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Summer book club: Must-reads this season
by Liz |  May 16, 2014

Maybe it's the extra time we have on our hands, the warm weather, or the longer and sunnier days, but something about summer makes us want to pick up a book. Whether it's your way of winding down after a long work day or how you spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, reading is the ultimate relaxing activity. So the only question is, what will you be flipping through?

There are some novels that are nearly made for basking on a beach, a patio or a park bench during the hotter months. Here are some of our top picks for this summer.

"Friendship" - Emily Gould
You'll have to be patient until July 1 for this book to hit shelves, but it's well worth the wait. Time Out Chicago noted that it's most likely comparison is the hit HBO series "Girls," so if you're a fan of the show, there's a good chance you'll be eagerly turning the pages of Gould's story. The New York City blogger's narrative focuses on relationships between people in their twenties, as well as how they change or erode over time - and so it's bound to be relatable for a variety of readers. The site called Gould an "honest writer," so don't expect any over-the-top rom-com antics.

"Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" - Sheryl Sandberg
In a professional rut? You'll hardly find a more inspiring book than this one from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The Clutch Guide praised her for her dedication to empowering women in the working world - and considering the fact that she's been ranked one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World and Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, it's clear that Sandberg has more than proved herself. You can check out her 2010 TEDTalk on how women limit themselves career-wise, and what they can do to seek out challenges, take worthy risks and pursue their aspirations with confidence. In this book, though, she delves more deeply into these topics, backing up her assertions with fascinating facts and research as well as personal anecdotes. Yes, according to Sandberg, you can "have it all." 

"A Hundred Summers" - Beatriz Williams
It's no wonder this book, which came out last year, made Oprah's Summer Reading List. The source called it a "fast-paced love story," but really, "A Hundred Summers" covers so much more than romance - including a social scandal, a complex friendship and a devastating betrayal. Set on a picture-perfect oceanfront community in the summer of 1938, it's a fitting book for the season. Kate Stahl, contributing editor for PopSugar, insisted that you'll become so lost in the story that you'll feel as if you're experiencing every emotion felt by the protagonist Lily Dane, a Manhattan socialite.

"Instant Happy" - Karen Salmansohn
Think of this as the ultimate inspirational guide for people who hate self-help books. Written by bestselling author and positivity guru Karen Salmansohn, the title "Instant Happy" says it all. Filled with optimistic but thought-provoking phrases and cheerful graphics, each page turn is an instant shot of positive energy. Colorful, witty and uplifting, it's the perfect pick for those dog days of summer when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. 

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