Summer Reading List 2021

If you have some trips to the beach planned (or just your pool) here's what I've read lately that I highly recommend.  The last couple years I've come up with a good system for how I pick books to read:  every year Goodreads, a website I use to keep track of all the books I read (I read 26 books last year and 20 so far this year). They do a Best Books of the year awards voted on by readers in December. The books are separated into categories and I will read the top rated books in Fiction, Mystery and Historical Fiction. I also read all of Reese Witherspoon's bookclub picks. By doing this I'm reading books I wouldn't have picked myself, but every single one has turned out interesting and worth the read. This year she is picking only new releases. The first week of July I took a staycation and spent a lot of time in my pool reading books. 


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

My first audiobook of the year was rated the best fiction book for 2020 by goodreads readers. This book was such a cool concept! The main character is full of regrets in her life and ends up in a magical library where she gets to try all the other lives she could have lived in parallel universes if she had made different decisions in life. The book was beautifully written and I enjoyed the audio read in a British accent.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

This was almost a tie in being rated best fiction book of 2020 by goodreads readers.  I loved another book by this author - A Man Called Ove - which is now a movie. Anxious People is a locked room mystery as in everyone is trapped in one room and has to solve the mystery that happened.  The story switches back and forth from present to past with a dozen characters. I listened to the audiobook which distinguished the characters by different voices. It's a light hearted comedy and about being human with a quirky vibe.

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

A Reese Withersoon bookclub pick, is the story of modern day Ghanaian woman who ends up in an arranged marriage that she discovers is polygamous. It was an entertaining story that I couldn't put down. The depictions of many things reminded me of the time I spent in Ghana.

Historical Fiction

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This historical fiction was the "it" book of 2020 so I had to read it to see what all the buzz was about. The novel is a multi-generational saga from the 1940s to the 1990s of two light-skinned  twin sisters from Louisiana. One twin vanishes and decides to pass as white  and so the story chronicles their lives and that of their daughters  and how they dealt with colorism, classism, identity, loneliness and racism. The book had surprises  I didn't see coming and profound thoughtfulness. It gave insight into a number of important topics. HBO is going  to make an adaption of the book into a limited series.

Chanel Cleeton wrote four books in the series, but each book is a stand alone story featuring a family member of a different generation from the same family. I started reading all her books after my trip to Cuba. 

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

I loved the author’s two other books so I couldn’t to wait to read this one and it didn’t disappoint. I read it in 3 days because I was so engrossed in the story! I appreciated learned about the 1935 hurricane and railway in Key West, a town I have once visited. Usually when I read a story told by different perspectives I favor and dislike reading one person but this time I liked all three ladies stories and couldn’t wait to discover how they connected.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
This book features three courageous female characters in the late late 1890s in New York and Cuba who fought for freedom. I learned a lot about the Cuban War of Independence from Spain in 1895. 

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Having been to India 3 times, I read this book in one day! The story takes place in the 1950s in the pink city of Jaipur. It follows the career of Lakshmi, a henna artist for rich omwne, and her life as a sinle woman who fled her arranged marriage. The layered story coveres topics of the caste system, food, ceremonies, vivid details of saris and holistic healing. The book absorbs you in the rich and colorful descriptions of the sights and sounds of India including visits to the Maharaja. The author gives a list of characters on the first page which I loved! I always have to create that myself on a piece of paper as I read books. This is a Reese Witherspoon bookclub pick. 

The Secret Keeper in Jaipur by Alka Joshi

The sequel to the Henna Artist did not disappoint! I love reading stories about history, culture, and customs. The book takes place in 1969 and centers around the tragedy of the newly constructed theater in Jaipur wholse balcony collapses. The book is filled with vivid scenes of India and is rich in detail. I can't wait for the third book and TV series! 

Related Posts:

Books by Black Authors

What I've Been Reading Lately

Summer Reading List

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