There is nothing more “Miami” than laying out by the pool or beach with a good book in your hand. If you haven’t had a chance to read during quarantine, or are looking for more works to add to that running list, I’ve compiled a list of the hottest books you should read this summer. From fiction to personal growth here are some reads to help you escape:

Fiction:

Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang

An offbeat coming-of-adulthood tale that follows a Chinese-American who works as a technology reporter in San Francisco. When her boyfriend J decides to move to upstate New York for grad school she follows him. In the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. How do you exist in a society that does not notice or understand you? This book explores topics of race, work, love, and family as experienced by young people today. It is funny and thought provoking. A perfect conversational base for so many important topics of our time

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

A heart-breaking story of love, life, parenthood and relationships. By all appearances, Frank and Maggie share a happy, loving marriage. But for the past six months they have not spoken. Not a single word. Then Frank finds Maggie collapsed in the kitchen, unconscious, with an empty packet of sleeping pills on the table. Rushed to the hospital she is placed in a medically induced coma while the doctors assess the damage. Though Frank is overwhelmed at the thought of losing his wife, will he be able to find his voice once again – and explain his withdrawal – or is it too late?

 

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, the Japanese Lover is written with the same keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of Spirits. The Japanese lover is a moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

A beautifully written book in language that is languid and sensual, curt and surprising. Bittersweet story of a family divided by politics and geography by the Cuban revolution. This novel moves between Cuba and the United States featuring three generations of a single family. The novel focuses particularly on the women – Celia del Pino, her daughters Lourdes and Felicia, and her granddaughter Pilar.

 Personal Growth:

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths For A Better Life by Humble the Poet

Humble sees life with unique clarity. In Unlearn, he opens our eyes to our own lives, helping us to recognize the possibilities that await us and the challenges that prevent us from realizing our dreams. With his characteristic honesty and forthrightness, he helps us shed the problematic lessons we’ve learned throughout our lives that limit us, from sabotaging habits, to fixed mindsets, to past regrets, and relearn new, unconventional ways of moving through life. Among his 101 lessons are: Fitting In Is a Pointless Activity, Don’t Trust Everything You Feel, Killing Expectations Births Happiness, Comparisons are Killer, Baby Steps Add Up, and You Decide Your Worth.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Best selling author, Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, this short book offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, acceptance, and love.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

What better time than now to focus on what matters most? A direct, blunt, and brutally honest approach to figuring out what really matters. There are only so many things we can give a f*ck about so we need to figure out which ones really matter. Manson makes clear that although money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience.

Friend of Sinners: Why Jesus Cares More About Relationship Than Perfection by Rich Wilkerson JR

By now, you probably know about Rich Wilkerson Jr. Pastor of Vous Church in Miami, Rich Wilkerson Jr. shows readers the profound implications of the reality that Jesus calls us friends not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who he (Jesus) is. By following his example, we can have the same clear conviction and compassion for the loss that he did. His gospel of scandalous grace cannot be overestimated.

Self-Care:

Younger by Harold Lancer, MD

Dermatologist to A-list celebrities, Dr. Harold Lancer is the expert on whom top celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, rely to maintain their radiant complexions and to reverse the effects of aging. Now, he offers readers his groundbreaking 3-Step method to rejuvenate their skin at home.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is by therapist Lori Gottlieb who experienced an unexpected breakup in her 40s and decided to go to therapy herself as part of her healing process. In this book, she shares her thoughts and experiences as well as the journeys of a handful of her own patients, each working through different challenges.

Race and Social Injustice:

 White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

In this mind opening book, DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to bad people. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

Eloquent Rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less. This book benefits anyone who claims to love equality, equity, and justice for all. Claimed to be a feminist bible by some, it is a resonating and brutally honest look into our biases, ignorance, and give us the ability to go forth with purpose and joy.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A powerful framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men – bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportions. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Poetry:

2Fish (a poetry book) by Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo

A collection of intimate poems written from adolescence to adulthood. The book details Chilombo’s thoughts in their most raw and honest form taken directly from a collection of notebooks she kept since age twelve.

All of it is You.: Poetry by Nico Tortorella

You may recognize Tortorella as Josh from “Younger” on TV Land. Tortorella’s debut poetry collection presents a singular voice honed through years as an actor, podcaster, and advocate, one colored with love, wonder, and endless curiosity. But it is also more than just words on a page – it is a sensuous journey into who we are and how we relate to the world around us, showing how the connections we make are vital to understanding why we are here. Provocative and emotionally charged.

Extra Credit:

If you’ve breezed through most of these already, or miss the feeling of an in-person book club, the Miami Book Fair’s virtual programming is bringing some of literature’s most powerful names in the coming weeks. Their upcoming Author Conversations feature big names from Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries) to Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians) and local author, Mario Alejandro Ariza. If you want to gain the knowledge to write the next great American novel, pop into their ‘First Draft‘ series to hone your literary skills. And if you want to try your hand at writing, the Miami Writers Institute features intensive writing workshops with bestselling authors, manuscript consultations and more. More info here.

All photos by writer.


Maitte is an attorney, writer, and signed model who travels for work and during her spare time. Follow her postings on Instagram for all things fashion, beauty, and travel: @maitbarri.