Summer Reading Fun: 7 Hot Book Recommendations for You (plus bonus!) July 20, 2022 Reading Time: 5 min ShareTweetPin1Share1 Shares Skip straight to the list of books >> I’ve been so looking forward to creating this Summer Reads blog post! You’ll find 4 fiction & 3 non-fiction books that I’ve read recently—and loved—plus a bonus NOTE: The links below go to Bookshop.org (USA), so you can learn more about the book—and purchase online. I am now an affiliate for Bookshop.org! It’s a great alternative to Amazon as they give money back to small booksellers—and they also have a UK and Spanish site. Although if you can I recommend directly supporting your local bookstore or buying second-hand through AbeBooks which is also good for our planet Do you love reading—or listening to audio books? I’ve been an avid reader since I was young, and love to read every night in bed. My favourite time of the week is still a weekend morning, reading in bed with a great book and a good cup of tea. What about you? Books teach us about our world—and the people in it! Not only entertainment, pleasure or an escape from the stresses of life, stories offer us insight into other worlds: different cultures, different times (past or future) or an entirely different world—the characters, situations and their societies teach us something. And non-fiction gives us knowledge, ideas and inspiration! What’s not to love? Here are my Summer Read Recommendations Starting with 4 Fiction Books! Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy Buy on Bookshop 1) Circe by Madeline Miller This is a feminist re-telling of a Greek myth, and a powerful story of living your values and becoming yourself. Circe is a nymph (goddess), daughter of Helios god of the sun. But she is not beautiful and bewitching like the other nymphs and she dislikes the disdainful, uncaring and pleasure-seeking gods who toy with mortals—and each other. Drawn to mortals, and after ‘accidentally’ turning a fellow nymph into monster, she is banished and begins to discover who she truly is, find her strength, love and accept herself and ultimately find the power to choose her own life. Madeline’s prose is so simple yet evocative—a truly beautiful read. And the only book I have read twice within a year! Genre: AfricanFuturism Buy on Bookshop 2) Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor A Hugo and Nebula award-winning (Sci-fi and Fantasy awards) story, Binti is a young black woman from a traditional tribe who steals away into space to learn at a distant university. She leaves behind her family and outdated traditions, but not her culture. She wants to learn—and discover what she’s capable of. Somehow Nnedi combines the Himba (modelled on a real tribe from Namibia), a warlike alien jellyfish-like species, feminism, racism, bullying, friendship—and a little politics—into one fun ride. This trilogy is in development for TV (with Media Res) as is her book Who Fears Death (in development at HBO). Nnedi has some super original ideas (which is unusual in Sci-Fi!), many are outlandish, but she makes them work. And while I found the prose a little wooden at times, the story more than makes up for that. Genre: Historical Thriller, Coming of age Buy on Bookshop 3) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (translated by Lucy Graves) A “gothic novel”, it tells the story of a motherless boy, Daniel, as he comes of age in 1940-50s Barcelona. We follow Daniel’s relationships (including with his father, a rich blind girl Clara, a homeless man Fermin, his best friend Tomas) and his bizarre and scary encounters on his quest to learn about Julian Carax—the author of a book (The Shadow of the Wind). Simultaneously, someone shadowy is trying to burn all books ever written by Julian, and a vindictive and dangerous police officer Fumero pops up everywhere… Part-detective, part coming of age, part thriller, part tragedy, Daniel grows into a man as he uncovers what really happened to Julian Carax and his friends. Carlos’ books have been translated into over 40 languages, but he was a new author to me! I loved the prose and imagery—not surprisingly as it was translated into English by the daughter of poet Robert Graves… Genre: Comedy, Drama, Satire, Beach Read Buy on Bookshop 4) The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson This novel is set in the 1980s and 90s in the USA and is based around two adult children who return home when their lives have fallen apart. Gently sad and amusing by turns, part drama and part societal satire, this novel observes the impact on the children of the parent’s obsession with creating a peculiar art form—elaborate tricks and scenarios played on people in public without their permission. The children are also ‘forced’ to participate in (and are crucial to) these “mischievous ‘happenings'” and it is this fact that the novel hinges on. This book explores the power and impact of parents over their children, issues of consent, (art) snobbery and this crazy world we live in. It’s one of the most unusually-themed contemporary books I’ve read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! A couple of non-fiction light reads: Genre: Easy Neuroscience! Buy on Bookshop 5) The Whole-Brain Child 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson I read this a few years ago, and have just picked it up to read again over the summer. It’s actually a small, lightweight book, super-easy to read and filled with stories and ideas to help us understand not how our brain works (it’s not just for parents!). So if you’re looking for a neuroscience primer, this is a good place to start. It helps us understand how our brain formed, what, when—and why. And it gives lots of practical scenarios and alternative, more constructive ways for dealing with those difficult situations with our children—and maybe our partners and family members too 😉 A great place to start to understand our brain with lots of tips and ideas! Genre: Memoir, Brain Science Buy on Bookshop 6) My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor Ph.D. This fascinating read is a Harvard Brain Scientist’s memoir of having a massive stroke, which heavily damaged the left hemisphere side of her brain. She describes in detail how it felt, her experience (blissful!) and then how she re-learned how to walk, talk, read and write over the next 8 years. It’s a terrifying and ultimately uplifting read about courage, determination and openness to a new way of being. Plus you’ll also learn a lot about the brain… A heavier non-fiction read if you’re looking for something serious: Genre: Sociology, Philosophy Buy on Bookshop 7) To Have or to Be? by Erich Fromm This is not a light read. I recently finished it, and because it’s deep and made me think so much I picked it up, on and off, over the course of a few months. Written in the mid-1970s, it’s astounding how much we still haven’t learned as a species. It seems that technology has only spun out and hidden the ways we are destroying the planet, ourselves and each other. Is this a depressing book? I don’t think so, as Erich offers many suggestions—foremost that we should focus on BEING, sharing, love and feeling instead of being driven by a need to HAVE or possess more (power or stuff). It’s a philosophical book. It’s a book about humans, capitalism, society, where we’ve gone wrong and what we could/should be doing. I found myself nodding along and getting fired up, underlining and adding frequent comments in the margin. If you want something a bit more challenging to read and that makes you think about our world—and how to BE in it—this could be for you. A bonus (and favourite) personal development recommendation: Genre: Personal Development Buy on Bookshop 8) The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By by Carol S. Pearson This is one of my all time all-time favourite personal development books—and that’s saying something as I’ve read hundreds! The hero’s journey was popularised by Joseph Campbell and explains the common themes, experiences, life stages and challenges we must all overcome. And in this book, Carol writes about the hero’s journey and explains 6 common archetypes (the Orphan, Innocent, Magician, Wander and Altruist) to helps us each figure out where we might be on life’s journey, what our challenges are and where we might focus next. Importantly, and unlike Joseph Campbell’s work (which I also love), it’s written for both sexes. This book helped me understand why I had been stuck in the past, gave me permission to BE where I was, as well as helping me figure out where next? Wrap-up So, what books are you reading? Which books on this list have you read or inspire you? Share your book thoughts & summer read recommendations in the comments below! Liked these Summer Read Recommendations? You may also like: 5 Questions to Have Your Kindest Summer Ever! (Infographic & Printable) 10 Beautiful Summer Journaling Prompts to Connect to Your Inner Wisdom! Curated Inspiration: Kindness, Passion & Fun from around the Web Change the world. Start with you! 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