With summertime officially here, it’s also time once again for the PAN Summer Reading List — now in its eleventh year! As always, the List includes a crowdsourced selection of books from the PAN Team, including books we loved in the last year, and books we can’t wait to pick up this summer.
Kicking off the list are some lighter reads, perfect to binge by the ocean, lake or pool.
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid was nominated by several PAN employees. As one said, “A great beach read that is full of drama, scandal, and most importantly family.” I personally loved the audiobook version.
- The Guncle by Steven Rowley is another funny, light and engaging read about a former sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew.
- The Lost Summers of Newport by the New York Times Bestselling trio of authors Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White, features three intertwined stories about money and secrets set among the summer mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, spanning over a century from the Gilded Age to the present day.
In the last year, I’ve re-discovered fantasy books as a great way to escape when the world is feeling heavy, and I’ve particularly enjoyed reading TJ Klune.
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is the equivalent of a warm hug. Quirky, humorous, and whimsical — it will restore your faith in humanity. And, it features LGBTQ+ characters.
- The Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel explores what happens when you combine time travel, a plague and a cast of characters who may or may not be connected. As one PAN bookworm said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this novel so much so I can’t say much without heading toward spoiler territory. My favorite book I’ve read this year – it’s a beautiful story about life and the adventures we go on.”
This category is always a favorite of PAN readers, and we have some great choices this year.
- The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave is our “PAN Bookworms” Book Club pick for May/June. The New York TimesBestselling mystery is a fast-paced story about a man’s disappearance and his wife’s search for him (and his hidden identity).
- The Push by Ashley Audrain is described as a deep and serious, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family.
- Cover Story by Susan Rigetti, features an interesting format composed of emails, diary entries and other notes and correspondences. “Could not put this one down – such a fun ride that will keep you interested until the very end. Fans of Netflix’s Inventing Anna and Hulu’s The Dropout will love this one. Plus, it’s written by the author of the infamous Uber blog.”
Our choices in this category cover a broad range of topics and feature a diverse array of characters.
- Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters explores the intersections of race, gender and class as it follows the interconnected lives of three women — transgender and cisgender. This was our PANid selection for Q1 2022 and it prompted a great discussion.
- Matrix by Lauren Groff, the newest book from the author of Fates and Furies, features a medieval nun, and tells the story of a rebellious teenager’s transformation. I have this one next on my personal reading list.
- Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez is about a wedding planner dealing with her heritage and uncovering family secrets, set in Puerto Rico around the time of Hurricane Maria.
Our picks here come from authors who will be familiar to PAN Summer Reading List followers.
- The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah depicts the trials and tribulations of life during the Dust Bowl through the eyes of a single mother. Kristin Hannah is a perennial favorite PAN Summer Reading List author, and this book did not disappoint — it’s one of my favorites this year.
- The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towels, another favorite author. “One of the best books I’ve read in a LONG time! Excellent character development, a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat once you’re in the thick of their adventure, this book is equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. Highly recommend!” – Angelica English, Senior Account Supervisor, Boston
Non-Fiction: Self Help
We have a few great selections that will change the way you think about life and work.
These books check all the boxes from inspiring to funny to fascinating true stories.
- Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb is about her own journey in therapy, as a therapist. It’s a smart, funny book that demystifies therapy and makes you think about what it means to be human.
- The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion by Eliot Brown covers the riveting rise and fall of WeWork and inspired the new Apple TV+ series WeCrashed.
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey recounts stories of his life from his childhood diaries through today. “I could not put this book down – I first read it and then listened to it (I recommend the audio book as McConaughey tells his own stories with such charisma and passion). This is an inspiring book that gives a sneak peek into the life of such a successful actor, but also shows the importance of reflection and honesty with ones own experiences.” – Allie Garrett, Assistant Account Executive, Boston
I am excited to have a graphic novel on the list for the first time — one that demonstrates the depth that this genre can have.
- Maus (Books 1 & 2) by Art Spiegelman recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma. “The storytelling and visual depictions are woven together so artfully. While there are several amazing books around experiences from the Holocaust, Maus is the only one I’ve seen that perfectly juxtaposes the horrors from that tragedy with the generational trauma that came as a result.” – Dina Magdovitz, Account Supervisor, Orlando
Rounding out our list is a collection of short stories, perfect to pick up on a slow summer day.
- Five Tuesdays in Winter by the award-winning, New York Times Bestselling author Lily King. “Don’t let ‘winter’ in the title turn you away from picking this book up this summer! Each story is better than the next and I could hardly decide on a favorite. It’s perfect to pick up, put down, and snack on all summer long (although you may end up reading it in a day like I did)! I recommend reading with a friend or a book club because you’ll want to talk about it!” – Sarah Hoffman, Senior HR Business Partner, Boston
Brush off your Kindle or head to your local bookstore and enjoy our 2022 picks! For more inspiration, check out previous lists here: