A guide to traveling safely through stories…
As many of us slip into a summer unlike any other, it’s a nice reminder that books are our constant, and that we continue to afford us the escape, distraction and company that we so desperately crave.
Curating this particular must-read list is Megan Prokott, an avid reader who lives in Chicago with her husband and their dog, Watson. Megan grew up surrounded by books, and credits Dad and “Where The Wild Things Are” for stoking her love of stories at an early age.
Take note of Megan’s recommendations, and make time to get lost in a wondrous tale of your choosing.
For those who love no-filter humor:
“Wow, No Thank You” by Samantha Irby. This author is my absolute go-to when my attention span is short (thank you essay collections!) and I want to cackle with abandon. Irby is hysterical and is saying everything we’re all thinking about — getting too old to hit the clubs, enjoying food more than most other things. You may want to have her first and second books on deck for when you finish this one!
For the deep thinker and memory keeper:
“One Line A Day Journal.” I have kept one of these journals for many, many years. and I have gifted them more than most other things. It is so special to be able to look back on your life in one-sentence snippets and remember where you were today, four years ago. This journal is especially relevant now, as it’s likely we will be sharing the significance of this time forever.
For those who stayed up to watch the Royal Wedding:
“American Royals” by Katharine McGee. A fictional imagination of America had democracy never overtaken the monarchy, “American Royals” is a perfect escape into a reality-adjacent world of crowns, relationships, PR nightmares, and great responsibility.
For the thriller fanatic:
“A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson. This book follows a high schooler as she digs into the cold case that haunts her small town for her senior capstone project. I promise you will be compulsively reading by the halfway point to figure out the ending!
For the memoir lovers:
“PriestDaddy” by Patricia Lockwood. An absolutely hysterical, yet incredibly poignant book written by a woman who moves back into her parent’s house — with her husband — in her thirties. It’s the perfect book to reflect on adulthood and might be extremely relatable if you’ve been sheltering-in-place with family. *
*trigger warning for sexual assault
For the psychologists and eternal optimists:
“Joyful” by Ingrid Fetell Lee. This fascinating nonfiction book takes its readers through 8 pillars of joy, exemplifying how small changes in your physical environment is scientifically proven to make you happy!
For the checklist reader:
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. Kya has spent most of her life in the marshes of North Carolina, teaching and raising herself out of necessity. She’s misunderstood by most locals and, when one of their own turns up dead, they’re quick to accuse the “Marsh Girl.” This beautifully written mashup of genres is built on stunning imagery of the natural world and a unique coming of age story. It’s been nominated for many, many awards so you can check it off your list of Must-Reads!
For those who LOVE love (& miss traveling):
“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren. After a wedding and, honestly, a life riddled with unlucky coincidences, Olive finds herself one of the two sole wedding guests left standing after a bout of food poisoning and… on a plane to Hawaii next to her sworn enemy, Ethan. This book is one of the most fun contemporary romance books on the market and whisk you away to island life, if only temporarily. Pick it up immediately if you need something light and utterly heartwarming!
For the resident Sherlock Holmes:
“An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena. If you love Agatha Christie, or enjoy a rousing game of Clue, you will love this atmospheric thriller. Set in a snowy wood and featuring an eccentric cast of characters, you’ll be second-guessing your predictions the entire time!
“The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai. This book is simultaneously an education on the AIDS crisis in 1980s Chicago, and an incredible story of friendship through hardship and chosen families. It is my favorite book. You can easily identify with the characters, then move forward with empathy for your fellow humans.
Reading is a habit just like anything else. Be kind to yourself, feel empowered to try many books before you find the right one, and take it one page at a time.