Book of the Month Summer Reading Guide 2020 (Part III)

Posted May 26, 2020 by stuckint in BOTM, Summer Reading Guide / 8 Comments

We are so excited to share the final part of our summer reading guide.

Unique to Part III is some of the Book of the Month books we plan to get to this summer.

As always if we missed your favorite title or you now of a book coming out that we overlooked, let us know in the comments!

Keeping It Real- Memoirs/Nonfiction

Leaving the Witness by Amber Scorah

Married and in her early 30s, Amber moved to Shanghai to proselyte for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. While there, telling no one of what she really did, she obtained work at a radio station and slowly deconverted from her faith. Abandoned by her religion and her husband, Amber was left to her own devices in a foreign country as she tries to find her place in a world that she had been taught to believe was condemned. Leaving The Witness is perfect for fans of cult and deconversion stories.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Ever gone to therapy and wondered what your therapist was thinking while you rambled nervously about past decisions and current concerns? Well look no further! Both comical and eye opening Gottlieb gives readers a glimpse into the mind of a therapist as she attends therapy herself and also meets with her own clients.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Can’t wait for June 3 when Hamilton hits Disney+? Then you NEED to check out this book. Sarah Vowell is one of my favorite historians — her writing style is funny and relateable and she does a great job of packing a ton of well-researched information into a short and tight package. I will say that if you want to round out your summer with a great audiobook, this one is amazing on audio with a full cast including Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, Patton Oswalt and more.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

This is an amazing true-story about the systematic murder of the Osage people back in the 1920s, the investigation of which intertwined with the growth of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. It’s a powerful look at the systematic mistreatment and violence against Indigenous people, mostly because white people wanted what they had. It reads like a novel and kept me enthralled until the last page.

A Blast From the Past- Historical Fiction

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

A modern day Huckleberry Finn, Krueger’s wildly popular novel follows four friends as they travel by boat down the Mississippi River into to escape a toxic, abusive boarding school in search of a better life. While the book is told from only one perspective Krueger writes complex, fleshed out characters that make the story that much more enjoyable.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This sweeping epic takes a honest look at the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Told in two intertwining stories, The Great Believers follows a mother looking for a daughter who disappeared with a cult, and her brother twenty years before who is watching AIDS ravage his social circle and change his world forever.

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

This is a historical memoir from the perspective of Mustafa al-Zamori, the first black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave who was part of the exploring team led by Panfilo de Narvaez — and one of only four to actually make it to America after disaster struck. I loved this account of American exploration and discovery from a previously unheard voice.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This is a more recent historical fiction, set in 1974, just after the Vietnam war when veteran Ernt Allbright tries to restart his life post-war by moving his family to Alaska. This is a particularly good one to read in the summer on a super-hot day, because you can practically feel the freezing tundra just outside your door. A beautifully written book full of heartbreak and love.

Escape To Other Worlds- Sci Fi and Fantasy

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth-Emmie Lang

I will never stop talking about this beautiful, happiness filled book. It’s contemporary fiction with a bit of magical realism and includes a quirky guy who was raised by wolves, a magic “unicorn pig” that supposedly controls the weather and the people who knew him throughout the course of his life. It is just such a wholesome, heartwarming story that you should definitely pick up this summer.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

One of the biggest Sci-fi novels of last year is an incredible story that challenges reader’s perception of linear time and ask questions about the diffocult moments which shape us and if changing those memories is really worth the potential consequences. In a world where people are plagued with memories from a life they a sure they never lived a scientist and a cop team up to figure what is causing this strange condition and will stop at nothing to fix it.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ok, so I realize this is a very popular selection, and you might have already read it, but if you haven’t, I think this is a perfect summer read. It’s got it all — a great adventure story, an all-too-plausible near future dystopia, all wrapped up in a package of 1980’s video game and pop culture nostalgia. I love this book so much — and think it’s 100% better than the movie, so definitely check it out!

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

If you loved Song of Achilles, you absolutely need to check out this female-forward retelling of The Iliad. Told from the perspective of Briseis, Achilles’ concubine, this tells the story of war from the perspective of the typically silent — the conquered, slaves, and women. There are touches of magic — this is a Greek mythology retelling, after all, but it’s somehow also completely realistic and believable. This is a great retelling and I highly recommend it!

Slow and Steady- Books +400 pages

The Secret History by Donna Tart

Perfect for lovers of Greek and Latin Language and Literature or anyone who has had experience in academia, Donna Tart’s magnum opus follows a handful of students at a prestigious New England college who fall under the spell of their eccentric Classics professor. At the very beginning of the novel we find out that one of the students has been murdered and the story becomes not a who-dunnit by a why-dunnit.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

This gender swapped Rumplestiltskin retelling is full of magic and myth. Telling the story of Miryem and Wanda Spinning Silver has everything you could ever want in an expansive fairytale retellings: intricate world building, high stakes, and parallel worlds where consequences cross generations and magical realms.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Man, I love this series, which is a Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy with demons and mythology and absolutely amazing worldbuilding. The best part about starting this one over the summer is that the second was also a BOTM pick, and the third and final book releases at the end of June, so you won’t have to wait long for the thrilling conclusion!

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

I absolutely adore Ruta Sepetys — both Between Shades of Grey and Out of the Easy are favorites of mine, so as soon as I saw this pick I knew I had to get it! Set in 1950s Spain, this compelling work of historical fiction follows two teens whose lives become intertwined when they both find themselves in Madrid post the Spanish Civil War. There is a full and rich cast of characters, a beautiful love story and an exploration of living under a facist regime. It’s just so good. Pop

Something New- First In A Series

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The first book it Michael Rutgers Anomaly Files follows Nolan Moore, who hosts a paranormal investigation show. At the beginning of the story Nolan and his team set out to investigate a cave in the Grand Canyon. What they find is darker, more violent and gruesome than they ever could imagine and some of them will not make it out alive. .

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

The first in a new a new mystery series, Two Girls down is about two sisters who are kidnapped from a mall parking lot. Bounty hunter Alice Vega teams up with retired cop Max Caplan to bring the girls home. Compulsively readable and suspenseful, the first book in Luna’s new thriller series will keep you reading late into the night.

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

For fans of dragon-centered fantasy novels like Eragon comes an action packed new series which pays particular homage to the Greek and Roman World. Full of political intrigue, a high stakes competition and compelling characters, Fireborne should be on every fantasy lover’s shelf.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Overnight, these strange things appear randomly all over the world. Their initial discovery is made by aspiring social media influencer April and her friend Andy. When the video the two shoot goes viral, April suddenly has a lot of problems to deal with, including her own safety and the safety of the ones she loves. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing asks questions about the negative and positive impacts social media has on our lives.

We Are Young- YA Novels

Ashlords by Scott Reintgem

This YA fantasy novel follows three very different characters as they strive to win the races and claim the prize. Reintgem weaves a magical world of pheonix horses, alchemy, and bargains made with gods that have overarching consequences. I would essentially describe this book as The Hunger Games meets The Scorpio Races. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

This standalone YA contemporary is at once funny and timely. Del has had a crush on Kiera for as long as he can remember and he is determined to do whatever it takes to make her see that they are perfect for each other. But when Del unwittingly takes a purity pledge alongside his crush what follows is a comical, heartwarming story that asks important questions about consent and honesty.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Clerics and blood magic and forbidden romance, oh my! Emily Duncan’s amazing gothic-fantasy Slavic-set YA topped my list last year and I think everyone needs to read it! It’s definitely dark, but also lush and while a larger book, reads really quickly. Definitely check this one out!

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

If you asked me, what one word will basically ensure you will read a book, “pirates” would be at the top of my list. I love a good pirate book and this one has pirates AND mermaids, forbidden pacts, an amazing magic system, plot twists and so much more. This one is a perfect book to read with your toes in the water… or maybe a few feet back from the water. Who knows what lurks in the depths!

Hidden Gems- Underhyped Titles

The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclain Weir

Esther Hicks has had her life broadcasted to the world for as long as she can remember. In the reality show Six for Hicks, the world watches weekly the antics of her conservative Christian family. When Esther “Essie” realizes she is pregnant, producers and her parents act frantically to try and cover up Essie’s adultery while she struggles with her feelings about the pregnancy and the arranged marriage her parents are trying to force her into. There are some trigger warnings, but the book features a solid cast of compelling characters.

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

For fans of Jane Austen, this historical romance features Lady Victoria Aston who adores Jane Austen novels and tries to use her favorite books to help her in her own social situations. Funny, clever and full of heart, this under-hyped YA romance has a sprinkling of mystery as mysterious accidents begin to occur around Victoria. Definitely a must-read for any YA aficionado.

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooney

I actually read this as part of my book club last year and it was one of my absolute favorites! We follow 85-year-old Lillian on New Year’s Eve 1984. She finds herself alone on New Year’s Eve and decides to take a short walk around her New York City neighborhood, which turns into a long walk, full of reminiscing, both hilarious and painful. Lillian was at one time the highest paid advertising woman, and gave it up (as she was required to do) when she became pregnant. It’s a gorgeously written quick read, with so much depth. I highly recommend it!

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Little & Lion is a story that is really difficult to explain, so I’ll leave it at this. This novel seems at once light and YA, with teenagers that act like teenagers, but also deep and intense, exploring LGBT issues, race, religion, and illness. It makes you feel like you could be in Los Angeles with our characters. It’s just plain good writing. Definitely check this out!

On Our Summer Reading Lists

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

This under appreciated thriller contains two winding and twisting plots. First we have two parents who have finally been given a child after many fears of infertility. However, as Hannah grows into her own the parents can’t but think that someone thing is terribly off about their daughter. Fast forward almost five decades when Clara’s boyfriend doesn’t come bome from work one night, she sets out to find out the truth behind his disappearance. What follows is a pulse-pounding psychological thriller that is sure to keep you up at night.

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

A newer release from Book of the Momth, The Knockout Queen is a gritty coming of age story that follows two teens who struggle to find out who they are accept every part of themselves in an unforgiving, cruel world. There Bunny, a 6’3″ volleyball player who isn’t really comfortable in her own skin and Michael, a closeted gay boy who meets men late at night. When a violent act changes the two teens forever what follows is Thorpe’s trademark caustic wit and heart wrenching reality. I can hardly wait to pick it up.

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Oh man. A historical fiction centering on Jesus, but as if he had a wife, and as if that wife was a feminist?! I mean, add Sue Monk Kidd’s gorgeous writing into the mix and I’m not sure how I could let this one pass me by. It’s in this month’s box for me, and I am really excited to dig into it! Plus, it’s actually recommended for BOTM by Glennon Doyle, whose writing I love and whose book recommendations I also tend to love.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Speaking of! I definitely need to read this one this summer. First of all, that cover is just so gorgeous and utterly summery to me. I’ve read Doyle’s other memoirs and always find them basically life-changing, or at least with enough interesting stuff to think about that I come back to them time and again. Reviews of Untamed suggest this may be her best book yet, and I CANNOT WAIT to dig in!

What About You?

What will you be reading this summer? Did we leave off any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

8 responses to “Book of the Month Summer Reading Guide 2020 (Part III)

  1. Cori

    Another great list. I have to agree with The Book of Essie, its a fabulous underrated gem! I need to read The Book of Longings this summer! I finished 2 May BOTM books in May this year, my own new record! (Big Summer and Happy and You know It were perfect quarantine reads!)

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