Nothing beats laying out in the sun with a good book. Whether you are looking for a quick, light romance or a gripping nonfiction, this list covers it all! Take a look at some of the great books recommended by TDS associates.
Alaska Wild Series by Paige Shelton
Genre: mystery, published: 2019-2021
Recommended by Darcy
For those of you who are big fans of enthralling mysteries, the “Alaska Wild” series is sure to interest you! This thriller follows the story of Beth Rivers, a famous novelist who became a victim of stalking and kidnapping at the hands of a crazed fan named Levi Brooks. Following her brave escape, Beth disappears to a remote Alaskan town, where she now faces a new set of problems.
On why she suggested this series, Darcy said, “This series has a great cast of characters. There is an overall mystery that evolves from book to book which is really interesting. Each book has its own individual mystery, and it keeps me wanting to read more.”
Darcy also recommends the 14-book “Barbara Holloway” series by Kate Wilhelm. This series of legal dramas follow a defense attorney “who champions the underdog.”
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Genre: romance, published: 2022
Recommended by Beth
If an enemies-to-lovers arc is your cup of tea, you will love Emily Henry’s “Book Lovers.” When literary agent Nora Stephens visits a small, coastal town with her sister Libby, she keeps bumping into her literary nemesis, Charlie Lastra. As the two continue to meet, again and again, they realize that maybe they have more in common than they initially thought.
Beth said this about the book: “I loved the characters. This book has raw emotion in it that genuinely hits you in the gut, but it is also funny. You are totally transported to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, and everything in your normal life seems to fade away while you are reading.”
Some other titles Beth recommends include “Dial A for Aunties” and “Four Aunties and a Wedding” by Jesse Q. Sutanto, as well as “Finlay Donovan Is Killing It” and “Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead” by Elle Cosimano. Other authors that Beth suggests are Simone St. James, Samantha Downing, Megan Goldin, and Shari Lapena.
Although Ren loves anything by Sarah J. Maas, including the popular Throne of Glass series, their favorite series by her is A Court of Thorns and Roses. “It is so good that the creator and director of Outlander got together with Sarah J. Maas and Hulu to make it into a show,” they said.
A retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” this series follows Feyre Archeron, a young, mortal huntress after she is brought to the magical land of Prythian for killing a faerie wolf. Imprisoned as punishment for her crime, Feyre is forced to adjust to life in the mystical faerie realm with Tamlin, her beastlike captor. Mixed with politics, passionate romances, and elements of high fantasy, this series is sure to keep you on your toes.
Calling all Fleetwood Mac fans—this is the perfect book for you! “Daisy Jones & The Six” follows the whirlwind rise and mysterious fall of the fictional rock band from the 1960s and 70s. Daisy Jones is a talented, albeit misguided, singer living in Los Angeles. Headed by a reformed Billy Dunne, The Six quickly gains traction but is still missing that spark. When the two forces work together, they make history.
Celia had this to say about the book: “I absolutely loved how fleshed out these characters were, and it was easy to put myself in their shoes. This book perfectly captures the intrigue of the 1970s rock band, while still touching on important themes such as addiction, domestic struggles and the downsides of fame. It’s hard to believe Daisy Jones & The Six is a fictional band!”
Educated by Tara Westover
Genre: memoir, published: 2018
Recommended by Missy
In this evocative memoir, Tara Westover recounts her experience grappling with her survivalist family who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her desire to earn an education. Containing themes of family conflict, perseverance and the importance of education, this memoir is sure to keep you glued to the pages.
On why she enjoys this book, Missy said, “I read this book a few months ago, but it has really stuck with me. Although it’s a memoir, it almost reads like fiction because her story is quite a wow. The author was raised by survivalist parents of the church who refused to send her to school, but she eventually became a Cambridge scholar. There’s a lot to chew on here about parental and sibling ties, relationships, education, and pursuing your dreams. Her story is at once heartbreaking, heartwarming, fascinating, and inspiring.”
Missy also recommends “Dune” by Frank Herbert and “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond. For some lighter reading, she enjoys anything by Janet Evanovich.
A mix between a traditional self-help book and a personal journal, this book allows readers to document their growth as they read. At various points throughout the book, readers are asked to reflect on their behaviors, identity, goals, and principles through a series of questions. According to Sarah, “Derrick has been doing a daily video on D-Live and other social media platforms to go along with the different chapters of this book, and it has been very enlightening and encouraging.”
“This is a short yet empowering self-help book/workbook to help you examine, identify, and implement goals that align with your true purpose,” Sarah said. “Learning how to live in alignment with one’s values, purpose, and goals is so important.”
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Genre: historical fiction, published: 2020
Recommended by Cheryl
A tale of two unlikely friends who embark on an adventure across the world, this book is sure to make you smile. If you are looking for a light-hearted read with themes of discovery and friendship, then this is the perfect choice for you!
About this historical fiction novel, Cheryl said, “I loved this book with great character development. It is set in 1950 in London, where the country and its citizens are still recovering from World War II. Margery Benson, a schoolteacher, is trying to get through life. One day, she reaches her breaking point, quits her job and sets out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind. Fun-loving Enid Pretty seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together these two British women find themselves crossing the ocean to New Caledonian in search of a tiny insect.”
The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman
Genre: historical nonfiction, published: 2022
Recommended by Mark
Chuck Klosterman’s “The Nineties” is “a wise and funny reckoning with the decade that gave us slacker/grunge irony about the sin of trying too hard, during the greatest shift in human consciousness of any decade in American history.” Detailing significant historical events and pop culture phenomena, this book is sure to teach you something interesting.
On why he recommends this book, Mark said, “It’s a really fascinating and entertaining look at 1990s culture. It’s much more than just a nostalgia trip—it really dives deep into how things appeared at the time, goes in directions you may not expect, and offers unique commentary.”
Andy Greene takes “The Office” fans behind the scenes of their favorite sitcom with this oral history of the show. “Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.”
Lou had this to say about the book: “I’m a huge fan of the show and this book provides so much more life to our favorite Pennsylvania regional midsize paper company. Andy Greene includes so many stories from so many voices you’re guaranteed to find out new tidbits about the greatest sitcom of the 2000s.”
Lou also suggests checking out “Yearbook”—a collection of hilarious stories by famous comedian Seth Rogen that contains mature themes.
Runaway by Alice Munro
Genre: fiction, published: 2004
Recommended by Barbara
“I am also a mostly nonfiction science buff reader,” Barbara said. “To be really captivated by good fiction, I highly recommend a couple of authors who write excellent short story fiction.”
“Runaway” is a collection of eight short stories about love, womanhood, and the downsides of the two. The title story follows a woman named Carla as she contemplates leaving her stagnant marriage. The following stories feature different conflicts but touch on similar themes of unhappiness, longing, and self-discovery. According to Barbara, “Runaway examines the lives of Canadian women throughout the last century and sheds light on the tensions and challenges of gender in modern life.”
Barbara is also a fan of “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri—a collection of short stories about the lives and culture of Indian Americans.
For those of you who are history buffs, this dual biography is a perfect choice. Subverting the notions many of us have about the two civil rights leaders, this book raises important questions about American democracy and the struggle for freedom.
“Historically we have very specific pictures painted of Dr. King and Malcolm X., but their stories are so much more complex,” Mindy said. “The book does a great job of walking through their biographies and political and religious ideology and discussing where they were similar and where they differed. I enjoyed seeing a deeper side of their stories and seeing where their ideologies crossed paths in ways many didn’t realize.”
Mindy also recommends “Love That Story” by Queer Eye personality Jonathan Van Ness, “How to be Less Stupid About Race” by Crystal Marie Fleming, and “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask” by Anton Treuer.