Summer Reads Make Us Feel Fine

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Whether you’ve escaped to the beach for a long getaway or are just taking the afternoon to visit your local park, if you’re like us, you know that nothing adds to the enjoyment of summer relaxation more than bringing along a good book.

Though summer is nearly over, there’s still time to get out and do some summer reading al fresco. Not sure what to read? Here are some of our favorite books that we read this summer.

Carolyn Purnell (Ghostwriter)

Daughters of Night, By Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Daughters of Night is a page-turner set in eighteenth-century London. After Caro Corsham stumbles across a woman’s body in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, she finds herself caught within a mystery that leads her to some of the most hidden—and dangerous—corners of society. Laura Shepherd-Robinson builds a beautiful, textured, and intriguing portrait of Georgian life and the gender politics of a fascinating era.

The Five, By Hallie Rubenhold

For almost 150 years, popular narratives have maintained that Jack the Ripper’s victims were prostitutes. Those same narratives have also tended to glorify a killer, instead of focusing on the women whose lives he stole. Rubenhold is a master, not only at storytelling, but also at navigating archives, and she has meticulously pieced together the truth about Polly, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine, and Mary Jane, who have been wrongly maligned. This book honors their lives and sets the record straight.

Aubrey Polliard (Book Coach)

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, By Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January follows January Jones as she discovers the power of stories. Harrow uses a unique voice and writing style that make the characters come alive. Her background as an ex-historian also weaves truth with fantasy in such a way that you half expect to turn around and find one of the shimmering doors that she writes about, just waiting to take you to another world.

Emily Bellanca (Executive Assistant)

True Story, By Kate Reed Petty

Though I technically read this book for the first time last summer, I’m sneaking it in because I only recently bought the paperback. True Story by Kate Reed Petty is a #MeToo-era book brimming with anger at rape culture and the way it ripples across the lives of those most impacted. I read it in a single, unexpected sitting and couldn’t stop thinking about it (especially the twist at the end!) for days afterward. Keeping in mind trigger warnings for descriptions of sexual assault and domestic violence, I highly recommend this book as a great example of the exciting work happening within #MeToo-era literature.

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score, By Cat Sebastian

For something lighter, I regularly keep a romance or two downloaded from the library on my phone for easy reading when I need to stop scrolling on Instagram. Most recently, I was thrilled to read A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian. It’s a really sweet hurt-comfort (TW: allusions to sexual coercion) story about two people figuring out how to carve out space- individually and as a couple – in spite of the systemic barriers that make doing so difficult. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough to fellow romance fans.

Robin Colucci (CEO)

We Keep the Dead Close, By Becky Cooper

First of all, I love a great murder mystery. So, that already had me hooked. The book was well-written and truly an excellent piece of investigative journalism. But what I really loved about this book was how it’s more than just a true-crime murder mystery. It was a great expose on sexism in academia, and, in particular, at Harvard. It shone a light on just how deep and pervasive sexism in academic environments is and how many women have been affected. This book also poses a challenge to how we narrate, examining how we interpret events and distinguish between fact and myth.

Dark Archives, By Megan Rosenbloom

A fascinating and illuminating narrative about the little-known phenomenon of books bound in human skin. While it seems grossly macabre on the surface, Rosenbloom unpacks the history of how these books came into being. At this point, the narrative expands to reveal certain aspects of the history of medical science and physician training, and theorizes on the origins of some of the less helpful attitudes doctors have towards their patients even today. As someone interested in books, history, and medical science, this book hit the trifecta for me.

Asia Small (Operations Manager)

Profit First, By Mike Michalowicz

This summer, my focus has been business development, so my favorite read this summer has been Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. He offers actionable tips and personal stories to help entrepreneurs turn their businesses from cash-eating monsters into profit-producing machines! Every chapter is an actual action step to complete before continuing, which made me want to do the work and not stay idle. And his humorous personal stories helped me identify with the author and feel understood!

The Bottom Line:

It’s not too late for some more great summer reading! Check out our team’s recommended favorites that we read this season.

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