The Lists

The Perfect Books to Read in the Month of June

the perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June

What are the best books to read in June 2020? We’ve previously shared our top picks of 2019 (many of which are now out in paperback) and our most-anticipated new releases for 2020. We’ve also shared a list of the fantastic new book releases in June 2020.  If you’re in search of still more ideas, here’s our take on the perfect books to read that capture the mood of the month of June. Not just June 2020 – any June.

recommended reads for the month of June

So many books, so little time! Reading can be one of life’s sweetest luxuries. But how to quickly find the next great volume to dive into? To lend a hand, every month we share our Dandelion Chandelier Recommended Reads: books that we’ve personally read and loved – some brand new, and some published long ago. Selected to suit the season, we think they deserve a place on your nightstand. Or your e-reader. In your backpack. Or your carry-on bag. You get the idea.

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In this edition: the perfect books to read in June. We think these books best capture the mood and the essential spirit of the month.

the perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

what is the essential spirit of june?

If you ask us, June is the perfect mash-up of spring and summer: the flowers, trees and grass are still vibrant and fresh. The temperatures are warmer, but not oppressively so. The breezes are soft, and not yet sticky. There’s an ineffable, intoxicating fragrance in the air. Along with a sense of wildness that’s just barely under control.

The month of June is one of those moments when life feels perfectly in balance. There are sufficiently smart cultural offerings and events to keep the brain engaged. And a sufficient number of pool parties, beach bonfires and dances under the stars to keep the heart and spirit aloft.

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

It’s the end of many things: the school year, college, and final exams. And the beginning of many things: marriages, road trips, summer, and gardens in bloom.

As July approaches, the serious and the substantive start to fall away, and the silly and serene take over. At its very core, June is a journey to a happy place.

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what makes for the best June reading list?

To capture the fragrance, the taste, the very feel and essence of June, what makes for the perfect reading list this month? 

We think the perfect June read should be centered around love. After all, it’s the month of weddings. And Father’s Day. Of budding summer romances – many of which play out during a summer travel escapade in a foreign land. Of course, love stories often end in heartbreak. That’s part of the mood of June, too.

Of course, June is also about getting outdoors and starting summer adventures and travels. So nature lovers should also be well-represented on June nightstands, and the trees that shelter us deserve some love, too.

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

The perfect June read should also teach us something – just because school’s ending doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. And the best books to read in June also have something to say about the very nature of summer itself.

perfect books to read in the month of june

Given that, here’s our list of books that are ideal reads for the month of June. Tuck one into your tote on your way to the beach; or crack one open during your evening commute; curl up with one while you’re out glamping under the stars; read one aloud on Midsummer’s Night; or pour a glass of rosé and dive into one as you lounge by the pool.

‘Cause what’s a June journey without a great book along for the ride?

the perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

1. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid wins the prize for “most June of all.” It’s about passionate love, rock-and-roll, road trips. And plenty of naughty behavior with minimal consequences. What could be more June than that? Jenkins Reid does a masterful job channeling the voices and stories of a myriad cast of characters in a rock and roll band in the 1970’s. It’s funny, tender, poignant and wildly romantic. It doesn’t matter if you have any interest in the decade or the musical genre. We had neither and almost didn’t read this book. And we loved it. 

2. Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers.

Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers. A new release just in time for summer reading, this is an excellent novel about what women will do to be thin. And where those pressures to be skinny come from. It sounds like a heavy subject, but in Meyers’ hands, it’s delightfully light.

A multi-racial cast of women agree to check into a mysterious weight-loss facility in Vermont, knowing that they’re being filmed for a reality TV show. What brought them there, what happens in Vermont, and the after-effects of their visit drive the plot. But what makes this book such an enjoyable read is that issues of race, gender, class, parenting, body image, self-esteem, Western culture, familial relations and courage are all fully addressed in the most natural way possible. It’s smart, funny and provocative. A perfect June read that will have you feeling a lot more confident about your body when you head for the beach. No matter who you are.

3. The Adults by Caroline Hulse.

The Adults by Caroline Hulse. While this novel of manners is set at Christmastime, it’s actually a perfect book to read in June. Smart, sharp, and fast, it’s just the right mix of light and serious for right now. Two couples set out for Christmas vacation at the Happy Forest holiday park: a divorced couple – each with a new partner – and their precocious daughter. And her invisible friend. Lust, envy, alcohol and forced family fun combine in explosively funny ways. And through it all runs a thread of genuine desire for love and connection that makes this a deeply satisfying read.

the perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June

4. Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane. 

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane. This is the perfect slide-into-summer read: charming, involving travel, a love interest, and a protagonist who loves books. Plus, lots of useful information about trees. What more could one ask for? May is an introvert, and a university gardener more comfortable with plants than people. When a financial windfall allows her the freedom to travel, she embarks on a journey to reconnect with four once-close friends. One by one, she visits them at their homes. It’s a female Odyssey that raises the intriguing question: what might have happened if instead of waiting patiently at home, Penelope had set out on an adventure of her own?

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5. The Cactus League by Emily Nemens. 

The Cactus League by Emily Nemens. Baseball is the iconic summer sport, and this novel about spring training in Arizona is a lovely way to indulge in the sport even if you have no real interest in it. Narrated by a sportscaster, we follow the story of Jason Goodyear, star outfielder for the fictional Los Angeles Lions. It’s interspersed with tales of  a batting coach trying to stay relevant; a resourceful groupie; a sports agent who’s realizing that he’s past his prime. And bounty of other assorted hangers-on, all striving to be seen as the new season approaches.

6. The Resisters by Gish Jen.

The Resisters by Gish Jen. This dystopian novel is a mash-up of baseball, politics and a coming-of-age story about a wildly talented young woman athlete. In a not-too-distant future, America is rigidly divided. The angel-fair “Netted” have jobs and live on the high ground. The “Surplus” live on swampland if they’re lucky, on water if they’re not. When a “Surplus” girl emerges as a baseball phenom, she finds herself playing ball with the Netted even as her mother challenges the very foundations of society.

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

7. Stay Up with Hugo Best by Erin Somers.

Stay Up with Hugo Best by Erin Somers. June Bloom is twenty-nine, broke, and an aspiring comedy writer. Hugo Best is a beloved late-night TV icon and notorious womanizer in his sixties who invites her to his mansion for Memorial Day Weekend. “No funny business,” he insists. This is the story of their long weekend together – and it’s not what you think.

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8. The Overstory by Richard Powers.

The Overstory by Richard Powers. In this novel of the woods, an Air Force fighter in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky and saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that the trees surrounding him are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers―each summoned in different ways by trees―are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

9. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst with a foreword by Tim Flannery. The perfect companion to the fictional account of trees and their communicative abilities in The Overstory, this award-winning scientific treatise by forester Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. You may never view the woodlands quite the same way ever again.

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

The perfect books to read to capture the mood of the month of June.

10. The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger. 

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger. A deeply felt and brilliantly crafted novel of cross-cultural love, this novel is the tale of Amina Mazid, a 24-year old woman from Bangladesh who agrees to migrate to Rochester, New York, to marry George Stillman – a man who met and wooed her online. She does it to help her elderly parents, and believes that she is leaving behind any residual feelings for a charismatic and unmarried friend of her family who remains in her homeland but stays in contact with her. The precise descriptions of upstate New York in winter, and Bangladesh in summer – the delicate rendering of the dilemmas of a young woman trying to please both her parents and herself – make this a must-read for any romantic at heart.

11. Summer by Ali Smith.

We end our list of perfect books to read in the month of June with the final entry in the Seasonal Quartet. It’s a gorgeous set of novels, and it’s rather important that you read them in the order in which they were written. Each one deals full-on with the difficulties of the present day – this last one even explicitly addresses what COVID-19 has wrought in the world. And yet the themes are timeless: heartache and loss, dreams and love, cruelty and compassion, our obligations to each other and to ourselves.

When the series began we were puzzled that Smith chose to begin in autumn – which in many ways is a season of endings – and to end the series in summer. Which had seemed to us to be the least emotional and most inconclusive of all seasons. We were wrong. Turns out there’s a lot more to summer than we knew.

This is a brilliant conclusion to a series of unforgettable novels. Provocative, cerebral, witty and wry; in love with words and their meaning, deeply sentimental and yet bracingly clear-eyed; reading any one of these books is like a long conversation with a beloved and brilliant old friend: we laughed, we cried, we learned a remarkable number of new facts – and in the end, we emerged refreshed and permanently changed. For the better.

perfect books to read in the month of june

What to read in June? Those are our picks for 10 books to read in June that we think accurately capture the mood of the month. What’s on your reading list this month?

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

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