Best Books of Summer 2020

By: Maggie Warnick 

One benefit of missing out on normal summer activities this year is having extra time to catch up on reading! Here are five of the best books of summer 2020, perfect to add to any reading list.

  1. “Sex and Vanity” – Kevin Kwan, June 30
  • From the author that brought the world the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy comes another novel that promises the same levels of extravagance, humor and romance that readers have come to expect. A take on E.M. Forster’s classic 1908 novel “A Room With a View” the story follows Lucie Churchill as she balances the expectations of her family and her half-Chinese heritage, all while falling in love with a man she staunchly denies having feelings for. Described by Publisher’s Weekly as “the literary equivalent of white truffle and caviar pizza” this novel is sure to entertain. 
  1. “The Vanishing Half” – Brit Bennett, June 2
  • Anyone who keeps up with highly anticipated literary works should recognize this title, Bennett’s second. Receiving excellent critical reviews, the novel spans half a century, beginning in the 1940’s. Focused on the lives of twin sisters, one who makes the choice to pass for white, the narration switches between the sisters and their daughters, detailing the separate and complex lives they lead. Full of twists and suspense, “The Vanishing Half” will keep readers turning pages and dwelling on the book long after it is finished. 
  1. “A Burning” – Megha Majumdar, June 2
  • Majumder’s debut novel, a New York Times bestseller, was heralded as the “must-read novel of the summer” by the Washington Post. After a train has been firebombed by terrorists in contemporary India, three lives become intertwined. Majumdar paints a portrait of a society in constant upheaval and riddled with abuses of power without any signs of real change. Portrayed with sympathy for human weaknesses and the problems stemming from them, the novel provides ample food for thought. 
  1. “Luster” – Raven Leilani, August 4
  • Another debut novel, “Luster” follows Edie, a 23 year old New Yorker and aspiring painter dissatisfied with her life. Looking for excitement she begins an online flirtation with Eric, a man in his 40s with an open marriage. As the relationship progresses, she becomes entwined in the couple’s complicated personal life, eventually moving in with them and their daughter. Described by O Magazine as “an irreverent intergenerational tale of race and class that’s blistering and fan-yourself sexy” Leilani’s nuanced and witty style will have readers wanting more. 
  1. “The Pull of the Stars” – Emma Donoghue, July 21
  • From the author of “Room” comes an enthralling story set in 1918 flu pandemic. While the pandemic background allows for opportunity to draw comparisons with today’s pandemic, the primary focus of the novel is on the lives of three women, a doctor, a maternity nurse and an aide in a Dublin hospital. Based upon real circumstances and medical professionals, this engrossing historical fiction is centered in catastrophe but leaves readers with a faith in human compassion.

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