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PAN Summer Reading List 2020: Stay At Home Edition

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Ariel Burch Novak
Vice President | Boston, MA
  • Blog
  • Culture/Agency Life

PAN Summer Reading List 2020: Stay At Home Edition

Ariel Burch Novak
Vice President | Boston, MA

For the last eight years, we have shared a PAN Summer Reading list with book recommendations for leisurely days by the beach or pool. This year is different in many ways, and we’ve decided to instead share a list of books a little early to hopefully keep readers entertained, uplifted and distracted during the social distancing era.

There are still many ways to access books even when staying at home. Libraries are offering e-books and audiobooks, and bookstores are offering new pickup and delivery options. Audible is also providing a fantastic resource to parents, with a collection of children’s books available for free. More than Words has set up an online bookstore, with all proceeds going toward empowering youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.

We recently updated our list to include additional books by BIPOC authors and that focus on diversity and inclusion. Read on for top picks from PAN employees.

summer reading list 2020

Memoirs stand out as the most popular genre for our quarantine reading:
We’re also catching up on business and other non-fiction books:
Several of us are digging into contemporary novels:
  • Severance by Ling Ma, an apocalyptic satire, was described by Kate Conger of The New York Times as both the best and the worst book to read right now.
  • The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett is next up on my to-be-read list. The The New York Times Bestseller is described as a page-turner that follows “twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.”
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a moving love story based on interviews conducted with a Holocaust survivor.
  • Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a comic novel that is surprisingly deep in its exploration of marriage, divorce and gender roles, is on my currently-reading list (I highly recommended it).
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a “stirring love story” that topped many book lists in 2018, including NPR, The New York Times Book Review and Washington Post.
  • Such A Fun Age, the debut novel by Kiley Reid and instant New York Times Bestseller is a page-turning story about race and privilege.
We’re also escaping into thrillers:
  • The Deserter by Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille is a “ripped-from-the-headlines” thriller that follows an army investigator, the first in a new series.
  • The Girl Before by JP Delaney, a New York Times Bestseller that is drawing comparisons to Gone Girl.
  • The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, a highly-acclaimed mystery and much-anticipated movie.
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, a psychological thriller described as a mix of Hitchcock, Agatha Christie and Greek tragedy.
There’s never been a better time to read, or re-read a classic (and then grab some popcorn to watch the new film adaptation!):
  • The Bluest Eye is Tony Morrison’s 1970 debut novel and New York Times Bestseller that explores our ideas of beauty and conformity, race, class and gender.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, one of my all-time favorites (which happens to take place in my hometown).
  • Emma by Jane Austen, the classic and beloved comedy, was recently reimagined again for the screen.
What are you reading? Check out our previous lists here:

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