Summer is undoubtedly a time to be active, whether for you that means surfing near a millennial-pink beach, hiking to Instagram-worthy waterfalls, or just “earthing” somewhere sunny. The season’s steamy temps, lazy clouds, and, of course, increased time in transit (on your way to that beachy getaway) can also, however, provide a much-needed excuse to slow down, abandon enrollment in the cult of busy-ness, and actually (gasp!) crack open a book.
To help you queue up your Kindle for this first month, I asked wellness influencers, Well+Good Council members, and my always-reliable-with-recs colleagues what books they’re obsessing over at present.
Keep reading for the novels, memoirs, advice tomes, and more that will inspire, educate, and maybe even heal you.
Scroll down for 23 books to add to your beach bag this June.
“Fulfilled helped me through my final stages of grief and healing—I truly value Anna’s work, her experience, and her expertise. Her heart is in the right place!”
“[The Addiction Solution author] Dr. Sederer is a good friend and mentor. He’s a gem. His view as a psychiatrist and medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health is just what I needed to understand more about the opioid crisis. Summer reading? Nothing is sexier than learning. Brain Food, meanwhile, is a food book by an Italian neuroscientist focused on dementia and women’s health. Yes please! Quick quiz: Are dementia rates higher in men or women? Get the book. Eat the brain food. Protect your brain.”
“Obviously, nothing says summer quite like a super-creepy read that makes you scared to stay at home alone. The book universe has been abuzz about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, and for good reason—I’m literally too terrified to put it down.”
—Kells McPhillips, editorial assistant at Well+Good
“Small Giants is a practical-yet-philosophical book on why large isn’t always the answer when it comes to scaling your company, but why quality, integrity, and grit always win. It’s an amazing read for anyone who is an entrepreneur in the truest sense and enjoys challenging your own ‘why’ and ‘why does what we’re doing matter?'”
—McKel Hill, founder of Nutrition Stripped and Well+Good Council member
“Originals by Adam Grant is a recent book that I really enjoyed. Grant, a popular professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, specializes in organizational psychology, [and for this book] he studied the few people who have made truly original contributions, like Thomas Edison. In Originals, Grant discusses what they had in common. Similar to how Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers highlighted the 10,000 hours that successful people invest to develop their mastery, Originals highlights that hundreds of ‘failed’ attempts preceded truly original inventions. I love how it reframes failure because it highlights how failure is essential in the path to becoming truly original.”
—Sophia Gusheé, clean-living expert and Well+Good Council member
“If you’re looking for some major female empowerment vibes, It’s Messy: On Boys Boobs and Badass Women has got you covered. I wouldn’t call this a ‘self-help’ book; it feels more like a girlfriend giving you advice on living your life to the fullest and most ‘badass’ way. Her stories of growing up are out there but also somewhat relatable. I read along with her audiobook version of this, and her British accent makes it even more engrossing.”
—Celine Cortes, audience development associate at Well+Good
“Right now I’m reading So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I love how she addresses such a complex subject in an engaging and accessible way. It may not be your typical beach read, but I highly recommend you go out and purchase it ASAP. This book should be mandatory reading for everyone.”
—Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid and Well+Good Council member
“Something Borrowed author Emily Giffin is the ultimate smart-girl beach read goddess, and rumor has it her new book, All We Ever Wanted, is her juiciest read yet. Set in Nashville, it’s about a small-town girl named Nina who married into the world of the wealthy elite (though she has major imposture syndrome). When a classmate of her Princeton-bound son’s becomes the target of slut-shaming due to a drunken, racy photo, the community is divided and Nina finds herself making some unlikely alliances, which ultimately makes her question her entire place in the upper echelon society.”
—Emily Laurence, senior food and health editor at Well+Good
“To this day, my favorite book of all time is A Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Each page is rich with description that helps you become emotionally connected to the characters, particularly the main character, Alma, as you follow her through her entire life journey of love, drama, and self-discovery. You will not put this book down, and you’ll be sad when you finish it.”
—Jillian Wright, co-founder of the Indie Beauty Expo and Well+Good Council member
“I recently read The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. I basically inhaled this novel (could. not. stop. reading) and have been thinking about it ever since. Yes, it’s a romance (I am a Libra, after all), but it’s also a novel about choice and consequence, ‘the road not taken,’ and how love can mean something different in every relationship. While I wouldn’t praise it for being a literary masterpiece, this book is impossibly compelling and makes for a perfect summer read. My favorite quote from the book essentially sums it up in a sentence: ‘Some relationships feel like a wildfire—they’re powerful and compelling and majestic and dangerous and have the capability to burn you before you even realize you’ve been consumed… some relationships feel like a hearth fire—they’re solid and stable and cozy and nourishing.’”
—Madi Berse, client services manager at Well+Good
“If you haven’t yet read Italian author Elana Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, you’re in for a treat. This story (told over four novels, beginning with My Brilliant Friend) of competition, jealousy, and intense, intimate friendship between two girls growing up in post-war Naples is as gripping as it is honest and emotionally touching. It’s the perfect thing for devouring in between naps at the beach or while spread out on a blanket in the park.”
—Abbey Stone, managing editor at Well+Good
“I’m a non-fiction reader and am currently reading Factfulness. I’m just about one-third of the way through; however, I find myself really looking forward to picking up the book so I can get one more chapter in. That’s when I know the content is compelling. The combination of the subtitle (‘Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think’) and Bill Gate’s recommendation on the cover of the book (‘One of the most important books I’ve ever read, an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world’) were convincing enough for me. As I am reading it, I find myself agreeing with Melinda Gates who described it as a ‘stress-reducer.’ Indeed. Very encouraging.”
—Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute and a Well+Good Council member
“If you’ve ever looked at a tree and felt like they were a friend (as I do!), you’re right! I love The Hidden Life of Trees, which contains scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like families, communicating with each other through complex underground root networks, sharing nutrients with other trees that are sick and struggling, and so on. I believe that the more connected we are to nature the more we feel good—because we’re part of nature. This book is a wonderful way to deepen your connection and love of trees… and yourself!”
—Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist, author of Radical Beauty, and Well+Good Council member
“Congrats to beautiful Cleo on Heart Talk. She inspires the world with her love and shows us how to support ourselves and one another. We’re not made to be mean, people! Use community. Use support. Use love!”
—Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class by Taryn Toomey, and Well + Good Council member
“I’ve been reading historical fiction with a female protagonist ever since reading every book in the Little House on the Prairie series when I was little. I’m currently finishing The Mists of Avalon, an extraordinary retelling of the rise of Christianity during King Arthur’s reign in England through the eyes of the high priestess of the pre-existing goddess-based culture. Her journey through that experience has interesting emotional value for women today. Next, I’m about to start Circe, a retelling of the most infamous character from the Odyssey to show her as she likely really was without the shadow of patriarchy coloring it—very curious to see how this one unfolds.”
—Alisa Vitti, hormone expert, founder of FloLiving, and Well+Good Council member
“Reveal has been such a beautiful reminder of the power in surrendering to true, authentic, and deep self-love. Meggan Watterson is a brilliant author and an incredibly intelligent teacher through her words. I’ve been diving into it for a few months and haven’t wanted it to end. Inward is an amazing, delicious, and divinely-inspired book of poetry that fits just right when I’m taking a bath or wanting to ease my spirit and mind with some nourishing thoughts. The author’s words are simple and powerful. Cancer Hacks is my dear friend and teacher Elissa’s story—it’s inspirational and transformative. She has become my personal nutritionist and I’m constantly in awe of her strength, knowledge, and true gift in helping people heal their bodies.”
–Kelsey Patel, reiki master and empowerment coach, founder of Magik Vibes, and Well+Good Council member
“I’ll be suggesting Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy to many of my patients. It’s a celebration of the female body, an exploration of the science and psychology of pregnancy, and an often humorous look at nine life-altering months. Angela Garbes, herself a new mom, debunks common pregnancy myths and answers questions about everything from miscarriages to complicated labors to postpartum pelvic-floor injuries. Packed with information that’s up-to-date and well-researched, this is a smart book that also manages to be funny and reassuring.”
—Jill Blakeway, acupuncturist, herbalist and energy healer, founder of the YinOva Center, and Well+Good Council member
“Recommended to me by a trusted friend, Little Fires Everywhere is equally poignant and humorous, AKA a beach read with depth.”
—Lily Kunin, plant-based cook and health coach, founder of Clean Food, Dirty City, and Well+Good Council member
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