As July comes to an end, we’re starting to get ready for all things back to school, but it’s not too late to get to one last book from our summer reading lists. Here at LitLife, we love reading for all purposes–to learn, to enjoy, to escape–and we think summer is a great time to cultivate and share our love of reading. Are you still looking for that last great summer read? Here are some of the titles we fell in love with this summer.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
If you’re looking for something a little different to wrap up your summer reading list, this self described “tragicomic” may be your best bet. Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel/memoir explores her complicated and heartbreaking relationship with father, a closeted English teacher and funeral home director, as well as her own story of coming of age as a lesbian.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert returns to writing fiction in this novel about Alma Whittaker, a brilliant scientist and the daughter of the wealthiest man in Philadelphia. The novel traces Alma’s explorations into evolution, botany, spirituality and the divine in the early nineteenth century, as well as her relationship with her artist husband, Ambrose. The story is full of interesting characters and exotic locales ranging from Amsterdam and London to Tahiti and Peru.
In the Woods by Tana French
A crime-drama set in the suburbs of Dublin, In the Woods tells the story of Rob Ryan. Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox are trying to solve the first big murder case of their careers and find that it has shocking similarities to the night 20 years ago when Ryan’s two childhood friends disappeared. This novel has all of the mystery and intrigue you didn’t know your summer was missing.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This NY Times Bestseller tells a story that spans 50 years. If you’re longing for the summer escape that you didn’t get to take, this novel, which switches between events on the Italian coast in 1962 and present day Hollywood (with stops in Edinburgh, too), is perfect for you! Supporting roles from Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton top off an interesting and eccentric cast of characters.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo Decker and the twists and turns his life takes after surviving an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum. It’s a story about grief, fate and all types of love. As Stephen King put it, “The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind.” At 748 pages though, it’s best to get started now if you plan to finish by September!