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12 Perfect Summer Reads

Grace Rose Farm

July 30, 2021

By Christine Chitnis

Let's talk books, my favorite subject in the world (besides roses, of course!). I am a voracious reader, devouring upwards of 100+ books a year. Reading is my preferred form of stress relief. Between work and parenting my three young kids, I'm often asked how I find the time to read. Here's my trick: once the kids are in bed I quickly finish up the housework, turn off my phone, and get right into bed with my book. Since my kids go to bed at around 8pm, this gives me an uninterrupted two hours of reading before I fall asleep. The key is to turn off the phone because otherwise it's tempting to do a bit of Insta scrolling or catch up on just a fewwork emails!

Because of my obsession, I'm often asked for book recommendations, so I've rounded up a few of my favorites to share with you here (P.S. Click on the book covers to shop!):

Beach Reads:

I'm captivated by smartly written, emotionally driven dramas that explore what it means to be human. So these aren't necessarily "light and beachy" but I promise they will keep you on the edge of your beach chair!

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious, this book follows the life of Martha, who is struggling and can't quite figure out why. If you've ever loved someone dealing with depression, this book is a must read. It doesn't shy away from the real struggle of mental illness, but it does so with humor and hope.

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is an exception for me in that it is a light, frothy, totally addictive beach read! Whenever a friend is going on vacation and asks for that one book they should pack for the beach, this is my top recommendation. The story follows the rise of a rock band in the 1970's and their gorgeous lead singer. Very Almost Famous / Fleetwood Mac vibes, and I love it. Reid has the hot beach read of this year with Malibu Rising, but Daisy Jones & The Sixremains my favorite.

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

A haunting mystery set in California and centered around missing person detective, Anna Hart. This book does address trauma and childhood assault, so be forewarned. But it is a gripping and strongly written mystery, and I couldn't put it down.

What Comes After by Joanna Tompkins

A shocking death rips through a small community in the Pacific Northwest and this hauntingly beautiful novel explores 'what comes next' as the characters grapple with the chain of events that led to the unspeakable tragedy.

Nonfiction Reads:

The amount of fiction books I read greatly outweighs the nonfiction books in my stack. However, these four (very different) nonfiction books were some of my instant favorites over the past year.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Lori Gottlieb is a Los Angeles based therapist who finds herself in need of a therapist after a major life crisis. Enter Wendell, a quirky, highly-experienced therapist. The book alternates between Gottlieb’s sessions with her clients, and her own sessions with Wendell. It sounds cliche, but this book had me laughing to the point of tears, and then bawling my eyes out in the next chapter. Although it is a deeply personal look at therapy, the lessons are universal.

What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer

I'm going to admit that I don't like poetry. I know, I know....but honestly, I've never been able to submerge myself in poems the way I can with a beautifully written work of fiction. But along came Kate Baer's book and I found myself completely captivated by her poetry, which explores what it means to be a woman, mother, partner, and friend. Her poem, Like a Wife (, is a national treasure.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

This novel is based on a viral 2018 New Yorker essay by the same name in which indie rockstar, Michelle Zauner reflects on her upbringing as a Korean American and the loss of her mother. Zauner is a gifted writer, especially when it comes to her memories around food, and although her grief is raw, she beautifully shares her story.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer is both a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and in this gentle, beautiful book, she brings together her experiences to share the lessons offered to us by earth and her inhabitants; plants and animals. She encourages us to explore what it means to live in gratitude to the earth and in harmony with the living world. I often read a chapter at a time and frequently revisit my favorite quotes, always keeping it by my bedside.

Forever Favorites:

These books, many of which are award winning (we're talking Booker Prize and Pulitzer Prize), are some of my all-time favorite works of fiction. In my eyes, they are classics that deserve a spot on everyone's bookshelves.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different Ghanaian villages in the eighteenth-century, and this breathtaking novel follows their families over the next three hundred years. The writing is as heart wrenching as it is beautiful, and the story and characters will captivate you from the first page.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. So begins this moving book that somehow manages to be both a gripping mystery and deeply sensitive family drama. Celeste Ng is one of my favorite authors and I will always read everything she writes, but this book is her best.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

A vibrant, witty, glorious novel that celebrates modern Britain and black womanhood by tracing the stories, struggles and joys of twelve different characters whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. I could have easily read an entire novel about each of the twelve characters. I was left wanting more, but in the best way possible!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

There are so many works of fiction set during World War II, but none are as exquisite as this one. The story moves between a blind girl in Nazi occupied Paris and a young orphan boy growing up in Germany, and brings us to a point when their paths collide.

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