There’s a month left of Summer 2021, and it’s full of potential. After the stagnation, fear, and ambiguity of Summer 2020, Summer 2021 should be full of adventure, exploration, travel, and trying new things. So to fuel your lakeside lounges, your long flights to Prague or Cartagena or Tokyo, your post-hike relaxation time, and your cross-country road trips, we’ve put together a Just Enough reading list, stock full of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, biography, science fiction, and fantasy. So even when your summer adventures come to an end and it’s time to return to the real world, you’ll still have countless stories to dive into, and to pair with a delicious can of Just Enough!
Pinot Noir: Just as different Pinot Noirs can vary in taste and style, our reading guide to pair with Pinot is all over the place (in a good way). In this list, we have a mixture of magic realism, mythology, nonfiction, mystery, and dystopian fiction. Intrigue, lies, scandals, heartbreak, discovery, and romance await in these five titles.
Mexican Gothic--Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A glamorous take on horror fiction, Mexican Gothic captivates readers with its alluring main character, its regional intrigue, and its sinister plotline. Follow Noemí’s story as she begins to unravel the mysteries that her family is trapped within.
The Glass Hotel--Emily St. John Mandel
Smoke and mirrors, the whole way through. The Glass Hotel brings together global crime, small-town scandal, and suspicious deaths in an enchanting story of corruption, and the lives it sweeps up in its grasp.
The Splendid and the Vile--Erik Larson
An in-depth look at Winston Churchill’s early years as Prime Minister, ranging from his personal and family affairs to his decisions regarding World War II, London, and its citizens, and America’s involvement in the war.
The Testaments--Margaret Atwood
The brilliant follow-up to Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments continues the story of Gilead and its women. While it answers some questions left over from The Handmaid’s Tale, the sequel puts forth more unanswerable questions of its own.
The Song of Achilles--Madeline Miller
Heartbreaking and heart-healing all at once, The Song of Achilles is a wondrous retelling of the Greek hero Achilles and his relationship with Patroclus. From the forests and hills of Phthia to the raging battles of the Trojan War, Miller’s story provides a dazzling perspective to this epic story.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay can be as crisp as a spring meadow, or as buttery and heartwarming as a cozy blanket in front of a fireplace. This book list has both! Inspiring words from a great leader, fun stories about challenging bank robberies, passionate literary fiction, and, of course, slaying vampires (rumor has it that drinking chardonnay keeps the vampires away).
Anxious People--Frederik Backman
Full of Backman’s charm and brilliant characters, Anxious People unites a wary bunch of strangers through bizarre circumstances, ultimately leading to friendships, revelations, and answers.
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas--Gertrude Stein
Written by Stein, narrated by Toklas, this look into the early 20th century in Paris shows readers what life was like for these two entrepreneurial women. Toklas and Stein’s Parisian apartment became a breeding ground for some of the world’s best-known visionaries, from Picasso to Hemingway to Matisse.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires--Grady Hendrix
This Charleston-based horror has a lot going for it--small-town scandals, mysterious murders, love affairs, and adventure the whole way through. Hendrix’s captivating (and, if you are confronted with a vampire, important) guide will keep readers on their toes, ready for the next monster to come along.
On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous--Ocean Vuong
One of those books you need to read two or three times before the messages start to hit before the truth of Vuong’s words embeds themselves into your heart. His debut, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous takes a close look at immigration, sexuality, race, and class, and family ties.
A message of hope and perseverance in times that often seem shrouded in unpleasantness. Michelle Obama’s memoir brings in stories from her childhood and young adulthood that inform her many decisions as the First Lady.
Rosé: Light and playful, yet full of meaning, our rosé inspires beach days, chasing dreams, and setting off on great adventures. The five books below do much of the same. Whether you’re tracking Odysseus back to Ithaca, discovering the ins and outs of Silicon Valley, or unraveling an unexpected Cape Cod mystery, you won’t be able to put these ones down.
Big Summer--Jennifer Weiner
Plus-size fashion Influencer meets Cape Cod wedding meets murder mystery meets romance. This book packs a big punch, with each twist and turn creating more intrigue and scandal. Weiner’s penchant for plot is matched by her wit, humor, and insight.
Uncanny Valley--Anna Wiener
Not every startup is as bright and shiny as they’re made out to be, and Anna Wiener gives us a peek into what the California Bay Area startup industry can be like. As touching as it is disturbing, Uncanny Valley sheds light on the beautiful and brusque sides of startups.
People We Meet on Vacation--Emily Henry
A story of friendship, love, traveling, and things going impossibly wrong, People We Meet on Vacation paints a picture of light-hearted travels taking a meaningful turn. Alex and Poppy’s story will bring laughter, confusion, and soft smiles to your sweet summer days.
The classic of classics, the most epic of epics. The Odyssey, attributed to Homer, tells the story of Odysseus’ adventurous return to Ithaca from the Trojan War. You get monsters, witches, weavers, singers, seducers, lovers, battles, soldiers, and so much more from this journey.
Normal People--Sally Rooney
A book about just what the title says: Normal People. This sweet, yet frustrating story of Marianne and Connell will have you simultaneously swooning and shaking your head. From their youth in a small town to the world of college into the craziness of adulthood, their story echoes that of millions of normal people all over the world.
Brut Bubbles: Drinking bubbles do not have to be confined to celebrating an event or achievement. Bubbles can be a go-to for any old Tuesday, especially when you have one of these reads in hand. Simultaneously light and full of complexity, provoking questions and providing answers, the stories, characters, and plots of these books will have you reaching over for the Brut Bubbles again, and again, and again.
You Never Forget Your First--Alexis Coe
The biographies of George Washington will keep coming, but Alexis Coe’s take on our first leader’s story is fresh, fun, and full of facts! Forget the dry monotony of other biographies you may have read; Coe’s take will have you turning pages as quickly as your favorite murder mystery.
This Side of Paradise--F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald’s debut novel and the book that tossed his name into the 1920s canon, This Side of Paradise reveals aspects of Fitzgerald’s persona as well as the Jazz era in New York City. Regarding loss, love, identity, and ambition, this classic story will have you lifting your Brut Bubbles in a toast again and again.
Transcendent Kingdom--Yaa Gyasi
Gyasi’s second novel, Transcendent Kingdom, provides an invaluable look at religion, faith, science, addiction, and family. With language as beautiful as it is complex, and characters that you cannot help but adore, Gyasi’s novel has the power to resonate with a wide swath of the American population.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue--V.E. Schwab
Sparkling, romantic, powerful, and evocative. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is fantasy at its best, with just enough magic to transport you away from reality, and just enough reality to make the magic hit home. The story follows a girl and her devil, and the long road she’s taken to come to terms with her curse.
The Answer Is…--Alex Trebek
Though his body may be gone from the Earth, Alex Trebek’s spirit lives on in the hundreds of “Jeopardy” episodes, and now in this fantastic autobiography, published just months before his death. While we know and love his television presence, his self-told story allows readers remarkable insight into his off-camera personality.
So there you have it, a reading list that is sure to keep your end-of-summer schedule 'booked'. Sit back, crack open your favorite can of Just Enough Wines and enjoy.