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Kayu Book Club: Summer Reading List

Summer reading has always been my favorite type of reading. What could be better than spending long, languid days by the pool with a cocktail in one hand and an engrossing book in the other? My favorite summer books are those that allow me to escape – be it a coming-of-age debut set in France, or a delicious satirical romp through New York and Capri. We might not be jumping on a plane any time soon but these delicious reads allow us to indulge our wanderlust all the same.

What We’re Reading

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

If you enjoyed Normal People by Sally Rooney you’ll love this quiet debut by Irish writer Naoise Dolan. Exciting Times follows young Irish expat Ava as she navigates a love triangle in post-97 Hong Kong. Class, wealth, gender and sexuality all come into play in a mesmerizing depiction of modern love.


And Their Children After Them by Nicolas Mathieu

This Prix Goncourt-winning novel is an elegiac portrait of teenagers growing up in a forgotten part of France. Mathieu captures the longing and awkwardness of being an adolescent in powerful prose and reveals the lives of those living on the margins.


Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

It was a scandalous sensation when it was released in the 1960s and is still as relevant today as it was all then. Vulgar, sexy and tragic it charts the lives of three young women trying to make their mark in New York City. It’s a pop culture classic you won’t be able to put down.


Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan of Crazy Rich Asians fame is back with a new and equally as delicious book. The setting may be different (this time we’re in the Hamptons and Capri) but the cast of characters are still filthy rich and just as catty. It’s the perfect antidote to a summer spent sequestered at home.


Rebel Chef by Dominique Crenn

I’ve been enamored of Dominique Crenn ever since I saw her on an episode of Chef’s Table so was excited to read her book. This inspiring memoir takes us from her childhood in France to San Francisco, where she eventually earns three Michelin stars for her restaurant Atelier Crenn. Crenn retells her journey from orphan to chef and activist with passion and honesty.


Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

This book isn’t new but I like to re-read it every summer. It’s a quiet novella that captures the spirit of first love in a poetic, unforgettable way. The movie is equally as good and worth it for the gorgeously filmed corners of Italy alone.