Before this weird excuse for that season we used to call summer ends, it’s about time I publish my list of the best books to read solely for your IG aesthetic. That’s right, I’m talking about my annual Instagrammable books roundup! They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what we’re doing here. But don’t worry, because the books themselves are obviously worth reading.
‘Three Perfect Liars’ by Heidi Perks
(March 12, 2020)
This book has been described as Mad Men meets Big Little Lies, which is funny because the cover is very Little Fires Everywhere. And for good reason, I think! It starts when a fire (Little Fires Everywhere) destroys the office of a prestigious ad agency (Mad Men) and three ambitious women all find themselves under the microscope, since each of them has a motive for revenge.
‘The Golden Cage’ by Camilla Läckberg
(April 2, 2020)
Truthfully, I opened this book and was already not excited: woman marries super-rich, handsome guy who is clearly abusive but she’s too blinded by his looks and status to see it, then she’s left high and dry when he leaves her for a younger model? Yawn—or so I thought. What makes The Golden Cage not cliche, and, actually, a gripping page-turner, is that protagonist Faye is incredibly smart, with a dark past of her own. She won’t go down without a fight, and not before her ex-husband’s life is ruined.
‘A Burning’ by Megha Majumdar
(June 2, 2020)
Told through three different points of view, this beautiful novel is a debut for the ages that you’ll fly through in one sitting. Themes like class, fate, corruption, and justice make this book perfect for your summer reading list as three unforgettable characters with big dreams find themselves entangled in the wake of catastrophe in contemporary India.
‘Ordinary Girls’ by Jaquira Diaz
(June 16, 2020)
Fudging the requirements of this list a bit because the paperback is what’s new this summer, but I’m still counting it. And who wants to lug a hardcover to the beach anyway? Diaz’s debut earned her the 2019 Whiting Award, as well as a whole slew of critical praise, so you know it’s good. The memoir chronicles her upbringing in housing projects of Miami and Puerto Rico. She was, by her own admission, a runaway, a high school dropout, a suicide risk, and a street fighter. She was also the queer, biracial, displaced daughter of an absent father and a mother who struggled with mental illness.
‘Sex and Vanity’ by Kevin Kwan
(June 30, 2020)
From the king who brought us Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan is back with a dazzling love triangle that’s sure to spice up your summer. It follows Lucie Churchill, who is torn between her WASP-y fiancé and George Zao, the man she adamantly denies having feelings for (so relatable). This book gives those of us stuck inside our studio apartments a look at fame, fortune, and travel, all while taking a jab at racism and snobbery.
‘One To Watch’ by Kate Stayman-London
(July 7, 2020)
If you watch The Bachelor, this book is the takedown we’ve all been waiting for, and Stayman-London is hardly subtle about it, which I love (ABC is called ABS in the book, Fleiss is Faust, need I say more?). In One To Watch, plus-size fashion blogger Bea Schumacher gets drunk one night and writes a scathing hit piece on the
Bachelor Main Squeeze franchise’s lack of diversity, which goes viral overnight. But then, ABS does a surprising thing: they ask Bea to be the next Bachelorette Main Squeeze. Fun, sexy, and full of heart, you’ll devour this book in a day.
‘The Safe Place’ by Anna Downes
(July 14, 2020)
Emily Proudman just lost her job, her acting agent, and her apartment—all in one day. Rough. To say the least, she’s desperate. But when she runs into Scott Denny, the charming and successful CEO of the company she just got fired from, he offers her a summer job at his remote French estate that seems too good to be true. Her summer starts out totally Instagrammable, filled with plenty of day-drinking by the pool with Scott’s wife Nina and their mysterious daughter Aurelia, but soon, Emily realizes that Scott and his family are hiding something. If she doesn’t stop snooping, things may turn deadly.
‘The Boys’ Club’ by Erica Katz
(August 4, 2020)
I’m not even a lawyer, but this book feels so quintessential Big New York Law that anyone who even has one friend who went to law school will probably find this relatable. Alex Vogel has always been a high achiever who played by the rules: Harvard Law School, prestigious job at the biggest law firm in NYC, longtime boyfriend. But soon she gets seduced by the money of big law and the charm of her coworkers… and suddenly she might want to take a walk on the wilder side. When an incident reveals the dark culture of the firm (you can probably guess what), Alex is thrust in the middle and forced to decide between keeping her job and friends and doing the right thing.
‘The Death of Vivek Oji’ by Akwaeke Emezi
(August 4, 2020)
When a mother in southeastern Nigeria opens her front door to find her son’s body wrapped in colorful fabric, it sends a shockwave through the family. The Death of Vivek Oji explores the electrifying story of one family’s struggle to understand their mysterious child and a heart-stopping act of violence that changes their lives forever.
‘Love After Love’ by Ingrid Persaud
(August 4, 2020)
After her abusive husband dies, Trinidadian native Betty Ramdin and her son, Solo, take in a lodger, Mr. Chetan, and the three eventually pull a Modern Family and form an unconventional bond. But one night, Solo overhears his mom spill a secret, causing him to flee all the way to NYC. Mr. Chetan continues to love and support his adopted family—until a secret of his own is revealed.
‘Luster’ by Raven Leilani
(August 4, 2020)
New Yorkers, I dare you to not find this novel relatable af. Edie is stumbling around her 20s, sharing an apartment in Bushwick, hooking up with the wrong people, working a job she doesn’t care about. But then she meets Eric, a digital archivist in an open marriage with a woman who performs autopsies for a living. (I always said the next time I’d open up to someone would be on an autopsy table…) Edie then finds herself unemployed and invited to stay in Eric’s home—though not by Eric, by his wife. And then sh*t gets compliated.
‘You Had Me at Hola’ by Alexis Daria
(August 4, 2020)
Telenovela lovers unite! For those of us who have felt empty since Jane The Virgin ended, You Had Me at Hola is the cure. After Jasmine Lin Rodriguez goes through a messy public breakup, she returns home to New York City to star in a new bilingual rom-com. Jasmine is determined to be a leading lady who doesn’t need a man, but when she gets partnered with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez, they both end up with more than they bargained for. Will their mounting feelings for each other upend their lives?
‘A House Is A Body’ by Shruti Swamy
(August 11, 2020)
Even people who are “not short story people” (me tbh) will find themselves captivated by A House Is Not A Body, which has stories ranging from a young painter living alone in San Francisco who begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities to an exhausted mother who watches as a California wildfire approaches her home and more.
‘The Heatwave’ by Kate Riordan
(August 18, 2020)
The cover is so gorgeous I can’t stop staring at it. And once you pick up this gripping thriller, you won’t want to put it down. Sylvie Durand has tried to forget La Reverie, her paradoxically named country home in the French countryside. Let’s just say, bad things have happened there. But when a fire calls her back to care for the property, she’s forced to confront the past she wants to put behind her. And that means confronting the memory of her first daughter, Elodie: beautiful, manipulative, reminiscent of one of the Manson girls, gone by age 14.
‘His Only Wife’ by Peace Adzo Medie
(September 1, 2020)
So this isn’t out until September, sue me. That’s what preorder is for!! So. Set in Ghana, His Only Wife is like a Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa. It follows Afi Tekple, a young seamstress, who is arranged to marry Eli, the successful son of her family’s benefactor. Score. Eli’s family agrees to the marriage because they want to get him away from his mistress, and Afi and Eli marry sight unseen (*Love Is Blind voice*), meaning Eli isn’t even at the wedding. Afi moves into his luxury apartment, gets used to her fancy new lifestyle, and finally meets Eli. The problem? Eli doesn’t magically stop caring about his mistress just because he’s married. *Pretends to be shocked*
Images: Jairph / Unsplash; Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (3); Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Gallery Books; HarperCollins (2); Knopf Doubleday (3); Penguin (2); Random House (2); St. Martin’s
If you’re anything like me, you hate making decisions, and who better to turn to for all your life choices than the stars? Nobody. Well, the stars are not really a person, but more like an entity, but you get what I mean. Summer is almost here, and with pool season comes summer reading lists. But with so many books out there to choose from, how do you decide?! Let your zodiac sign be your guide, because I found the best book to read based on your zodiac sign. Start here with these personal recommendations, then keep your eyes peeled for the Betches Summer Reading List, out v v soon.
If You’re An Aries, Read…
Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis
If you’re an Aries, this is your week to get stuff done like the bad betch you are. Start thinking proactively with Rachel Hollis’s Girl, Stop Apologizing. Hollis is sick of seeing women downplay their own success and in her latest novel, she empowers hardworking ladies to embrace the future they want instead of adhering to what everyone else expects.
If You’re A Taurus, Read…
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is your week to shine, Taurus! While you’re feeling popular and ahead of the game, pick up a copy of the mega-popular and Instagram-famous Daisy Jones & the Six. When Daisy Jones joins Billy Dunne’s band, The Six, the collaboration becomes an instant sensation. Filled with sex, drugs and rock n roll, this New York Times bestseller is a must for Taurus.
If You’re A Gemini, Read…
The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey
True Geminis are feeling all kinds of zen at the moment and should be kicking back this week with a book to bring out the most peaceful version of themselves. Ansley Murphy and her three daughters are finally living the happy lives they’ve all dreamed of… and then two women roll into town destined to take them down. The Murphy women will have to band together to get through this disastrous time.
If You’re A Cancer, Read…
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall
It’s time to switch up your genre game, Cancer. Come out of that shell and read a suspenseful thriller that will have you up all night. Miriam Macy and six other strangers have just arrived for a tropical vacation off the coast of Mexico. What they don’t know if that they’ve all been brought there for a reason, and not all of them will make it out unscathed.
If You’re A Leo, Read…
When’s Happy Hour: Work So Hard You Can Barely Work by Betches
Get your career in check this week, Leo! But also don’t forget your priorities (aka happy hour). We know you get serious FOMO sometimes, and that’s okay. We’ve got the perfect book rec for you by yours truly. Learn how to be the best version of your careerwoman self with the founders of Betches as they walk you through the best practices to becoming a CEO, mastering the art of conquering awkward office hookups, and so much more.
If You’re A Virgo, Read…
You, Me, and the Sea by Meg Donohue
Feeling wanderlust this week, Virgo? Why not sail out to sea? It is summer, right? You, Me, and the Sea takes place in a seaside town in Northern California, where Merrow Shawe lives a rather carefree life. But her world is quickly changed when a handsome new man comes to stay with her family, and before she knows it, their romance is changing everything she knows about life, family and home.
If You’re A Libra, Read…
Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer
Libra, you’ve got to read a thriller this week. *Trust us, it’s in the stars.* Instead of stalking your ex on Insta, do yourself a favor and pick up Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer. This suspenseful thriller will have you trying to solve the mystery up until the very end and using your powers for good. If you love The Act on Hulu, this book will be the perfect rollercoaster ride for your spring reading.
If You’re A Scorpio, Read…
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Your love life is on point this week, Scorpio! Take advantage of these romantic vibes coming your way and treat yourself to Helen Hoag’s The Bride Test. This book is smart, sexy, and refreshingly real. Khai Diep is the perfect replacement man for you single Scorpios out there. And if you’re in a relationship, it this steamy love story will have no problem keeping things hot, hot, hot.
If You’re A Sagittarius, Read…
The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey
Sagittarius, you need help. Help from the one and only Oprah Winfrey. The Queen recently released The Path Made Clear, the perfect book for anyone trying to get their life in order and find success on the other side. Filled with her own anecdotes and life lessons from the important people around her, this book is one you will absolutely benefit from.
If You’re A Capricorn, Read…
The Mister by E.L. James
Cap, you are on top of the world this week with your flirty mentality. Set up a book date with The Mister by the author of a little romance novel called 50 Shades of Grey and prepare yourself for a steamy night in. Maxim Trevelyan is a major playboy, but when a tragedy strikes his family, he has to shape up. In the midst of his new life is a sexy new acquaintance—a woman he can’t get off his mind no matter how hard he tries.
If You’re An Aquarius, Read…
The Promise of Us by Jamie Beck
Aquarius, you need a little me time this week. Cancel your weekend plans and keep things chill with Jamie Beck’s The Promise of Us. Main character Claire McKenna is not a newbie when it comes to loss. Now that she’s begun her latest business venture and everything seems to be going her way, she runs into a man from her past, and suddenly everything she thought was going right in her life is thrown into chaos.
If You’re A Pisces, Read…
Machine Like Me by Ian McEwan
For the dreamy and creative Pisces, we have quite the book recommendation for you. Mercury has you feeling some type of way this week, and by that we mean you’re feeling extra curious. Machine Like Me by Ian McEwan is a curious book, to say the least. Think romance meets synthetic humans but in the 80s. Seriously, can you imagine being in a love triangle with an AI humanoid?! Maybe if he was a clone Ryan Reynolds. Either way, we trust that you can fantasize about this fake world.
Images: Nicole Wolf / Unsplash
The summer is almost over (boo), meaning you’re almost out of time to finish that summer reading list. But hear me out – reading is an activity that can continue into the fall or even (gasp!) winter. With the 2018 midterms coming up (are you registered?), it’s time to dig up your old p*ssy hat and re-up on your feminism. Fall is the most feminist season, after all. (Okay, okay, all seasons are feminist don’t @ me.) With that in mind, here are ten books that will help you get into the “nevertheless she persisted” mind frame before the weather gets too cold.
10. ‘The Female Persuasion’ by Meg Wolitzer
Vogue called this book “ultra-readable,” which is like, a pretty clutch compliment for a book. This novel by Meg Wolitzer follows a shy college freshman as she meets whose life is forever changed after she hears a 63-year-old feminist activist speak on campus. If you ever thought about leaving your boyfriend to organize the next Women’s March, this one’s for you.
9. ‘When Life Gives You Lululemons’ by Lauren Weisberger
If something about this title gave you early 2000s Meryl Streep nostalgia, there’s good reason. This book is Lauren Weisberger’s long anticipated follow-up to The Devil Wears Prada, and it follows Emily (aka Emily Blunt’s character) and her post-Miranda Priestly career as a high-end image consultant in Greenwich, CT. Will Miranda make an appearance? Is Emily off the cube-of-cheese diet? You gotta read it to find out.
8. ‘Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture’ edited by Roxane Gay
If the #MeToo era taught us anything, it’s that rape culture is real (duh) and we’re going to need a lot of brave women telling their stories to finally overcome it. Self-proclaimed “bad feminist” Roxane Gay organized and edited this collection of original and previously published pieces that address living in a world where rape culture is a daily part of women’s lives. With essays from stars like Gabrielle Union, this collection will laughing, crying, and mad as hell.
7. ‘Together We Rise: Behind The Scenes At The Protest Heard Around The World’ by The Women’s March Organizers
Remember how the Women’s March was like, the best day ever after the worst day ever? Published on the one year anniversary of the largest global protest in history, Together We Rise is a collection of essays that provide an inside look on how the march was organized. With essays from the likes of America Ferrerra, Yara Shahidi, Ilana Glazer and the one-and-only Maxine Waters, this book will have you feeling nostalgic for 2017, which should be literally impossible.
6. ‘Choose Your Own Disaster’ by Dana Schwartz
If you’ve ever described yourself as a “hot mess” or a “garbage person”, this memoir is for you. Dana Schwartz’s stories about all her terrible life decisions will make you feel a lot better about yours, or at least let you know you’re not alone.
5. ‘F*cked: Being Sexually Explorative And Self-Confident In A World That’s Screwed’ by Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher
You might recognize Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher from their hit anti slut-shaming podcast Guys We F*cked, and now they’re taking on the female sexual revolution in book form. F*cked tackles a mix of “raw, ridiculous, and serious sexual conversations” to help drive the point home that ain’t nobody got time to be ashamed of their sex life.
4.‘Vox’ by Christine Dalcher
If you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale (or just a fan our our recaps) strap the f*ck in because Vox is for you. Set in a too-close-for-comfort dystopian America, Vox explores a world in which women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day, and the brave scientist who takes it down. Once you start reading this one you’ll only put it down to check Twitter to make sure it’s not actually real.
3. ‘Feminasty: The Complicated Woman’s Guide To Surviving The Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself To Death’ by Erin Gibson
We dare you to find a more relatable book title. Comedian and Throwing Shade podcast host Erin Gibson gave us the gift of this collection of omg-I’m-literally-dying level hilarious essays that tackle the “hidden rules that make life as a woman harder.” Not only will you learn sh*t, but you’ll also laugh a lot. What could be better than that?
2. ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama
Here’s another book that’s not out yet but you’re going to want to pre-order ASAP. Becoming by Michelle Obama is a “deeply personal” book about Michelle, her roots, and hopefully a few style tips/arm exercise guides (though I doubt it.) I mean, we don’t need to tell you why a book by Michelle deserves to be on your shelf (or in your Kindle), but maybe it’ll help you actually go high when your ex goes low.
1.‘When’s Happy Hour?: Work Hard So You Can Hardly Work’ by Betches
Did we just make ourselves number one on our own fall reading list above Michelle Obama? F*ck yes we did. Wanna know why? Because betches lean in, and you can too with the career advice book you’ve literally always been waiting for. Wanna take charge and be the boss of your career while still maintaining a social life? This is the book for you. Also our last two books were New York Times bestsellers soooo you’re probs gonna wanna pre order that now.
When’s Happy Hour? drops from publisher Simon & Shuster October 23rd, 2018.
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