Whether lounging on a sunny beach or tucked safely into bed, books give us a chance to truly relax and escape the business of our modern lives. Calling all avid and occasional readers! We’ve curated the following list for all you:

Fiction:

Delia Owens: Where the Crawdads Sing

This tragic-yet-beautiful coming-of-age story features “Marsh Girl” Kya, whose mysterious existence as an inhabitant of swampland on the North Carolina coast makes her the target of suspicion when a murder occurs. The home she knows offers her lessons and friends, and as she develops a curiosity for human touch and connection, she becomes vulnerable to the townspeople returning her curiosity. A murder mystery, ode to nature, and tale of youth combines in this scintillating read.

Octavia E Butler: Parable of the Sower

Lauren Olamina is the star of this page-turner scifi pick that starts with a world descending into anarchy and chaos. As a hyper-empath, our hero is especially vulnerable, and when her family is devastated in a fire that destroys her Los Angeles compound, she’s forced into a world that is fraught with danger. Along with other refugees, she manages to thrive under pressure, devising a clever and revolutionary plan to create a better future for humankind. Gloria Steinem wrote the introduction to this futuristic classic that’s the first of a series, and quickly catching up to real time.

Chandler Baker: Whisper Network

Did you love the movie Nine to Five? A nod to the “Me Too” era, this novel features a storyline similar to the second-wave film starring Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin. 

Feminists outnumber the patriarch slotted to be next in line for the corporate throne in Whisper Network, and whispers of malice are ignored no longer in this empowering and relatable read that’s rich with dynamic female characters.

Starhawk: The Fifth Sacred Thing

Author of The Spiral Dance and other beloved texts, Starhawk is a legendary teacher, well-known in Pagan, occult, and goddess circles. This epic tale of love and war is centered around her earth-centered teachings, and has been praised as “wisdom trapped in drama.”

Anyone suffering from eco-anxiety will feel nourished and empowered (not to mention hooked and entertained), as will witchy types, activists, scifi fans, and the metaphysically curious.

Non-fiction:

Alan Downs: The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World

While it’s true that social progress continues, and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community and culture continues to swell, the nuances of being “gay in a straight world” can still be very painful to navigate. 

The Velvet Rage is nonfiction read that’s an appropriate companion to a relationship with a therapist, a dreaded trip to visit family, morning affirmations, etc. Anyone working to make sense of the feelings assocaited with “coming out” as gay will appreciate this insightful and validating read.

Adrienne Maree Browne: Pleasure Activism

Does it feel as though life is all work and no play at the moment? Is your erotic nature/sexuality/sensuality in need of some healing and attention? Does your activism need to feel better in your body? 

Pleasure Activism centers women and queers of color, offering an intimate collection of articles, poems, and interviews will have you yearning keep your nose firmly planted in this delicious, indulgent, and healing title. Anyone struggling to learn what “self-love” even means will need to pick this book up immediately.

Brene Brown: Dare to Lead

Brene Brown has taken the self-help section by storm, with incredible bestsellers that include Daring Greatly and Braving the Wilderness

Her latest is a wholehearted dive into the dynamics of leadership, and what exactly makes a great leader great. As we gear up for election season in the USA, Dare to Lead explores the leadership mindset at its finest, healthiest, most open and inspiring.

Memoir and  Biography:

Michelle Obama: Becoming

There is hardly a more graceful example of leadership than Michelle Obama’s legacy as First Lady of the United States. 

Her memoir is riveting and in-depth, beginning with her childhood upbringing in the South Side of Chicago, to her powerful advocacy for women and girls, to her experience as the most inclusive and welcoming host of the White House in history. Feed your brain this empowering read to inspire a boost of optimism and self-confidence.

Tara Westover: Educated: A Memoir

Autobiographical author Tara Westover takes her readers into the timeline of her upbringing—one that’s heavy with injuries never remedied due to beliefs that restricted the family from having health insurance or entering a medical facility. In addition to refusing Western medicine, Tara’s mentally struggling parents also forbade their offspring access to schools, a right our author determines to access in defiance of her family. Prepare to find it hard to put this considerably outrageous story down. 

Crystal Rasmussen: Diary of a Drag QueenThis thrill of a read is an authentic peer into a queer experience that’s postitively packed with action. With a full face of makeup, our heroine finds herself sprinting from adventure to adventure as she searches for “the one” amidst weight fluctuations, sexcapades, and adventures in ridiculous overspending.

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