Jimmy Fallon, authors and booksellers dish on the summer’s best beach reads
“The Tonight Show” is giving viewers summer homework.
Host Jimmy Fallon recently announced his first-ever book club, “Tonight Show Summer Reads,” with a roster of five potential books spanning genres like romance thrillers, fantasy and murder mystery. Viewers voted for their favorite, and the winner will be revealed on Friday night’s show.
“Summer’s here, and I don’t really have books to read,” the NBC late-night host said after his opening monologue last week. “But I want to be there. I want to be walking around with that book that everyone’s got, like, ‘Oh, you?’ Yeah, me.”
Fallon said that he hasn’t seen a “book club since Oprah,” and revealed the five books he chose as contenders include “Providence” by Caroline Kepnes; “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi; “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin; “The Good Son” by You-Jeong Jeong; and “IQ” by Joe Ide, which Fallon deemed a “good investment type of book” since the sequels have already been confirmed.
Fallon must have missed the memo, considering fellow celebs like Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes and Emma Roberts have long been curating recommended reading lists that have attracted a cult-like following.
Many “Tonight Show” fans were thrilled when Fallon announced he was having his own book club, and said that the funnyman had motivated them consider joining.
“I’m pumped that he’s doing one,” Westchester County native Jaclyn Ryan, 26, who voted for “The Immortalists,” told Moneyish. “I feel like with national attention like this, whatever book wins will become very popular and then I’ll have fomo (fear of missing out) if I don’t read it.”
Ryan was pleasantly surprised that Fallon didn’t pick the same-old best sellers like “Gone Girl” and “The Girl On The Train” which, she said, piqued her interest to join and to recruit her friends even more.
“I was interested in his book club because he didn’t pick any typical psychological-thriller types, because honestly I’m so sick of those,” she said
Fallon’s new book club comes at a time when more people are actually buying books. Print book unit sales are up 2.2% year-to-date in the U.S. as of this week, market research firm NPD BookScan confirmed to Moneyish. And 2017 print book sales rose 1.9% over 2016, according to Publishers Weekly.com.
And thanks to movies like “Book Club,” and the likes of Emma Watson, Rhimes and Witherspoon recommending their favorite books for their social media followers, reading stands to keep gaining a rewarding reputation. Books are also getting their due on TV. PBS debuted “The Great American Read,” an eight-part TV series hosted by Meredith Viera last month billed as a search for America’s “#1 Best-Loved Book.” It features interviews with authors and celebrities who are promoting the power of reading. The list is comprised of novels across a number of genres and spanning 15 different countries and five centuries with books like “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn;” “Pride and Prejudice” and even “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
And while reading a good book can be a great escape from today’s dismal news cycle, turns out, reading is a critical part of staving off Alzheimer’s, according to Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai — plus, it can help improve and maintain brain health. According to the peer-reviewed journal Neurology, reading boosts brain power and improves memory function by giving your brain a workout, the same way going for a run gives your heart some exercise. And reading can also make you more empathetic, according to a 2014 PLOS One study that suggests reading fiction can improve readers’ ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes.
“I personally like to read an absorbing story like a great science fiction or mystery novel, but I often read classics when I’m on vacation,” John Evans, co-owner of Diesel, an independent bookstore with locations in northern and southern California, told Moneyish. “Most people ask for something they can just fall deeply into, where the storytelling seizes you and transports you.” Currently, he said, beach reads flying off his shelves include “Tangerine” by Christine Mangan, “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee and “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones.
“We find that people like faster-paced books like thrillers, romances, coming-of-age stories and stories about success in the city. Basically, murder, sex and money,” Donna Garban of Little City Books in Hoboken told Moneyish. Her favorites for the summer include “How Hard Can It Be” by Allison Pearson, “You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand” by Megan Abbott and “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh.
Here are 10 books worth reading this summer:
“Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win” by Jo Piazza
Known for her books “The Knock Off,” “How to Be Married” and “Fitness Junkie,” Piazza in her newest novel follows a woman who wants it all but isn’t sure how much she’s willing to sacrifice for it.
“Unwifeable” by Mandy Stadtmiller
Jenny McCarthy referred to Stadtmiller as a “real-life Carrie Bradshaw” after reading this memoir of a single 30-something writer who is looking for love in all the wrong places. “I knew when I was writing ‘Unwifeable’ that it would be a great beach read because that old adage is true: If you laugh or cry yourself when you are writing, the reader will too,” Stadtmiller told Moneyish.
“The Lido” by Libby Page
Settle into the sand with this feel-good novel that covers love, loss, aging and friendships in Brixton, London.
“When Life Gives you Lululemons” by Lauren Weisberger
Everyone’s favorite former magazine assistant, Emily Charlton, takes to the suburbs to try and make a professional comeback in this “The Devil Wears Prada” sequel.
“A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza
In the debut novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s Hogarth, this narrative of an Indian-American Muslim family spans decades as siblings explore the intricacies of cultural traditions and the new world.
“The Favorite Sister” by Jessica Knoll
If you’re all too familiar with society’s pressures to stay young and relevant, this tale of five women starring on a reality television series might hit close to home. In an unexpected twist, there’s a murder and an intense exploration of the barriers women face that prevent them from rising up the ranks.
“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer
This comic love story novel follows Arthur Less on a trip around the world, and it’s such a memorable one, that the book won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
“The Perfect Couple” by Elin Hilderbrand
Complete with a cover featuring an aerial beach photo, this novel takes place in Nantucket and chronicles a murder in the Harbor just a few hours before a lavish wedding is set to take place.
“Florida” by Lauren Groff
The sunshine state’s landscape, climate, history and state of mind are what make Groff’s novel the perfect accompaniment to the beach.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
Chronicling four generations of a Korean family, this National Book Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of 2017 follows a teenager at the turn of the century who falls for a wealthy stranger that she soon learns is already married.
“Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan
This multifaceted tale of the first female diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, the mysterious disappearance of her father and the old acquaintance she reunites with will keep you turning the page from sun up to sun down this summer.
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