It’s still summer, no matter how weird things are--and this calls for a summer reading list.
If this were a regular summer, we’d be on the beach reading the typical books meant for reading while lounging on the sand–we’re talking romance novels, romance novels laced with feminist themes, romance novels laced with women empowerment and oppression throughout the years, Ruth Bader Ginsberg biographies…the list goes on. And while we can’t sit around reading these captivating (and necessary) stories flanked by a beach umbrella, all of our friends, and general “regular life” (is this even a thing anymore? TBD) summer things, you can still read them, it’ll just have to be in your home. Here are some of our top picks for summer reading.
'The Hating Game' by Sally Thorne
This is the classic “they HATE each other…but, do they, really?” story reminiscent of a midsummer Hallmark movie. These two coworkers who are (obviously) up for the same promotion (classic) hate each other to the point where it’s like…hey, guys, why’re you SO focused on each other, hm? Do you really hate each other? This book has it all: Business! Love! Hate! If you’re looking for a workplace comedy revolving around the thin line between love and hate, this book is for you.
'99 Percent Mine' by Sally Thorne
This story is of a long-time crush that began in childhood and never really went away—unfortunately for Darcy, it’s a crush on her twin brother’s best friend, Tom, making him totally off-limits (for some reason). This changes, however, when the twins inherit a fixer-upper type cottage from their grandmother. And while Darcy doesn’t plan to stick around and fix it up, those plans change when Tom shows up to help flip the house—and he’s single. Darcy decides to stick around and help fix up the house after all…you know, just because.
'Bringing Down the Duke' by Evie Dunmore
In England, 1879, Annabelle doesn’t have much to her name but gets into the University of Oxford at the helm of the women’s suffrage movement anyway. To bring attention to their cause, they need people in power to help, so Annabelle focuses on a horrible duke wrapped up in a world of royal hierarchy and politics, who is uncaring about anything having to do with women’s suffrage. And yes, obviously the two wind up having feelings for each other while also hating everything about each other because of course they do.
'Tell Me How You Really Feel' by Aminah Mae Safi
Another classic story of hate-turned-into-love between two women on opposite sides of the social scale, this book revolves around Sana (a popular and beautiful cheerleader) and Rachel (an aspiring director). When Sana asks Rachel out, Rachel is angered and views it as a prank. However, it isn’t long before Rachel casts Sana in her senior project—because, dang it, she’s perfect for the role. Now the women must work together…and try not to fall in love.
'Well Met' by Jen DeLuca
Well, we got another one—that’s right, another love-hate romantic comedy. What can I say, I love a classic trope. In “Well Met”, Emily relocates to a small town and volunteers for the local Renaissance Faire…and falls for the annoying teacher in charge of volunteers, who also happens to be a part of the family who started the Faire itself (aka royalty, as far as this story goes). The two do not get along in real life, but in their Renaissance costumes, some flirting happens…so is it real? What is going on? Is this the summer that Emily falls in love at a literal Renaissance Faire?
'My Sister, the Serial Killer' by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oh dear, this book is a treat. We’ve got it all here, people—death! Love! Justice! Sisterly love! Ayoola is a serial killer who specifically destroys bad boyfriends. Her sister, Korede, although bitterly jealous of her sisters’ beauty, covers for her, constantly, in many ways, to the point where she is basically an accomplice (albeit an annoyed one). But what happens when they fall for the same man? And not just any man, but the man that Korede has been in love with for a very long time?
'Women and Power: A Manifesto' by Mary Beard
While we’re reading all of these catchy romance-driven novels about modern-day heroines, let’s throw a bit of cold hard facts into the mix as a little reminder of who we are, hm? In this manifesto, Beard discusses misogynists and trolls who attack and slander women all over the world, and she brings us back into history to see where this all began. Hint: It’s been going on since the beginning of time. History has long mistreated strong women, and Beard provides plenty of examples—from Medusa to Elizabeth Warren.
'Ruth Bader Ginsburg' by Jane Sherron De Hart
A book 15 years in the making, supported by Ginsburg, herself, and based on interviews with her and her close circle of family and friends, this is the most comprehensive book about the full life of the incredible Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 107th Supreme Court Justice. It spans from her long days at James Madison High School in Brooklyn through university and law schools to all aspects of her legal career (and all of the personal struggles in between), and leaves barely anything to the imagination. This book brings you the full RBG story—every single detail about a true modern-day hero in the vein of women’s rights and beyond.
'Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger' by Soraya Chemaly
The summer is the perfect time to read about cutesy romances and it’s also the perfect time to learn about how it’s been ingrained in women, generally, to bottle up their anger (and other emotions), sometimes for the entire duration of their lives. But, consider this: What if feeling these emotions was actually…okay? What if, stay with me here, even feeling anger was necessary because the anger stems from actual, real places? This book explains, quite eloquently and calmly, the importance of anger, and how it actually can lead to solutions. Anger is the beginning of change.
'Heartburn' by Nora Ephron
This is a true classic, and no summer romance reading list would be complete without a little Nora Ephron. Somehow she managed to write a hilarious book about a marriage breaking up—a true feat, especially since it involves our heroine, Rachel, finding out about her adulterous husband seven months into her pregnancy. How can this be funny, you ask? It just is—it’s Nora, what do you expect?