It’s summertime, and if there’s one guilty pleasure you should gift yourself, it’s finding a book you love. We’ve all been there: a friend says, “You should read this book!” and your eyes roll because you really DON’T have time. Well, we get it. BUT it’s not stopping us from suggesting a reading list, because we’re pretty certain there is a book here for everyone.

THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

by Eve Ensler
We’ve all heard of this book but not enough of us have actually read it in its entirety. Do it. Eve Ensler talked to more than 200 women about their lady parts and the result is worth the hype. You’ll read into the souls of women just like you and nothing like you—but you will feel part of a sisterhood.

Sneak peak “Looking at it, I started crying. Maybe it was knowing that I had to give up the fantasy, the enormous life consuming fantasy , that someone or something was going to do this for me – the fantasy that someone was coming to lead my life, to choose direction, to give me orgasms.”

THE MOTHER TRIP

by Ariel Gore
This isn’t just an easy read; it’s unapologetically fun. Ariel Gore takes us on the wild adventure that was her experience of becoming a mother, from getting pregnant at 19 to giving birth in an Italian nunnery. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll forgive yourself for being perfectly you.

Sneak peak “We need time to ourselves, moments of awareness, connections, meaningful work. We need cheap art, good sex, nights at the bowling alley and days at the beach. We need good coffee, hearty meals, lush gardens and time to relax and enjoy our lives without worrying so much that we are good enough mothers or skinny enough girlfriends or wives. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can mother our children soulfully and lead lives worth living.”

TROPIC OF CANCER

by Henry Miller
Trashy erotic novels are always fun—why not throw in a classic erotic novel? Henry Miller broke a lot of rules when it came to literature and was very good at it. If “poetically raunchy” were a technical term, I’m sure it would have been in his biography.

Sneak peak “I too love everything that flows: rivers, sewers, lava, semen, blood, bile, words, sentences. I love the amniotic fluid when it spills out of the bag. I love the kidney with it’s painful gall-stones, it’s gravel and what-not; I love the urine that pours out scalding and the clap that runs endlessly; I love the words of hysterics and the sentences that flow on like dysentery and mirror all the sick images of the soul.”

BIRDSONG

by Sebastian Falks
“A Novel of Love And War.” Equal parts mystery, love, action, and history story, this book will suck you in then spit you out. You’ll be left satisfactorily raw, thinking of nothing but the whirlwind of a journey you were taken on.

Sneak peak “All my life I had lived on the presumption that there was no existence beyond… flesh, the moment of being alive… then nothing. I had searched in superstition… But there was nothing. Then I heard the sound of my own life leaving me. It was so… tender. I regretted that I had paid it no attention. Then I believed in the wisdom of what other men had found before me… I saw that those simple things might be true… I never wanted to believe in them because it was better to fight my own battle. You can believe in something without compromising the burden of your own existence.”

RAISING CAIN: PROTECTING THE EMOTIONAL LIFE OF BOYS

by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
Just as important in understanding our own skin is understanding that of the opposite sex. Seems like we are either raising them or are in relationships with them. And although growing up is tough for everyone, statistics show that men are at a much higher risk for mental illnesses. Written by two of the country’s leading child psychologists with 35 years of combined experience, Raising Cain explores the connection between raising boys to be “men” and thereby starving them of “emotional literacy.”

Sneak peak “Most important, a boy needs male modeling of a rich emotional life. He needs to learn emotional literacy as much from his father and other men as from his mother and other women, because he must create a life and language for himself that speak with male identity. A boy must see and believe that emotions belong in the life of a man.”

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