Here’s a likely list of your potential long-weekend plans: Some of you will be watching parades, a lot of you will be grilling and then some of us will be taking the extra time away from the office to dive into a good summer read. If that last idea on the list sounds like a winner to you, then let us help you check off that to-do with one of these 14 books perfect for the long weekend.
SUMMERS OF DISCOVERY
1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume ($12): A novel for the Are You There God…? readers who grew up, Summer Sisters takes two girls — one insecure and one confident — and throws them into a late-’70s summer. Once again, Judy Blume answers our prayers.
2. Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly ($12): Riddle is an impressionable, observant girl at the center of a mystery that has her Cape Cod town upended. The plot is great, but the turn of phrases in Kelly’s sophomore effort are what will really capture your imagination.
THROWBACKS THAT BECAME MOVIES
3. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann ($8): This novel is a frothy, fun look into what it was like to be a star in the ’60s — little “dolls” (aka pills) not included!
4. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe ($13): This novel is a charming — and at the time, in 1958, shocking — tale of five women working in the publishing industry in New York City. It’s basically the original Sex and the City.
5. Ali in Wonderland and Other Tall Tales by Ali Wentworth ($10): The former In Living Color star grew up in a super WASP-y D.C. family and outlines her misadventures as a misfit among the prep set. Read this book for some LOL-stories and Hollywood gossip, including her romance (and eventual marriage) to a Greek with major eyebrows, aka politico George Stephanopoulos.
6. Meaty by Samantha Irby ($14): From the hilarious gal behind the blog, “B*tches Gotta Eat,” comes a debut memoir filled with gut-busting essays on everything from battling Crohn’s disease to failed relationships.
7. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith ($12): A classic even before the Jude Law/Matt Damon/Gwyneth Paltrow version, this case of stolen identity will have you in awe at Ripley’s gall and skills of deception.
8. Hush by Kate White ($11): This sexy, dark and fast-paced novel will keep you on the edge of your seat. Read this during a thunderstorm for some classic chills down your spine.
NOVELLAS BY FAMOUS PEOPLE
9. Shopgirl ($9) by Steve Martin: Haven’t read Steve Martin’s (yes, that Steve Martin) debut novella? You’re definitely missing out. Starring Claire Danes in the film version, this is a quick and quirky read.
10. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote ($17): Can you spot the differences in the 1961 movie and Capote’s original short story? After ripping through his novella, be sure to check out Capote’s debut short story, Other Voices, Other Rooms, which he wrote as a 23-year old.
YA NOVELS ROCK
11. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales ($9): Sometimes we want our rainy days served with a side of angst, and on those days, we reach for This Song Will Save Your Life. Starring an outcast who finds friends and more in DJ’ing, it’s the (new) classic American coming-of-age story.
12. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz ($6): This book is loaded up with awards, and for good reason: It’s gorgeous, poetic and will probably make you cry. Bring on the emotions and fall in love with the story of two loners who meet by chance and realize they have more in common than they would have thought.
TRAVEL THE WORLD
13. The Complete Perseoplis ($17) by Marjane Satrapi: A graphic novel seems like an incredibly lovely and indulgent way to spend a rainy day. This one will have you learning and traveling as you read all about Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolution.
14. ‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma ($21): Starting in Trinidad in the 1940s, this lovely, lyrical novel takes you through the fictional life of a local seamstress with a family secret to hide and a man to love. We can’t resist a good story about family secrets!
What books are on your rainy day list? Tell us in the comments!