At the beginning of this year, I was gung-ho about starting a Lemon Stripes book club. I love following along with other bloggers who do them, and I couldn’t wait to discuss the books I was reading with you in a new way. But, to be totally honest, it made reading feel like work. I felt pressure to read at a certain speed and it took the fun out of one of my favorite parts of the day. And one of the only parts of my day that truly relaxes me and helps me sleep.
A lot of my life is documented online but reading is one of those sacred activities in my life where it’s just for me. There is no pressure. It always calms me down, and I can’t imagine a life without books.
So I’ve decided to go back to my original format of sharing the books that I’ve read and loved every few months. And here are the top 5 books I read this summer in order of how much I liked them.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo: A+
There are not enough words to describe what I felt in reading this book. I finished it a few nights ago and am still thinking about it. I had no idea what I was getting into so it was a bit of a shock to realize that it was a non-fiction book written by a journalist who followed the stories of three women from different areas of the country with very different backgrounds and their sex lives. She writes about the way that their desires took over their lives, not necessarily in a good way. It is a story of emotional power and the way women experience that. I cannot recommend this book more highly. I’m not usually a big fan of non-fiction books but I absolutely could not put this one down because each of the three stories drew me in as if it was a novel. If you’re not cool with pretty graphic sex scenes though, skip this book.
Normal People by Sally Rooney: A
I read this book on many recommendations and am very glad I did. It was a quick read but really well written and very intelligent without being too heady. I was sucked into this story of young love and loved her sparse writing style that made me feel like I was in the book watching the characters live their lives. Set in Ireland, the book follows two teenagers, Connel and Marianne as they begin to connect in high school and later fall in love again in college. No matter what happens in their lives, they always seem to find their way back to each other. It’s the perfect mix of beautiful and dark. Normal People was a great read.
Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe by Laura Lynne Jackson: A (so far)
I have always been fascinated by spirits and signs from the other side. I just started psychic-medium Laura Lynne Jackson’s incredible book that features story after story from her own life and the lives of other real people that will make anyone a believer. Jackson is able to communicate with loved ones who have passed and she helps us, as readers, recognize and interpret the life-changing messages from our own loved ones and spirit guides on the “Other Side” as she refers to it. If you’re at all interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend it. I’m about a quarter of the way through and can’t put it down.
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman: B
I thought that Something in the Water would be a good beach read for our vacation last month and I wasn’t wrong. This thriller starts as a couple from London travel to Bora Bora for their honeymoon. While they’re on a scuba diving excursion, they discover something in the water (get it?) that changes their lives forever. I can’t tell you much else without giving away the story but you watch this couple covering their tracks and making tons of mistakes along the way. They get into some majorly sticky situations and way over their head. It’s a quick read and a fun one.
Verity by Colleen Hoover: B-
This will be the most intense book you read all year, I can pretty much guarantee that. If you just had a baby or are experiencing PPD or PPA, do NOT read this book. Trust me. It’s hard to fully explain what it’s about without telling you too much but the general premise is that a young writer, Lowen, gets chosen to finish a popular book series by an author named Verity who has barely survived a car accident. Before the accident, Verity lost both of her twin daughters, one after another. Lowen moves into the family home to go through Verity’s notes and finds her autobiography that is filled with dark and graphic secrets about herself and her family. She learns more and more terrible things about Verity as she feels more and more feelings for Verity’s husband, Jeremy.
I knew there was going to be a big twist but I couldn’t figure out what it was even though I tried to guess dozens of times! This is one of those books that will have your heart racing from start to finish and you won’t be able to get it out of your head for a good week. I gave it a B- even though I enjoyed reading it because it was just a little too intense for me. I love a good thriller but this one crossed the line for me personally.
Next on my list?
I plan to finish Signs and then start My Friend Anna. I have been obsessed with Anna Delvey’s story and can’t wait to dig in and learn more about it. Apparently, I’m on a non-fiction kick right now. After that, American Royals is on my list which I’ve been wanting to read since Grace recommended it. Remember you can always find my book recommendations and other Amazon picks on my Amazon shop.
What’s next on your reading list? And what did you think of my 5 summer picks if you read any of them?
Photo by Julia Dags.
Three Women was the best book I have read this year. I second the recommendation!
Try Beneath A Scarlett Sky and Ask Again, Yes… both amazing reads!
YES! Beneath a Scarlett Sky is one of my favorites. If you love WWII books, read this post I wrote about all of my top picks: https://lemonstripes.com/lifestyle/6-wwii-novels/
Grabbing Signs thanks to you…mwah. xx
You will either be floored… or think I’m a total looney toon!
I totally agree that a book club can take the fun and joy out of reading. I am a slow reader, haha, so actual structured book clubs were challenging for me. My cousin and I have a “bookclub” where we just pick a book, and read. We can take as long as we need to finish, and along the way, and when we are both done we discuss over wine! We do not pressure each other to finish if one finishes way before because we are both busy humans! It has worked, and in a way encouraged each other to keep reading without feeling like we have a deadline to get to!!
I love that idea. I’m totally starting that with my sister too 🙂
Hi Julia, I’m excited to put Three Women on the top of my list!
Also wondering the other podcast you mentioned in stories the other day besides bad on paper.
I’m excited for you to read it! Armchair Expert (Dax Shepard’s podcast) is the other one I listen to regularly. It’s surprisingly smart and interesting.