"The Moment We Met" by Camille Baker | "Why Didn't You Tell Me?" by Carmen Rita Wong | “Mademoiselle Revolution” by Zoe Sivak | "The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman's Journey to Every Country in the World" by Jessica Nabongo | “Honey and Spice: A Novel” by Bolu Babalola
Nothing says summer quite like a long day at the beach or lounging by the pool. And nothing makes a day dedicated to relaxing and checking out the ebb and flow of the waves better than reading a good book. Just so you know, you don't have to head to the ocean to get wrapped up in a page-turner. A relaxing Sunday spent lounging in your favorite chair or snuggled up in your bed at night before lights out are also incredible opportunities to enjoy a romance, historical novel, or tear-jerking memoir.
To that end, here are five of our favorite beach reads that you can toss in your tote alongside your sunscreen or if you’re headed on a road trip, try the audio version to enjoy a hands-free moment while you’re on the road.
Check out these five books and add them to your summer reading list today.
"The Moment We Met" by Camille Baker
For many people, the thirtieth birthday is considered pivotal and this is the case for the Tiwanda Harris of the "Moment We Met" by Camille Baker.
For many people, a 30th birthday is a pivotal moment and for Tiwanda Harris it’s down right groundbreaking. In "The Moment We Met" by Camille Baker, Tiwanda’s story unfolds as she rounds into her third decade and the young entrepreneur is given insight into who her mother was as an adult. [IS THE MOTHER DEAD?] Following that, she gets an opportunity to launch her career, and if this isn't enough, she's been sent a dating app called Met, which promises to help her finally find her soulmate.
As art tends to imitate real life, balancing all these things proves to be tricky. Still, Baker takes us on a trip around some touchy topics all the while staying true to the rom-com theme. So kick off your shoes and relax your feet as you party on down with this novel because you won’t be able to put it down.
"Why Didn't You Tell Me?" by Carmen Rita Wong
If you have ever struggled with defining who you are or wondering where you fit in, this memoir will bring up all kinds of emotions. Former CNBC host and author Carmen Rita Wong takes you on her incredible journey, which truly unfolds after the passing of her mother, Lupe, who kept secrets that would lead Wong to question her identity. In “Why Didn't You Tell Me," we are transported through her 1970s upbringing and cultural journey. From her life in Harlem with her extended Dominican family to her time with her immigrant father in Chinatown to the time when she was transplanted in New Hampshire, where her mom remarried her stepfather, an Italian American man.
Although Wong's relationship with her mother was tense for most of her upbringing, it’s further complicated when Lupe dies leaving Wong to sort through questions around her paternal heritage. The journey leads to a better understanding of who her mother was and why she made certain choices. While the topic is heavy, this is a page turner that you’ll definitely want to throw into your beach bag.
“Mademoiselle Revolution” by Zoe Sivak
Set in the 1800s, Zoe Sivak's "Mademoiselle Revolution" is a moving historical novel that tells the story of a biracial heiress who flees home to Paris during the Haitian Revolution. While that is an intense topic, the author is also unflinching in her descriptions and choice of words—some we'd prefer to forget. However, Sivak's quote of William Wilberforce in chapter four, "You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know," is a reminder of the value of knowledge. Furthermore, the book encompasses love, resentment, racism, colorism, identity, and what it means to belong, making this debut novel one that is nearly impossible to put down—available Aug. 2.
"The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman's Journey to Every Country in the World" by Jessica Nabongo
If you’ve ever imagined what it would be like to leave everything behind and take off, traveling to exotic lands, Jessica Nabongo has done just that and documented it in her new book, “The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman's Journey to Every Country in the World.” Nabongo, a traveler and photographer, is also the first (and only) documented Black woman to visit all 195 countries in the world.
In this fun-filled and unique memoir, you’ll learn, among other things, how she played dominoes in Cuba, went dog sledding in Norway, crossed a border in Guinea Bissau, and learned how to lasso with Black cowboys in Oklahoma. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this book is that the world is a big, beautiful, adventure-filled place waiting to be explored if you dare.
“Honey and Spice: A Novel” by Bolu Babalola
If you are in the mood for something a little messy and funny, then you want to get lost in "Honey and Spice: A Novel" by Bolu Babalola. Meet Kiki Banjo, the story's protagonist. She’s a smart, funny, young Black British woman who isn't interested in finding love. As the host of Brown Sugar, the college’s student radio show, Kiki warns the women on campus about falling for players. Except, she forgets to take her own advice when gets caught up in a fake relationship which she soon loses control of, forcing her to reexamine her views on love.