I feel like I just sat down to write my spring reading roundup, but nevertheless it’s September –did you guys realize this?? Summer is almost over!
Against all odds, I read a lot this summer. I think I’ve officially made reading my stress coping strategy. Also, Tyler and I decided to skip Katie’s season of the Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, so that has freed up our evenings quite a bit.
I am well on my way to my goal for the year which was to read 40 books–check out my tips on how to read more books here.
One thing I noticed as I started this post is that I sort of avoided nonfiction this summer (save one memoir which did, in fact, make this list). I’ll try to tackle some of the nonfiction on my TBR list this fall.
Anyway, here are the best books I read this summer.
It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover
“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”
It seems like Colleen Hoover is having a moment right now, and she certainly deserves it. It took me exactly two years to recover from Verity (that book should come with a warning label) before gaining the courage to tackle another one of her addicting novels. It Ends With Us is so good, you guys, but it is not for the faint of heart or those in a vulnerable emotional state. There is some really heavy–and graphic–domestic violence content. This novel reads like a fast-paced thriller and is simultaneously one of the most compassionate depictions of domestic violence I’ve ever come across. This is worth reading for the author’s note at the end alone. It takes my breath away even thinking about it now, months later.
When the Stars Go Dark – Paula McLain
“It’s not what happens to us that matters most, but how we can learn to carry it.”
This novel is about a detective named Anna Hart who becomes obsessed with solving the cases of a couple of missing girls in the Bay Area. Anna is also battling her own demons and grief and has to come to terms with them over the course of the story. I couldn’t put this one down and thought it was the perfect mix between a thriller and drama.
Anxious People – Fredrik Backman
“This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.”
This is the second book I’ve read by Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Over was the first and I loved it), so I knew I was in for a treat. His writing style is so unique and captivating. This book is about a bank robbery gone wrong in a town in Sweeden. I found myself wishing it moved a little quicker through some parts but really did enjoy it.
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
“History has failed us, but no matter.”
Pachinko has been on my “To Be Read” list for a few years now, but I kept avoiding it as I often do with longer books–a bad habit, I know. Pachinko is a stunning novel about a Korean family who immigrated to Japan. The story spans multiple generations and characters, and the author is able to do this in a meaningful, intentional way without feeling chaotic. I was locked in from the start and felt a little sad to say goodbye to my favorite characters when I reached the end of the book.
Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner
“Hers was tougher than tough love. It was brutal, industrial-strength. A sinewy love that never gave way to an inch of weakness. It was a love that saw what was best for you ten steps ahead, and didn’t care if it hurt like hell in the meantime. When I got hurt, she felt it so deeply, it was as though it were her own affliction. She was guilty only of caring too much. I realize this now, only in retrospect. No one in this world would ever love me as much as my mother, and she would never let me forget it.”
I didn’t know a ton about this book when I bought it on my phone before a flight in July–just that several people I follow had raved about it. This is a memoir, a genre I typically don’t spend a lot of time in, written by the lead singer of the indie band called Japanese Breakfast. Michelle Zauner writes about her Korean Heritage, her relationship with her mother, and the circumstances surrounding her mother’s battle with cancer and passing. This book made me want to call my mom and eat a lot of delicious Korean food. It’s well-written, honest and powerful.
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