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Top 5 Books of Summer 2023
Top 5 Books of Summer 2023

Top 5 Books of Summer 2023

Top 5 Books of Summer 2023

As mentioned in my Spring Book Recommendation post back in June, my goal this year is to read and listen to a total of a 120 books in 2023. At that point I was a little ahead of my goal, however since then I have fallen behind.

During the summer, I do a lot more reading and less listening since I am not commuting back and forth to work. Although, I consumed fewer books, many of them were great. These are my top 5 books of summer 2023.

Top 5 books of summer 2023
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Summer Reading!

July

  • The Celebrants – Steven Rowley
  • Mrs. Queen Takes the Train – William Kuhn
  • Superlife – Darin Olien
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
  • The Rosie Result – Graeme Simsion
  • A Very Typical Family – Sierra Godfrey
  • Have I Told You This Already? – Lauren Graham
  • The Painted Girls– Cathy Marie Buchanan

August

  • Pineapple Street – Jenny Jackson
  • How to Stop Time – Matt Haig
  • These Precious Days – Ann Patchett
  • Quit Like a Woman – Holly Whitaker
  • Heat Wave – Nancy Thayer
  • The Good Life -Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, PhD

September

  • Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner
  • Financial Feminist – Tori Dunlap
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
  • Time Squared – Lesley Krueger
  • Demon Copperhead – Barbara Kingsolver
  • Flawed – Cecelia Ahern
  • The River of Doubt – Candice Millard
  • I Take My Coffee Black – Tyler Merritt
  • Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg

#1: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver really stuck with me. The main character is a boy from rural Virginia that finds himself in foster care at age 8. By age 16, he has become the hometown hero as the local high school’s best tight end in years.

As his identity is tied up in his new found love and adoration, he continues playing through an injury and ultimately suffers from an opioid addiction. Kingsolver does an admirable job of depicting the small choices and influences in his life that put him on the path of addiction and recovery.

As an athlete and a teacher in a small community, this book really made me stop and consider my interactions with young adults and the choices they face daily. People are resilient, but there is also only so much you can ask of a person.

Demon Copperhead was a great reminder to me that we never know what is going on in the lives of the people around us. A little kindness and support can mean more than we might realize.

#1 Book of Summer 2023
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#2: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Matt Haig, the author of The Midnight Library, one of my favorite books from 2021, does it again with How to Stop Time. Although it reminded me a lot of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab (another 2021 favorite), it was still a unique take on immortality and the value of a mortal life.

As the main character, Tom Hazard tells the reader of his condition where he only ages one year for every ten years of a typical human, we begin to understand the depressive nature of a nearly immortal life as he interacts with the rest of the mortal world. After 400 years of life, Tom still looks like he is in his early 40s, but is tired of moving and uprooting his life every eight years to avoid the attention of neighbors and friends as they realize he has not aged in the time they have known him.

As in The Midnight Library and in The Invisible Life of Addy Larue, the reader realizes life is special because it is limited. There is value in knowing that you only have a limited amount of time to live, love, and enjoy the world around you. If there wasn’t a limit to the time you have here what would make each experience special? You could always try it another time. It will never be too late. Life is truly a gift and each moment counts.

#2 Book of Summer 2023
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#3: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

At the end of each month, I create an Instagram and Facebook post on the books that I have read or listened to each month and ask for recommendations. I usually find a lot of great books this way. After a recent post, a family member recommended the short story collection, This is a Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett.

In 2020, I really enjoyed The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and I recently added her latest book, Tom Lake, to my waitlist, so I had a feeling I was going to like her short story collection too. However, when I searched the Libby App for This is a Story of a Happy Marriage, the library only had her latest collection of short stories; These Precious Days. I decided to give it a try anyways.

These stories did not disappoint. Patchett does an amazing job of telling her stories while really connecting with the reader. I particularly enjoyed the story of her husband’s love of flying and the stories about her three fathers (biological father, 1st step-father, and 2nd step-father).

Overall, each story was very heart warming and moving. To date I still hope to get my hands on her first collection of short stories.

#3 Book of Summer 2023
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#4: I Take My Coffee Black by Tyler Merritt

Every year in September, I go on a girls weekend trip to Harbor Springs, Michigan for the Festival of the Book. This amazing event gathers over 40 authors from multiple genres and backgrounds. From Thursday evening until Sunday morning, attendees can visit one hour panel sessions with 3-4 authors on a variety of topics. After each panel, readers can purchase books and get autographs from the authors! It is one of my favorite book events of the year.

Another reason, I love this weekend so much is that I get to share it with my mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law. We discuss not only the great authors at the festival but the great books we have recently read. On our last trip, I got so many recommendations, but really just loved I Take My Coffee Black by Tyler Merritt. This author is also the creator of the video Before You Call The Cops.

I Take My Coffee Black is a beautiful book, that really builds connection with the reader. Merritt does a fantastic job of telling his story and bridging life experiences together. He shows that while we are all different, at the core we are all similar. If we could all see each other as a person just like ourselves with strengths and weaknesses, we might have a little more compassion for EVERYONE.

If you only read or listen to one book this year, I would highly recommend this book!

#4 Book of Summer 2023
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#5: Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker

The last book in my top five books of summer 2023 is Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker. For the past several years, I have been toying with the idea of giving up drinking alcohol all together. Usually, I feel much better, I am a lot stronger, and a lot faster when I don’t drink. At the beginning of the summer, a family friend recommended Quit Like A Woman and it was a huge help in my decision making process.

In the book, Whitaker talks about making a decision and not questioning that decision. This has been the most helpful advice I have ever received. When I decide to do something, whether it is drinking, running, sleeping, etc. I will be more likely to stick with my decision if I decide not to question it.

Since listening to this book, I have noticed that when I am resolved in my choice it is easy. When I flip-flop or am wishy-washy, I never stand by my decision. It is a great advice for all areas of life. Even if you aren’t considering whether to quit drinking, it is a great book for setting up boundaries and taking control of your decision making process.

#5 Book of Summer 2023
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Other Great Books from the Summer of 2023

Many other books almost made the list, but I had to narrow it down to five! Other books that came close to making the list were:

Currently, I am reading Verity by Colleen Hoover. My current wait list includes Hello Beautiful, The Body Keeps the Score, Happy Place, Banyan Moon, The Covenant of Water, A Court of Mist and Fury, Yellowface, and Tom Lake.

The latest book on my bedside table is Small World by Laura Zigman.

If you have more recommendations for the fall of 2023, please let me know. Hopefully, I catch up to reach my goal of 120 books! Only 34 books to read or listen to over the next three months!

Thanks for following along and happy reading! ~KiteBikeVan

P.S. For more recommendations check out my 2024 winter, spring, summer and fall recaps!

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