Wow, I missed reading beyond the pages and pages of articles, textbook chapters, and academic essays for school. Here are the books that kept me busy this summer, followed by my own short evaluations of them. Let me know if you have any recommendations for what I should read next!
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I first saw this book on social media and didn’t think much of it until my therapist recommended it to me. My initial assumptions were proved wrong, as this book defied my every expectation and had me overflowing with emotions. Doyle has an incredible way of articulating herself that comes with just the right combination of honesty, humor, and hope, allowing her reader to take their own introspective journey with her. Definitely would recommend all of the women in my life to read this one.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
I broke all of my rules and watched the show (available on Hulu) before reading this one because my friend Tayler told me I “just needed to.” The story follows Marianne and Connell, two young adults from Ireland, as they navigate a complicated relationship which begins when the two are in secondary school together and continues through their time at Trinity College. I won’t spoil anything, but the ending really hits hard. I do think the audience gets a much better picture of each character’s inner thoughts with Rooney’s writing, but both the show and the book are worth your time in my opinion!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I devoured all 564 pages of this book in two days. Set during World War II, The Nightingale tells the story of Vianne and Isabelle Rossignol, sisters who are not only navigating their own family trauma, but also struggling to survive and resist the German occupation of France. It’s certainly an emotional rollercoaster of a novel, and Kristin Hannah leaves her reader with the reminder that hope and love exist even within tragedy and heartbreak. I will definitely be thinking about this one for awhile!
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This was another therapist recommendation—and I loved it. An American Marriage is, at its core, a love story, but it also poignantly addresses the enduring effects of injustice on Black Americans today. Jones’ writing is layered, nuanced, and captivating, and I couldn’t put it down. Again, I won’t spoil anything, but the ending is just… so satisfying. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to reading more of Tayari Jones’ work!
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Before I get into my thoughts on the book, I ordered this one from Turn the Page Movement, which is a collective that works with Source of Knowledge—one of two remaining Black-owned bookstores in New Jersey. Each month, Turn the Page picks a selection of Black-authored works for readers to order directly from Source of Knowledge, which TTP then directly sends to you—through the USPS I may add. They even sent me an email with supplementary resources to my reading! Thank you so much to my friend Mariana Gonzalez for introducing me to this organization.
This one was… incredible. I was hooked from the first word to the very last one and I would read it for the first time again if I could. Bennett has you believing one way, then takes you in another direction entirely, making a beautifully stitched storyline with character developments and depth to match. She explores race, gender, and identity, as well as how these intersect with each other in our own minds and how they affect us in the external world. The Vanishing Half is, simply put, a work of art, and you need to read this one for yourself.