Feature photo @TheLiteraryLawyer
Summer is on its way, which means long days filled with sunshine—the perfect reading light. Time to dig out your shorts, dust off your picnic blanket, and bask in the warm summer breeze. And while you’ll soon be laying by the water listening to children play or watching dogs fetch frisbees in the afternoon sun, now is the perfect time to plan your summer book club reading, because no afternoon scene will be complete without the perfect reading companion. We’ve made it easy with the selections below; something for every book club sure to spark endless conversations.
Elektra by Jennifer Saint (May 3, 2022)
In Elektra, three women struggle against the ancient curses that threaten to undo their world. Princess Cassandra can see the future, but a curse makes it so that no one will ever believe her warnings that a war is coming. Clytemnestra has married into a family that carries a curse, a reality she must confront when her husband Agamemnon betrays her on the eve of the Trojan War. Lastly, the titular character Elektra is Clytemnestra’s daughter and she only wants her father to safely return from the war. Yet Elektra’s place in her family history will likely, too, be fated for violence or tragedy as the events of her story unfold.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (May 3, 2022)
When Tova Sullivan begins working the night shift cleaning floors at the local aquarium, she does so to help cope with the recent death of her husband. Staying busy is also how she had dealt with the disappearance of her 18-year-old son more than thirty years ago, so she is a master at this by now. Remarkably, Tova soon forms a friendship with Marcellus, the aquarium’s wise and giant Pacific octopus. Although he usually detests humans, Marcellus’ bond with Tova drives him to use his intelligence to try to deduce the truth of what happened to Tova’s son all those years ago. Hopefully he can uncover the truth before it’s too late.
The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara (May 3, 2022)
King Rao, a son of coconut farmers, becomes the world’s leading tech CEO and, later, government leader in an imagined world where corporations govern the planet. After his death, his daughter, Athena, must come to terms with her father’s legacy and the memories that he left her. With the planet threatened by climate change, Athena chooses to tell her father’s life story to the world’s Shareholders in hopes this will lead to radical change. But this story also holds the truth about Athena herself; her father’s most remarkable creation.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (May 31, 2022)
Emilie and Sara meet while working at a glamorous Los Angeles restaurant called Yerba Buena, and at first the attraction is like that out of a storybook. But real life is a little more complicated. Years after she ran away from home at the age of sixteen, Sara no longer trusts anyone and keeps her past a secret. Meanwhile, Emilie has always been noncommittal and is in the middle of an affair with the restaurant’s owner. As Sara struggles to reckon with her old life that has started to catch up to her and Emilie finally figures out what she wants, the two women must decide if their love is stronger than their past mistakes and regrets.
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill (June 7, 2022)
A woman breaks the tranquility of the Boston Public Library reading room with a scream. Quickly, security guards leave to investigate and instruct everyone to stay in the room until they’ve given the all-clear. To pass the time, four strangers, who happen to be sitting at the same table, strike up conversation and become friends. But unbeknownst to the other three, one of them happens to be a murderer.
It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler (June 7, 2022)
As their mother reaches the end of her life, three sisters gather together, all harboring secrets. Beck, the oldest, is having relationship issues with her husband and hopes to rekindle their love affair by moving to the family cottage after her mother passes. Claire, the middle child and a cardiologist, has a secret unrequited love. The youngest, Sophie, appears to lead a glamorous life, but her financial problems are about to become unmanageable. With the weight of these secrets already causing tension, the sudden appearance of ex-con C.J. Reynolds only makes matters worse and, suddenly, everything is about to change.
Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley (June 7, 2022)
Iona and the fellow commuters on her daily train ride never speak to each other, despite seeing each other daily. When one of the commuters, a man Iona calls Smart-but-Sexist-Manspreader, suddenly begins choking on a grape, the invisible walls separating these strangers suddenly disappear. Sanjay, a nurse on board, saves the man with the Heimlich maneuver. Iona and others now begin to talk to each other, and learn that talking to strangers can open doors to learning about the world and yourself.
These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany (June 7, 2022)
Malek, Kees and Jenna are three young Muslim women who have been friends since childhood. Together, they navigate a complicated reality in which faith, family, love and happiness are often at odds. As college students who are nearing graduation, the women are at the precipice of true adulthood and face life-changing decisions. Kees must decide if she will marry the white Catholic man with whom she’s been in a relationship with, but whom her family would never approve of. Malek will do anything to coexist happily with her family and community, but will she sacrifice her own happiness? Lastly, Jenna’s feeling of loneliness threatens to overcome her. Then, one night, harsh truths are revealed that change everything.
The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays (June 7, 2022)
Distractions, distractions. If it weren’t for all the distractions in her life, Alice Quick is sure she would be on her way to becoming a doctor. But she’s just been kicked out of her apartment, her tech millionaire brother’s life is a soap opera she can’t look away from, her new roommate has a thirst for adventure that’s contagious, and, of course, there’s the bell of love calling her that’s full of promise and impossible to resist. The Mutual Friend is the story of Alice’s summer, an epic tale about life, love and connection.
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes (June 14, 2022)
Laurie Sassalyn returns to her hometown in Maine to settle the estate of her great-aunt Dot. This return home comes just after Laurie’s wedding is cancelled and, on the brink of turning 40, she finds herself with her life wide open ahead of her. When going through her aunt’s things, Laurie finds a mysterious love letter along with a wooden duck. When the duck goes missing, Laurie decides to investigate her aunt’s past and is determined to uncover the secrets she was hiding. But in doing so, Laurie must also reckon with her own past and learn how to live life on her own terms.
The Catch by Alison Fairbrother (June 21, 2022)
Ellie Adler is sure she is her father’s favorite child. But when he dies unexpectedly, she’s shocked and hurt to learn that instead of leaving her his most prized possession—a baseball that carries special significance for the both of them—he leaves her a thoughtless gift. What’s worse is that he’s left the baseball to someone Ellie has never heard of. Determined to find out who this person is and why her father would commit such a betrayal, Ellie searches for answers, and begins to discover that her father was not who she thought he was.
The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule (June 28, 2022)
In 1960’s America, Melvin and his fiancé Bernadette must flee after a violent encounter in a diner parking lot that makes them wanted fugitives. The couple pose as a pastor and a pastor’s wife to enter Ghana where they intend to seek the help of Melvin’s college friend Kwame Nkrumah, who happens to be Ghana’s president. On their journey, they are joined by Kwesi Kwayson, a musician, with whom Bernadette experiences an undeniable attraction. As the trio makes their way to Kwame, tensions rise as the country suffers political upheaval and as the attraction between Bernadette and Kwesi intensifies. This is a novel brimming with political drama, romance, magic and mythology.
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty (July 5, 2022)
Morgan Tally’s short stories in Night of the Living Rez take place in a Penobscot Native community in present-day Maine. Her stories portray what it means to belong to the Penobscot community today and explore the ways in which the community’s past continues to echo into the present day. Ultimately, it is a memorable portrait of survival, love and perseverance.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (July 5, 2022)
Two young friends, Sam and Sadie, experience overnight success when they create Ichigo, a new video game that breaks new ground. Spanning thirty years, the novel follows Sam and Sadie’s friendship as they navigate success, fame and a world of new possibilities. The novel explores themes of identity, disability, play and love in an unforgettable and richly imaginative way.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (July 12, 2022)
In this captivating and at times heartbreaking tale, Leah, a marine biologist, returns home after she is stranded for months at the bottom of the ocean in a submarine mission. She has not returned home the same, and her wife Miri fears that the person Leah was is slipping away. Desperate to save the woman she loves, Miri searches for answers about what happened while Leah was below the sea.
The Marriage Box by Corie Adjmi (August 2, 2022)
When Casey Cohen, a young Middle Eastern Jewish woman in 1960’s New Orleans, gets into trouble, her parents decide to reconnect their family with the Orthodox Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn. At first, Casey dislikes this new world she’s been thrown into, where men thank God they were not born women and where women display themselves in the Marriage Box: a pool deck where they hope to catch the eye of a future husband. When Casey falls for Michael, she embraces her new community and marries him at the age of eighteen. But as her new husband’s intentions seem to change, encouraging her to have a baby instead of going to college, Casey begins to wonder if she can stay true to herself while staying in the community, or if she will need to leave this way of life behind to make her own way.
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford (August 2, 2022)
As a celebrated poet, Dorothy Moy’s dissociative episodes and mental health struggles have formed her art and identity. However, when her daughter starts exhibiting symptoms of the same episodes, Dorothy is driven to seek a cure that will spare her daughter from the burden and pain of inheriting their ancestors’ past traumas. To this end, Dorothy finds a way to connect with the generations of women that came before her, seeking to reconcile her past and break the cycle of pain for herself, her daughter, and all other Moy women that will come after them.
Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean (August 9, 2022)
Thirty-five-year-old Mika Suzuki’s life is in a downward spiral. When Penny, the daughter she gave up for adoption sixteen years ago, connects with Mika and expresses her desire to have a relationship with her, Mika decides to tell a small lie about her life in an effort to impress her. However, Mika’s small lie soon escalates into bigger lies until she has taken on a life that is completely fake. As mother and daughter become closer, and as Mika begins to fall for Penny’s widowed adoptive father, Mika’s lies begin to catch up with her.