Five Books To Read This Summer

By: Gefen Selchen

My Brilliant Friend

By Elena Ferrante 

My Brilliant Friend is book one of a four part series labeled The Neapolitan Quartet. It is set in 1950s Naples, Italy, and gorgeously unravels the fascinating and intricate relationship between two Italian girls, Lenu and Lila. It describes their upbringing and how their rivalry and love for each other pushes them through the difficulties of growing up.

Things We Lost to the Water

By Eric Nguyen

Things We Lost to the Water cleverly incorporates the overwhelming power of water as we follow an immigrant Vietnamese family settling in New Orleans. With the story’s progression we become intimately connected to each member of the family: Huong – the mother, struggling to balance motherhood and what this strange new world means for her; Tuan – the elder brother, whose attempt at fitting in leads him to joining a local Vietnamese gang; Binh – the younger brother, who struggles to find his place in the world and come to terms with his sexuality; and Cong, the father, still back in Vietnam.  

Malibu Rising 

By Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Malibu Rising is a very summery novel, filled with warmth and uncertainty. It follows two narratives: the story of the Riva siblings as they prepare themselves for a grand party, and the tale of their parents; how they met, and how they broke, again and again. These two stories woven together give us a generational and inside look at how the (fictional) but mesmerizing Riva family came to be the way they are. 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

By Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is masterfully composed by poet Ocean Vuong in his unique and captivating voice. It is a beautiful and honest letter written by the protagonist Little Dog, to his mother who cannot read. It explores themes such as the effect of war, trauma, loss, and love. 

Normal People

By Sally Rooney 

Normal People details the angering, heartwarming, and confusing relationship of Marianne and Connell. We first meet them in high school – popular Connell with many friends, and Marianne, a loner, connected through Connell’s mother who works as a cleaner for Marianne’s household – and then follow their many ups and downs. We feel ourselves shift alongside the two of them as they change and grow and figure out who they are, and who they are to each other.  


Europa Editions. Accessed 27 May 2022. 

Penguin Random House. Accessed 27 May 2022.

Taylor Jenkins Reid. Accessed 27 May 2022. 

Ocean Vuong. Accessed 27 May 2022.

Penguin Random House. Accessed 27 May 2022. 

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