Is there anything better than laying poolside or lakeside in the sunshine with a great book in hand? I honestly think that’s one of the best feelings in the world. If you’re not sure what to read and looking for some recommendations, this one is for you! My taste in books is a bit eclectic – you’ll find one’s that are quite popular and mainstream, a couple self-development (the counsellor in me has to include a recommendation or two of this nature), and the occasional wildcard (in this case, the most captivating cookbook – now there’s a category).
So without further ado, here is my list of books you’ll want to get lost in this summer
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
This is my favourite book I’ve read so far this year. It covers a number of complex topics: addiction, race, immigration, mental health, religion, and science; and covers them beautifully. I especially loved the way that Gyasi wrote about the main character’s experience of grappling with her faith and her love of science. If you had to choose one book from this list, this is the one I would recommend (but obviously I recommend them all).
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a book that I have revisited a number of times already. This one isn’t fiction; it’s reflections on art and creativity and I love the way Gilbert writes about those topics. If you are someone who is creative or someone who desires to tap into your own creativity more, I’d highly recommend this book.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Full disclosure: I haven’t quite finished this book but it’s my current read and I’m enjoying it enough to confidently add it to the list. This is a book about choices and regrets and it’s a captivating story. It’s a bit more fantasy-esque than I usually gravitate to but I’m really liking it.
It’s Not Always Depression by Hilary Jacobs Hendel
This is a recommendation from your friendly neighbourhood counsellor (that’s me, in case you’re new around here). This is one of my all-time favourite wellness-related books and one that has greatly impacted how I work with clients. This book looks at something called the change triangle which helps you learn how to feel your feelings, move through experiences of anxiety/stress/guilt/shame, and lower defenses that often arise. I’m currently on my third read of this book and can’t recommend it enough.
This book felt very… normal? I suppose that means it’s aptly named. I found myself interested in the story from beginning to end but it was also not the kind of book with major twists and turns. It’s a simpler form of writing but the characters are rich and complex. I found this book a bit sad and it left me feeling lots of things. This is the kind of book that once I finished it, I realized how impactful the story was by how much I was feeling. Not sure if that makes sense but nonetheless, I recommend!
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I just don’t understand how people can throw things together in the kitchen without following a recipe” then this book is for you. The first half of this cookbook talks about the four different elements of cooking (spoiler alert: they’re salt, fat, acid and heat). I’ve never really had an understanding of what makes something taste great (or not so great) until I read this book. I was truly captivated by the way Nosrat wrote and felt like I had taken a culinary course when I was finished reading.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I’m going to start this one off by giving a bit of a disclaimer: this book is heavy and if you find yourself feeling especially drained or emotionally fatigued at this time, then it’s not one that I would recommend reading right now. BUT that being said, this is one of the most powerful and impactful books I have ever read. It is beautiful, dark, tragic, hopeful and covers a wide range of topics such as addiction, abuse, friendship, mental health, growing older, and careers. It is a long read but one that I think is important and the writing has truly left a mark on my soul.
Happy reading! Xx