As the hot summer swelters on, and commutes in the city become ever the more painstaking, some summer reads are just what you need to cool down (both emotionally and spiritually – as transcendent as a good read can be, it’s unlikely to help with the rising temperatures.) Below you’ll find a roundup of some empowering, inspiring, amorous and all together noteworthy books to add to your reading list this month.
By: Gina Lopez
“Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Option B s about self-love even in deep periods of physical and emotional loss, moving on and breathing in, and embracing your “option b” when the initial plan shoots far south of your intentions.
Authors Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg work to unpack the definitions of grief and everyone’s tendency – especially in a professional setting– to actively treat it like the elephant in the room. Through honest explorations of personal loss and anecdotal evidence of people’s general lack of knowing-what-to-say when there’s nothing you can say, Grant and Sandberg culminate a sort of guide in how to affectively show empathy without coming off too strong and just being in the moment, even when you’re being pushed away.
As the novel progresses, the coauthors discuss the complexity of grief, it’s often unforgiving path, and the ways in which you can learn to shape these experiences into your own resilience. Regardless of the direction the book was geared towards in terms of death related grief, the tips and tools towards making your own emotional progress employed in the book can be easily translated to all of life’s downs.
Sandberg specifically stresses the importance of embracing your option B, C, D, and even E when plan A made like a tree and left faster than you could stop it. She says these moments are when resilience appears.
“You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero
Jen Sincero’s novel is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a singing-in-the-shower, brand-new-sundress, seemingly personalized love letter to yourself that’s guaranteed to make you laugh (or at least quietly chuckle as you spend the unfortunate majority of your free reading time on public transportation).
Sincero encourages shutting down the self-deprecating humor (and those who advertise this) and spreading your arms and (now spacious schedules) towards people who inspire creativity and positivity, while standing their ground through the rougher and less flattering times in your life.
Sincero takes the approach of offering the candid advice that has become standard of self-help books without employing the tone of “been there done that,” rather she constantly reminds the reader that she’s “been there and still doing it.” Her novel actively exudes tones of self-love, equality, personalization, exploration, determination –and most importantly– experimentation with things less familiar and cozy, because you are a badass.
“The Lover’s Dictionary” By David Levithan
David Levithan’s personal tale of falling in love separates itself from all others not in depth or brevity, but rather in medium. In his short but sweet work, Levithan describes the sensation of falling in love through definitions of things that once were, and still remain. In the act of exploring two people’s burgeoning feels for each other amidst personal strife, disappointment and a deeply rooted sense of un fulfillment, we are fed a tale with equal parts romance and melancholy.
Words that once meant little, now carry the weight of two people’s habits, morals and truest feelings. Whereas some words once contained a meaning so full of things that used to be, that the only way for them to coexist with what is now, is to not exist at all. For Levithan, this is love and loss, and everything that transcends in between.
Reading about something both as fragile and unparalleled as unexpected love in the format of a blank face dictionary would seem romantically oppressive, but rather Levithan uses this unconventional medium to show how when in love, even simple words become something new.
“Available: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Hookups, Love and Brunch” By Matteson Perry
Matteson Perry as the main character in his novel manages to be both the protagonist you’re constantly rooting for, the deplorable guy you hope to forget, and finally the doting partner everyone hopes to end up with as they ride off into the sunset together.
He accomplishes all of these narratives and personality spins by being candid and honest about his quest in finding himself through dating, within dating, and even in its often ruinous aftermath. After what cumulatively amounted to ten consecutive years in relationships, Perry embarks on a long journey of self-actualization in the form of forcing himself to casually date, in order to proactively become a person, of singular thought process, on his own.
While much of this provided painfully awkward scenarios of miscommunication, and even contempt, they were nothing a little avocado toast with a side of tastefully aged jeans couldn’t fix.