3 great summer reads

Plus what I'm wearing to stay cool and books for Father's Day

Hey, readers!

I’m back in my reading groove after a few weeks of disruption. Between visiting family and putting together my Paperback Summer Reading Guide, my reading took a bit of a nosedive towards the end of May and is just now recovering. I read a few really good books this month and (even better!) I know exactly what book I want to pick up next so I think I’ll be able to avoid a full on reading rut.

I’ve also really been enjoying hearing what books you’ve picked up from my summer reading guide. If you post about them on Instagram, please tag me! Or feel free to shoot me an email to tell me your thoughts on the titles you read. It’s really gratifying to hear which of my book selections worked for you!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. We picked this work in translation as a Novel Pairings book for July because we had heard it was short, sweet, and summery. It is all of those things, but it’s also a deep book about grief and a heartfelt story about childhood and aging. I thought this book was exceptional, and I’m eager for you to hear my discussion with Chelsey, which will be available in your podcast players on July 6th. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. This sci-fi adventure was the summer read I didn’t know I needed. The book follows Ryland Grace who wakes up from a coma to find himself alone on a space ship with no idea what he’s doing there. As he pieces together his situation, we get flashbacks that help us understand his mission and fun science hijinks as he carries it out. For those of you who read Weir’s Artemis and kind of hated it, he very much redeems himself in this one. I think it’s best to go into this one totally blind and let Weir take you on the ride. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. I adored this memoir. While it’s primarily about Zauner’s experience of grief after losing her mother to stomach cancer, it’s also a book about food, home, family, and art. It touches on so many essential aspects of the human experience, while being uniquely specific to Zauner’s life and perspective. I went back and forth between the audio* (which is narrated by the author) and the print version because I really appreciated hearing Zauner tell her own story, but also wanted to see her beautiful language written on the page. Amazon | Bookshop

*You can support indie bookstores and get two Libro.fm audiobook credits for the price of one by using this link or entering code FICTIONMATTERS at checkout.

Now I’m reading…

  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. I put this one off because a YA book about a creature that hunts monsters just didn’t sound like my type of book. But it’s actually a poignant and timely allegory about a “post-racial” America, and I’m really enjoying it. Amazon | Bookshop

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. This classic suspense novel is the FictionMatters Book Club pick for June. I can’t wait to discuss it with the crew and for our watchalong of the Matt Damon / Jude Law film on Friday! There’s still plenty of time to join by signing up for Patreon! Amazon | Bookshop

Links I love.

Juneteenth, explained. A great read for this weekend.

Need a (super last minute) Father’s Day gift? Check out this list.

Find out what books your favorite authors are reading this summer.

10 road trip books.

I’ve been learning a lot more about Amy Tan this year, and I find her life infinitely fascinating. This is a great interview with Tan by Alexandra Chang.

3 Romances that Prove Love is Love is Love.

If you’re in cicada country, you might enjoy this cartoon about the literary appearances of this fascinating creature.

You can get 20% off a ton of Anthropologie home items right now. I’m eyeing this adorable apron, these colorful, mix-and-match outdoor dishes, and this tumbler.

Aerie is having a huge sale (30-40% off) on all of their super soft, Offline goods. Time to stock up on bras, tees, and leggings.

End notes.

Watching: Netflix released a bunch of Jeopardy! episodes so we’ve been making our way through those.

Listening: No One is Coming to Save Us. This is an extremely informative, horrifying, and depressing four part series about the problem of childcare and lack of parental support in the U.S. It’s been particularly interesting to listen to as a pregnant person and as conversations about declining birthrates in the U.S. are making the rounds in the news. It’s just so sad to think about everything my country could do for parents but refuses to! I do think this podcast is overproduced and the sponsorships can make the whole thing feel like an advertisement at times, but it is a really great overview of a critical issue.

Speaking of podcasts to make you mad, The Daily explainer about why billionaires don’t pay taxes was thorough, easy to understand, and infuriating.

Making: A summer recipe go-to: pesto pasta with goat cheese and whatever veggies sound best at the time.

Loving: A good friend of mine sent me an Oddbird robe and I am obsessed with it. It’s super cute and comfy. It’s also just the right weight for summer, although I definitely think I’ll be able to use it in every season. I wear my robe around the house constantly with my cheap Amazon pillow slides and I feel like the picture of summer comfort.

I bought myself some Align Shorts from Lululemon, and I’m so glad I did. They’re incredibly stretchy while still feeling supportive, and they’re exactly what I want to wear in the 90 degree Denver heat. I recommend always going up a size in Lululemon—I went up two because of the baby bump, but they’ll still fit just fine after baby. I like wearing them with a cute boxy tee or an oversized button-down to still feel put together. This Marine Layer dress is the other thing I’m wearing often to stay cool while feeling pretty.

Readers, I hope you’re finding your summer reading groove too. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!


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