shows up with an elaborate plan for a diamond heist. This moody, atmospheric, neonoir crime novel is said to have all the dramatic and romantic vibes of Casablanca and will surely keep you on the edge of your seat.
by David Grann Masterful storyteller David Grann (author of award-winning, New York Times bestseller Killers of the Flower Moon) is back with a riveting true tale that is as thrilling as any novel. Grann recounts the story of 1740 British warship The Wager, which disappeared while on a secret mission during a war with Spain. Two years later, 30 emaciated survivors washed ashore on a deserted island in Brazil via a lifeboat. When discovered, they were celebrated as heroes until six months later a smaller group of castaways arrived telling a very different story. Shipwreck, mutiny and murder on the high seas? Count us in!

Books to transport you —no passport required

by Tricia Foley No beach house is necessary when you can drool over interior designer Tricia Foley’s gorgeous new book Entertaining by the Sea. It celebrates the joy of easy, breezy summer entertaining—on a deck, on a boat, or on a blanket in your back- yard. Filled with go-to recipes, design tips, and dreamy photos of warm weather fêtes, you’ll be inspired to host your own outdoor gathering immediately. A celebration of the classic beach life (think lobster rolls, bonfires and screened-in porches) this would be perfect as a house- guest present—but even better to keep for yourself!
by Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen And now we’re off to merry old England! Specifically, the enchanting, out-of-a-fairytale cottage in Sussex and the sophisticated London abode of design virtuosos Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen. The celebrated interior designers invite us to join them in their creative journey of a typical week of entertaining, collecting and creating. They also offer glimpses into the stunning homes of their favorite client projects, from the Caribbean to Italy. Trust us, you’ll dream about being a houseguest in either of their stunning homes.
by Ajiri Aki Audrey Hepburn’s famous line in Sabrina, “Paris is always a good idea!” rings true in this gorgeous, truly inspiring book. Nigerian-Texan ex-pat Ajiri Aki shares the secrets she has learned while living in Paris about finding joie de vivre every day. She writes, “Parisians find joy in what they eat, where they go, conversations they have, and how they spend their time.” Aki, the founder of the lifestyle brand Madame de la Maison, delivers a little bit of Paris straight to your own maison while offering chic, easy ideas to add joie de vivre to your world.
by Miguel Flores-Vianna Set sail to Greece with renowned interior photographer and author Miguel Flores-Vianna’s latest coffee table book. The self-confessed “Hellenophile” showcases a beautiful selection of homes— both classical and rustic—that each celebrate the Mediterranean country and all its history. You’ll be inspired to sip ouzo and nibble on olives as you pore through the images of island hideaways, lush gardens and even a gorgeously restored sailboat in the pages of this stunning volume.

If you’re a sucker for historical fiction

by Lisa See Raised by her grandparents, heroine Tan Yunxian’s grandmother teaches her all she knows about treating and healing women, alongside her best friend Meiling, a midwife-in-training. When Tan becomes a wife in an arranged marriage though, it’s all off limits. You will root for Tan as you follow her journey as a mother, wife and doctor, where she even heads to the Forbidden City to help with infant deliveries. This wondrous, well-researched story is inspired by the true love, life and friendships of a remark- able woman physician from 15th-century China.
by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray This fascinating novel describes the unlikely but enduring friendship between civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The two were initially drawn together by their shared belief in women’s rights and the power of education but soon became close personal friends. Benedict and Murray present the decades-long friendship in alternating chapters, written from each woman’s point of view. Set against the events of post-World War I through World War II, we see the two passionate and politically skilled women fight against racism and segregation and help build the foundation for the modern civil rights movement.

If you’re hot for a love story

By Ali Hazelwood Who knew science could be so sexy? Ali Hazelwood is the author of several best-selling novels of STEMinist romantic fiction—a subgenre focused on love stories set in the worlds of science, tech, engineering and math. In Love, Theoretically, Elsie is struggling to make ends meet since she makes next to nothing as a theoretical physicist. To help pay the bills, she works for an app where people hire her to be their date for events. But the job might cost her a dream professorship when the brother of the guy she’s been fake dating turns out to be on the hiring committee at MIT. Funny, sexy, and oh-so-smart, this enemies-to-lovers romance will leave you aching for more.
by Emily Henry New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry returns with another swoon-worthy romance that is guaranteed to leave you blushing. College sweethearts Harriet and Wyn always take an annual vacation with their best friends for a blissful week in Maine—but this one is different. The lovebirds are keeping a big secret from their friends: They have actually been broken up for months. Not wanting to ruin everyone’s good time with news of their split, they decide to pretend that they’re still together. But can they really fool their friends—or themselves? You’ll devour this sweet, sparkling novel for its delicious mix of romance, humor and clever dialogue that will leave you feeling like you’re in a happy place yourself!

If you need a good laugh

by Mary Giuliani Serendipity favorite, two-time author (The Cocktail Party: Eat, Drink, Play, Recover and Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites) and lifestyle expert Mary Giuliani spills all in her hilarious new collection of essays that look at what happens when a social butterfly is forced to stay home during the pandemic. As Rachael Ray raves, “Mary Giuliani is not a name but a promise. Like a guarantee on the box, her name attached to an event, a book, a menu or a meal, it is a golden ticket to good times. Mary makes me smile, laugh, cry happy tears, and she always leaves me hungry for more of her wisdom, her humor, and her stories.” In another witty and charming book, Giuliani shares stories about the business and pleasure of being “caterer to the stars” and what really happens when you finally get a break from your over-booked life. Cheers!


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