Reading is undeniably a key wellness practiceâ€”and one that many of us have ignored for far too long. It’s proven to build empathy, reduce stress, and even lessen sugar cravings (yes, really!). With that in mind, we’re excited to share Well Read, a column that curates theÂ absolute best fiction and narrative nonfiction picks of the month. Here’s what you should read this June. (Want more Well Read?Â You can find our past picks here.)
City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert is back, and her new novel is sure to be one of the most joyful reads of the summer. Gilbert has said publicly that she intended to write about a woman enjoying her sexuality without suffering drastic consequencesâ€”a type of woman who’s seen all too infrequently in popular literature. She exceeds with this lyrically written book that goes down like a beach read, which takes place in the theater world of 1940s New York and centers around a young woman coming into herself and learning to take ownership of her choices. Filled with Gilbert’s signature snippets of deep, true wisdom and insight, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be sorry when this one is over. by Elizabeth Gilbert (June 4)
On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff
Yogi Jen Pastiloff travels the world teaching her On Being Human workshop, a mix of cathartic emotional release and yoga, and in this book, she captures much of that essence on the page. The book is constructed as a memoir of Pastiloff’s earlier life waitressing, but it’s much more than that: a love letter to yoga, a self-help book, a spiritual how-to guide, and more. Fans of Cheryl Strayed (who blurbed the book) will flock to the raw, earned healing and personal growth. by Jennifer Pastiloff (June 4)
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong
If you’re looking for writing that will bend forms and take your breath away, you need this book. The debut novel from poet Ocean Vuong is written as a letter from a Vietnamese immigrant to his motherâ€”who doesn’t know how to read. The premise itself is achingly sadâ€”will she even understand his words?â€”and so are the stories and memories that populate the pages, which touch on bullying, same-sex relationships, life as an immigrant, drug addiction, and more. While it’s billed as a novel, the story is close enough to Vuong’s life to fall much closer to memoir, which makes the contents even more heartbreaking. by Ocean Vuong (June 4)
Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
Mrs. Everything is the story of two sisters born in 1950s Detroit. The novel follows the two women through the major events of the next 50 years, as readers can see the impact the two personalities have on history, and history has on the two distinct personalities. Like City of Girls, Mrs. Everything artfully straddles the line between page-turner and resonant, well-written literary fiction and poses relevant questions about the ever-changing role of women in society. A great book club pick that will give you plenty to talk about late into the night. by Jennifer Weiner (June 11)
The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel by Claire Lombardo
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, this is a hefty book. Clocking in north of 500 pages, this is the type of book that can feel intimidating if the characters that filled it weren’t so completely interesting and real. Debut novelist Lombardo introduces us to the Sorenson family, including a couple who falls quickly in love in the 1970s, and their four daughters. The novel moves back and forth between the present day (2016) and the years that preceded it, unfolding family mysteries large and small. An unflinching, breathtakingly honest look at the intricacies of relationships both familial and romantic, this family saga with a much-needed female bent has earned praise from the likes of Rebecca Makkai and Madeline Miller. by Claire Lombardo (June 25)
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