What is there not to love about summer? Between summer Fridays, warm skies, and the promise of a beach or pool day, sometimes we wish this time was forever. But is it really the weather that we love or the leisure time? Whether you’re taking a road trip or just looking for reassurance during the difficult 20-somethings, we have compiled 10 books that you have to read this summer. There is something for everyone so if you’re into inspirational memoirs, political tales, stories of love and loss, and most importantly finding mindfulness in your everyday life, this list is for you!
1. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
According to DoSomething approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and over 58% of college-aged women feel the pressure to be a certain size. Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger dives deep into her journey with food and self image and learning how to love herself again. This book is perfect because as we go into “summer body season” it is so important to love oneself. This book reminds us to take an introspective look at how we discuss weight and self image in society.
2. Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures by Jennifer Romolini
In your 20-somethings you’re either plagued by finding a job or stuck in a rut and looking for a way out. Romolini’s honest guide dives deep about how she went from a broke, divorced, college dropout to running some of the top websites in the world. This book is perfect because it’s not just a straightforward how-to career memoir. This book pulls from real life struggle and Romolini reminds us all that even when the odds are stacked against you, it is still possible to push through and go after what you want.
3. You are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
If you were a fan of Jen Sincero’s first novel You are a Badass then you are definitely going to love her follow up piece! This entertaining step by step on how to overcome fears that keep us out of financial success give us permission to make the money we want. Drawing from her own experience Sincero includes relatable anecdotes of a dry bank account and living off of Taco Bell. This novel filled with personal essays and concepts will inspire you take charge and become a badass when it comes to making money.
4. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock
Isn’t your 20’s all about finding your purpose and place in the world? Mock takes us on a journey that begins before her 20th birthday as she is adjusting to her new life as a first generation college student. As we follow Mock through her disadvantages in love, living away from home and life, we can relate to her dreams and drive. But also her story adds nuance as she builds a career in the magazine publishing world while being trans, a woman, and a person of color. This books shows us the girl before she became one of the most respected media figures and social justice advocates.
5. Dare to Be Kind by Lizzie Velasquez
YouTube personality and motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare genetic condition and at the developmental age of 17 years old she ran across a viral video entitled “World’s Ugliest Woman”. Instead of letting the video discourage her, she now investigates the source of bullying and uses her platform to speak up for victims everywhere. In this inspirational book Lizzie talks about the forces that perpetuate self-hatred, shame and cruelty and forces us to look deeply to unlock empathy and kindness. This book forces us to come face to face with anxiety, disappointment and most importantly, finding the strength to overcome obstacles.
6. Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor and the Battle over Civil Rights by Steven Levingston
The novel Kennedy and King goes back to 1960 and discusses the powerful impact that these great leaders had on one another. These two men, from different worlds, grew together in the fight for civil rights and ultimately a commitment to equality. As the US still grapples with the conversation of race relations and discrimination, this dense read is perfect for those history or social justice buffs looking to expand their scope of knowledge.
7. Boss Bitch: A Simple 12 Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career by Nicole Lapin
According to bestselling author Nicole Lapin you don’t need hundreds of employees to be a boss. All you need to do is channel your inner savvy and ambitious self and most importantly own it. In this book you will learn the steps needed to be the boss of you and learning to seize the power to believe in yourself.
8. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
Coming from a shy childhood where she struggled to hide her larger figure, to developing into an adult that goes head to head with stand-up comedians over rape jokes, Lindy West has become somewhat of an accidental activist. She turns her life stories into funny anecdotes while still being vulnerable with her readers. This novel is perfect for those that can relate to being silence but wanting to live a bold life.
9. The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs
Deemed “Most Anticipated Summer Reading Selection” by The Washington Post, Glamour, Vulture, InStyle and more The Bright Hour is a memoir about how to love and live with “death in the room”. The direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs just 37 is diagnosed with Breast Cancer. A year later the mother of two sons age seven and nine, and married to her best friend of sixteen years finds out the Cancer is terminal. As she explores motherhood, marriage, friendship, and the legacy of her great, great, great grandfather, most importantly Riggs grapples with the question: What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?
10. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Best selling authors of Lean In and Originals, Sandberg and Grant come together to talk about finding joy after the sudden death of her husband. Combined with psychologist Adam Grant’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity, and Sandberg’s personal insights, this novel is meant for those that don’t have an Option A. This novel goes beyond the scope of loss to explore hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war and reveals how the human spirit can persevere and rediscover joy again.