The 10 Best New Books For Summer To Read In Your Free Time

“I really need to read more.” This is a phrase I say several times a year. That, and “I really need to exercise more,” and reading is just exercise for the mind. Let’s all take advantage of the upcoming months mostly free of school work and make time to read some really great books. Here’s a list of 10 suggestions that we consider to be the best new books for summer that shouldn’t even feel like work. Whatever your fancy, something here will pair perfectly with coffee or a beer sitting out on the back porch this summer.

1. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you want something to expand your knowledge of the classics beyond the books read in your high school English classes, pick up Tender is the Night. This is one of Fitzgerald’s more famous novels after The Great Gatsby, and Fitzgerald wrote himself, “If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God’s sake read this.” It’s a story that twists together drama, psychiatry, and complicated relationships thought to have been drawn from Fitzgerald’s own marriage with Zelda. This is definitely one of the best new books for summer

2. Sula by Toni Morrison

If you don’t have experience with Toni Morrison, you should definitely give her a try. This isn’t her newest read, but it’s a classic component of her collection. No one writes a simultaneously strange and touching piece of fiction in quite the same way. Sula is about two friends whose relationship is cultivated, torn apart, and then brought back together by secrets, their community, and their own ideas of womanhood. Stick with Morrison’s unexpected and beautiful details and you’ll soon be addicted to her style of storytelling. This is definitely one of the best new books for summer!

3. Not That Bad by Roxane Gay

Even if you don’t typically read nonfiction, Roxane Gay is a writer well worth checking out, especially after her last popular collection of essays, Bad Feminist. However, this book isn’t so much of Gay’s own writing. Rather it’s an anthology of essays she’s chosen, connected by first-person accounts of the sexual harassment and violence women everywhere face, heartbreaking stories which society often defines as “not that bad.”

4. American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

I’ll tell you straight, Terrance Hayes is a brilliant poet, but he is a hard poet. He writes on levels the brain must do summersaults to grasp, but he is also well worth it. If you’re looking for a different medium of political commentary this summer, read Hayes’s set of 70 poems written in the first 200 days of Trump’s presidency.

5. Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg

This might be a painful read for the summer, but you’ll have plenty of time to cry alone in your room. Goodbye, Sweet Girl is a memoir by Kelly Sundberg, detailing her abusive marriage and the complicated emotions linked to it, even after she’s now made it out. For a taste of her writing style and amazing openness, read her preemptive essay “It Will Look Like a Sunset,” here.

6. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

This is the summer read for all true crime fans, especially since the Golden State Killer has finally been caught after about 40 years on the loose. The serial killer and rapist struck terror throughout the state of California from the mid 70s to the mid 80s. Michelle McNamara dedicated her life to studying and writing about his crimes, looking for an answer, but she unexpectedly died before the book was finished and tragically only months before he was arrested. The book was published posthumously, finished by her partners and husband, actor Patton Oswalt.

7. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

If you’ve gotten addicted to the hit series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, check out this new dystopian novel. With beauty and humor, Zumas paints a parallel version of America, in which abortion, in vitro fertilization, and adoption by single women have all been outlawed. Her female characters must struggle to navigate the society that has put such heartbreaking limitations of their lives and bodies.

8. Calypso by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is known as the king of the comedic essay, and yet he always still manages to be poignant and relatable. Calypso is his most recent book of essays, full of dark humor and sharp observations as he encounters more of old age from the view of a new beach house in North Carolina, and a lack of expected relaxation. He’s great for light reading and hilarious stories about an insane family we can all get behind.

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9. A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

This novel is worth reading for its support from acclaimed writer Junot Diaz alone. However, read a hint of the story it contains and you’ll be hooked, too. In Hua’s debut novel, she writes about a Chinese woman who has been shipped to California, pregnant with her boss’s baby. From there, she embarks on a terrifying and enlightening adventure to make a life for herself in America. It’s clearly a story worth your time this summer.

10. Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin

If you like to spend your time with shorter reads, check out this collection of short stories. Lazarin writes tales of women forced to suppress their desire, and stories of women who choose to express it. Society expects women to be quiet and docile, but we’re real and it always inevitably shows. On this topic, Lazarin details stories about a variety of women at different places in life, all with the same relatable issues, unable to stay in the traditional mold. This is definitely one of the best new books for summer!

No matter what you’re in the mood for, grab a book this summer. Yes, Netflix and HBO have been doing some great storytelling lately, but nothing beats the written word. Whether you read all the time or don’t remember the last time you touched a book, something on this list will keep you turning pages.

Do you agree that these are the best new books for summer? Let us know in the comment section below!

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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Haley Kellner

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