Published on July 9, 2019

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photography by J. Waite

Lisa Taddeo has been busy writing her book—for almost a decade. But now, the fruits of her labor is here: Three Women has hit shelves, and it’s set to be one of the most-talked-about reads of the year. 

Over the course of eight years, Taddeo drove across America, accumulating stories from women of all different backgrounds, honing in on how they all felt one particular emotion: desire. The result of her research is a compelling work of nonfiction detailing three individual women’s experiences that reads with the fluidity of a novel. It’s a book that should absolutely make it onto your summer reading list. 

But the season is long and you’ll zip through Three Women, never wanting to put it down. You’ll need more books to enjoy. So will Taddeo. “When I lived in the city, I used to go to day spas—nothing fancy—and just sit there with a book. Now I read at my desk a lot, but it varies,” she says. “I love reading in coffee shops and going to dinner by myself, sitting at the bar, and reading a book. It’s the coziest thing.”

Now that she’s set to go on her book tour (and hopefully get a little downtime with her family), Taddeo has put together her own summer reading list—and luckily she’s shared it with us. 

Sing to It by Amy Hempel

Elevator pitch: This selection of short stories explores lonely characters who explore regret, reflect on their relationships, and search for meaning in their experiences. 

The gist: You will feel all the feelings.

Why it’s on Taddeo’s list: “I love Amy Hempel, and I always love everything she writes. It’s been a while since she came out with something. This one is on my desk staring right at me.”

The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard

Elevator pitch: Two orphaned sisters leave Australia for postwar England, and over a span of about 30 years discover how love, betrayal, and death can feel as predestined as the movements of the planets.

The gist: If you want an expertly executed novel that gets deep into human emotion, here you go.

Why it’s on Taddeo’s list: “Three people told me about this book and that it was amazing—they all mentioned it separately and around the same time, and it’s an old book, so that was kind of eerie. I was like, Okay, I clearly have to read this.”

Let’s Hope for the Best by Carolina Setterwall

Elevator pitch: A widow chronicles life after the sudden death of her husband, but when a new love starts to blossom, she finds that grief is complicated. 

The gist: This intense read is no lite summer fare, but it’s sure to keep you captivated.

Why it’s on Taddeo’s list: “I heard [Setterwall] speak at an authors’ dinner I attended. The book is fiction, but it’s somewhat based on a real-life experience. It’s about a woman who loses her husband when she has a six-month-old baby. It happens rather suddenly and tragically—just hearing her talk about it was so affecting.”

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Elevator pitch: In the Depression era, an English woman moves to small-town Kentucky for love. When she signs on to become a traveling horseback librarian (yes, it was a thing), she finds friendship—and some hardship—she never expected.

The gist: We know and love Jojo Moyes for her emotional and romantic books. While this one doesn’t come out till early October, you might as well use the summer to get caught up on everything else she’s written.

Why it’s on Taddeo’s list: “She’s just so transporting and everything she writes makes me feel like I’m in the world that I want to be in when I’m reading fiction—which is a different one.”

Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery

Elevator pitch: A collection of stories about women in constrained roles (the celebrity’s girlfriend and the widower’s second wife, for instance) defying the expectations and rules placed on them. (Note: This book debuts in the U.S. in January, but technically you can get it in the U.K. now—hint, hint.)

The gist: It’s biting and funny all at once. If you’re a big fan of Sally Rooney, this is another Irish author you should get to know.

Why it’s on Taddeo’s list: “My editor at my publisher in the U.K., Bloomsbury, gave this book to me and said that she thought I would love it. I already read the first couple of pages in the first story and it’s awesome.”

See more book recommendations:
What to Read This Summer, Based on How You Want to Feel
I Read 60-Plus Books Every Year—Here’s How I Do It
The Best Books on Love, According to Author Blythe Roberson

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