At the beginning of 2018, I set out to be more intentional and organized with my reading habits. I decided to get a library card (best thing ever!), make a list of books I’d like to read, and record every book I can finish!
It’s been thrilling to look back over the past few months to see what I’ve read and how those stories have changed me.
Now you can read them, too!
I’ve put together my top picks from what I’ve read so far this year. Whether you’re headed to the beach, traveling across the ocean, hitting the road, or sightseeing at home, I’ve got a book perfect for your summer holiday. I’ve also included a few titles from my “unread” book list, just in case you’ve already poured through these titles.
I hope your summertime plans involve some form of rest, relaxation, and plenty of reading!
For your sandy vacations…
The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
Photo by @pagepalette
Often known as “Queen of Beach,” Mary Kay Andrews released yet another novel that should be considered an essential item in your beach bag this summer, The High Tide Club. Set on Talisa Island in Florida, the novels brings together a 99-year-old southern heiress and a young female lawyer over the story of a long unsolved murder. Grab this book and dive into stories of friendship, betrayal, romance, and justice served.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Photo by @fox_den_reads
Put on your sunscreen, kick up your feet, and get a little lost in Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. This #1 New York Times Bestseller involves an untimely death. Was it a tragic accident? Or was it murder? Throughout the novel, the lives of three women—Madeline, Celeste, and Jane—unfold to answer questions…and expose lies. When you’re done with the beach read, you can catch the incredible HBO miniseries, starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Photo by @nationalbookstore
I’m a firm believer in reading the book before the movie. Be sure to pick up Kevin Kwan’s novel, Crazy Rich Asians, before the film adaptation hits the big screen on August 17th. The first in a trilogy, Crazy Rich Asian is followed by China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. Kwan succeeds in producing a funny, romantic, and unpredictable novel that is perfect for your next trip to the beach. You’ll love the ins and outs of this fast-paced story of a New Yorker, Rachel Chu, traveling home to meet her boyfriend’s family in Singapore.
For your summer adventures…
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Photo by @saatva
To inspire your spirit of adventure, add The Mountain Between Us to your reading list this summer. As two strangers find themselves stranded in one of the country’s largest wildernesses , you’ll find yourself flipping pages faster than ever to see how they survive. The story of love, sacrifice, and survival is perfect for all your action-adventure traveling this summer. But, to fairly warn you, do not watch the newly released movie before you enjoy the novel. This is definitely a case where reading the book provides a much richer experience than seeing the movie.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Photo by @andreadardon
Earlier this year, I finished People of The Book, the mysterious and adventurous novel I had been searching for. As the reader, you witness the discovery of an ancient book that has traveled through many cultures fore generations. Hanna Heath, one of Australia’s experts on rare books, is awarded the task of uncovering the mysteries of this ancient text. As Hanna investigates the book’s history, Geraldine Brooks brings its ancient cultures and unheard stories to life. I enjoyed the way this novel transported me to so many periods and places, and I can’t wait to read more by Brooks like The Secret Chord and March.
For your summertime road trips…
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Photo by @scribd
The Leavers is up for all the awards from 2017, so you don’t want to miss this read. It’s recently been nominated for the 2017 National Book Award for fiction as well as being named Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, and more. Lisa Ko tackles topics like adoption, immigration, assimilation, and cultural preservation in her debut novel about a young Chinese boy separated from his mother. Make the most of your road trip this summer and be sure to bring along a copy of The Leavers.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Photo by @penguinrandomhouse
The time your GPS tells you it will take before you arrive at your final destination this summer will quickly pass with Behold the Dreamers, an Oprah Book Club pick, in hand (or on audio). Imbolo Mbue, another debut novelist, introduces his readers to the story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life for themselves in New York City. Mbue uncovers the hardships of immigration, marriage, life in a new culture, race, education, social standing, and more.
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
Photo by @katieb_reads
After reading this book in one day, I shared with all of my friends how Ruth’s story needed to be next on their list. So, as you travel down the road this summer, follow the story of Ruth Wariner’s transient life between rural Mexico and the United States in her personal memoir, The Sound of Gravel. She recounts the trials of growing up as the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. This gripping true story will leave you with a new perspective on childhood, family, loyalty, and love.
For your vacation that turns stay-cation…
Everybody, Always by Bob Goff
Photo by @leighsmith12
Quite often we make life way too complicated. Everything about Bob Goff’s newest book, Everybody, Always, is so simple. If you loved his previous book, Love Does, you will adore his newest book for all the same reasons. He tells you story after story of encountering love in the simplest and grandest of places. I have loved reading this book while being at home because it reminds me to reach out to my neighbors. The people who physically live in close proximity to me. We don’t have to travel the world to find someone looking to be loved. Usually, they’re just across the street.
The Lucky Few by Heather Avis
Photo by @inspirationchlothesline
Heather Avis opens up about her family’s journey of growth through adoption in her book, The Lucky Few. She confesses how the adoption, particularly of special-needs children, was not part of her original plan, but looking back she wouldn’t change a thing. Grab this quick read for the rainy days at home this summer and dive into the world of Heather Avis and her three kiddos. You will be blessed and encouraged by her vulnerability in telling you the whole story.
For Some End-of-Summer Inspiration
Imperfect Courage by Noonday Collection Founder Jessica Honegger
Available for Pre-Order Now and launching August 14!
In Jessica’s new book, she seeks to inspire women everywhere to get off their proverbial couches and “go scared” toward a life of impact and meaning! Jessica gives the reader a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Noonday Collection, from a tiny adoption fundraiser to a successful (and impactful!) business. If you’ve ever had a dream but were too scared to go for it, wondered what life as a CEO and mom looks life (the good, the bad, and the hilarious), or wanted to learn more about the impact Noonday Collection is making around the world and how you can be a part of it, this book is for you! Imperfect Courage is available for pre-order now and officially launches August 14!
For moving forward after summer ends…
These books have yet to be reviewed because this is the current collection of books on my “unread” book list.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
- Strangers in Budapest by Jessica Keener
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Shoot me a message on Instagram @_sarahgillette if you have strong feelings one way or the other about any of these titles!
Sarah Gillette has been a part of the Noonday Collection community for nearly two years and loves it more and more each day. If she’s not at home in Greenville, South Carolina, with her husband Wesley, she’s traveling to learn more about the world. Her cultural curiosity was only heightened after recently completing her Master’s in International Community Development. Sarah is more passionate than ever to teach women in America about the power they have to make an impact through their purchases and be an advocate for women in vulnerable communities around the world, because we’re truly better together.