Due to COVID-19, summer plans have been halted for almost everyone. In addition to managing work, rethinking childcare, and processing what’s going on, many people have also had more time on their hands to take on new projects, read new books or even learn new skills.

Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, our team has compiled a list of book recommendations to read this summer that range from fiction and memoirs to short stories that can take your mind off of the stress of everyday life. No matter what your plan for the long weekend is, here are a few books we recommend:


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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother.

“After a friend recommended the book, I started reading it and was immediately drawn to the characters and storytelling. But then, I found out Tom Hanks narrated it on Audible and picked up listening to the book and fell even more in love!” – Cori Cagide, Senior Account Manager 


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Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York by Sari Botton 

In this captivating collection, 28 writers take up Joan Didion’s literary legacy – an essay called Goodbye to All That, a work of such candid and penetrating prose that it soon became the gold standard for personal essays – by sharing their own New York stories.

“If you are a NYC lover like me, this is an absolute must read. It’s based on Joan Didion’s prolific personal essay from 1967 called Goodbye to All That, detailing her story of loving and leaving New York. In this book, 28 writers share their own New York stories through this bundle of essays, and it’s really touching and beautifully written. One writer wrote about New York: “I noticed that you could cry in public and people carefully ignored you-not maliciously, but because it’s understood that privacy is in short supply.”

As someone who has lived here for 6 years and has been through it all with this city – the best nights of my life filled with dancing and laughter and good wine, to the days crying in the middle of the street after a tough conversation, to meeting strangers that change everything and become people you don’t know how you ever lived without, etc., this book nailed the true love story that is at the heart of this city for those who have lived here and adored it.”  – Allie Novak, Senior Media Strategist 


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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante 

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila.

“If you’re looking for a lazy summer read that transports you somewhere outside of your house (and off your couch), quarantine might be the perfect time to finally tackle Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. Translated from her native Italian and taking place in her hometown of Naples, the series follows the complicated friendship of two women over the course of fifty years.

The books are hefty – all together, the four books clock in around 1500 pages – and they’re slow moving in a poetic kind of way, but what else are you doing? Bonus: the first two books were recently adapted into an HBO series that gives you all of the Italian landscape shots you need to get you through a sheltered-in-place summer.” – Naomi Sabbah, Senior Account Executive


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The Island at the Center of the World by Russel Shorto 

Drawing on this remarkable archive, Russell Shorto has created a gripping narrative–a story of global sweep centered on a wilderness called Manhattan–that transforms our understanding of early America. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.

“For anyone looking for perspective on our current situation this story charts the forgotten (or previously hidden) Dutch origins and history of Manhattan and is a good reminder that New York has been through a lot and has always overcome challenges.” – Becky Honeyman, Managing Partner


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Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff 

Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals.

“For tech lovers thinking about all the changes that might be accelerated as a result of COVID, Team Human is a manifesto of how we rebuild and reframe our community with tech bringing us together rather than dividing us.” – Becky Honeyman, Managing Partner 


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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson 

In A Sunburned Country is Bill Bryson’s report on Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet.

“I found this story hysterical and the way Bryson describes his travels in Australia is so fun to read at a time when we’re all at home an