Mama needs a break. You’ve spent the morning finger painting, singing, and “jogging at the park,” which was more like running after your super-swift toddler as they played an imaginary game of tag with you. And it’s got you worn out, so now that it’s nap time, you need some “me” time. Whether you have five minutes or (dare to dream) a full hour all to yourself, these easy reads are perfect for your own summer book club of one.
1. The Dependents by Katharine Dion ($26): When Gene’s wife Maida dies, he’s left trying to relive his happier days… Or at least what he thought were happier days. When his daughter Dary comes home, Gene realizes that his life may not have been what his memories are telling him.
2. The Pisces by Melissa Broder ($25): Love, lust, intrigue, and a merman. (Yes, a merman.) Seriously, how could you go wrong here? This beachy summer read will have you running (or swimming!) for it every spare minute you find.
3. Motherhood by Sheila Heti ($27): Don’t worry: This isn’t another mommy how-to book. (You’ve already read plenty of those and really don’t need to spend your precious alone time delving into another one.) This pick sends you on a deep examination of what it means to be a woman and a mother — or not.
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ($17): Even though you probably read (and reread) the iconic Gatsby in high school, it’s probably been a few years since you took a look at this classic book, and sometimes it’s nice to spend the summer with an old friend. Head back to the gilded Jazz Age and imagine that you’re a guest at a fab West Egg soiree.
5. The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong ($16): We’ll admit that this read is kind of creepy for moms (especially of boys). But the psychological thriller about a mysterious murder of a mother and the complicated relationship between her and her son will completely keep you interested all summer long (or for at least the few nap times it takes you to rush through to the end).
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ($16): In just a few short years, your now-baby will be ready to read this classic with you — but for now, it’s all about you. Spend your summer days with Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy. It may not be a new read, but you’ll certainly enjoy getting nostalgic with it.
7. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer ($28): This story of a shy college student whose life changes after she meets a powerful 60-something woman is all about love, power, and all kinds of inner-self goodness.
8. Meghan by Andrew Morton ($27): With all the royal-watching that’s been going on, getting the lowdown on the new Duchess of Sussex from royal biographer Andrew Morton is exactly what you need this summer. From her early days in LA to her first marriage and finally her royal romance, this bio is a complete page-turner.