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Kayu Book Club: Summer Reading List

Photo by Olga Tutunaru on Unsplash

Summer at sunset is my favorite time to read. My ideal spot is in a comfortable chair next to an open window or patio door where I settle in half an hour before the sun goes down, when the light is dimming but there’s still plenty of it to decipher the words on the page. Usually I have a chilled glass of wine within reach and something sturdy to prop my feet on.

On occasion I’ve gotten so engrossed in my book that I’ve missed the sun setting entirely, only realizing when the room is so dark I’m forced to turn on a lamp. But most times I remember to look up and am filled with awe at the fiery pink sky. Summer reading; could there be a greater pleasure?


What We’re Reading

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Breasts and Eggs won Japan’s coveted Akutagawa Prize and made Mieko Kawakami a literary feminist icon. This deeply original and intimate book invites us into the lives of three contemporary women as they navigate womanhood, family and modern life. You’ll fall hard for Natsu, Makiko and Midoriko.


Finding Freedom by Erin French

A good friend recommended this book and I’ve slowly but surely become obsessed with Erin French and her restaurant The Lost Kitchen. Finding Freedom starts off in small town Freedom, Maine where French roams barefoot on a 25-acre farm and follows her as she navigates motherhood, addiction and depression. Her ultimate survival and renewal through food is a classic and unputdownable American story.


How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Imbolu Mbue’s new book ever since reading her first novel Behold The Dreamers). Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, Mbue’s second novel tells the story of a fearless young woman who starts a revolution against an American oil company. How Beautiful We Were is a contemporary fable about greed, capitalism, colonialism and what happens when people come together.


Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Animal is a fearless, intoxicating debut novel that explores female rage and sexuality. The plot follows an emotionally traumatized woman as she moves to California after witnessing a horrific event. There she unravels what happened to her as a child that has haunted her and finds the power to strike back. A propulsive thriller that will leave you in awe.


Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

In this tender memoir, Michelle Zauner tells of growing up Korean American, losing her mother to cancer and finding her own way. Crying in H Mart takes us from mother-daughter bonding in Seoul over midnight snacks, to caring for her mother after her cancer diagnosis. A powerful memoir that’s especially heart wrenching if you’ve ever lost a parent.



The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

This stunning debut novel follows four musician’s journeys through the competitive world of classical music and how they navigate ambition, disappointment and love. An unputdownable tale of modern friendship.