Just because the pandemic has kept us away from the beach this summer doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the best beach reads. In the spirit of finding our own beach, why not set up a hammock in our backyard or neighborhood park to enjoy the weather and a good book?

Here at Envisionit, we’ve been talking a lot about what summer reads are helping us cope with staying close to home, so we’ve compiled a list of our teams’ favorite books they’re reading this summer. Whether you’re into thrillers, sci-fi, historical fiction, or important and timely nonfiction, there’s something on this list for everyone to dive into! We’ll be highlighting local Chicago bookstores where you can find and purchase these reads.

The Silent Patient Book Cover

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Celadon Books; First Edition edition (February 5, 2019)
If you enjoy murder mysteries or psychological thrillers, this book is a must. The Silent Patient is about a happily married artist who murders her husband and then never speaks again. Client Experience Manager Brooke said she read it from cover to cover in only a day!

Interested? You can purchase from Bookends and Beginnings here.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Later Printing edition (August 14, 2018)

Derek, our Senior Web Developer says of the book, “I don’t typically read a lot of fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing.” This story follows two timelines that slowly intertwine. The first timeline chronicles the life and adventures of a young girl named Kya as she grows up in a remote marsh of North Carolina in the 1950s and 60s. The second timeline follows a murder investigation of a local celebrity in a nearby fictional coastal town of North Carolina. It’s also worth noting that the book has topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and 2020 for a combined 30 non-consecutive weeks.

You can purchase from Women & Children First bookstore here.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (May 27, 2003)
A true classic. Brian, our Manager of Digital Solutions says, “Over twenty years after reading it, and I still have yet to find a book that can knock The Count of Monte Cristo off the mantle for my favorite book. It’s the most badass tale of vengeance ever written, and the writing is so incredible that it’s the only book where I have passages marked, sentences underlined, etc.”

You can purchase from Volumes Bookcafe here.

How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

One World; First Edition edition (August 13, 2019)
How to Be Anti-Racist discusses the concepts of racism and Kendi’s proposals for individual actions in one’s life along with systemic changes that need to take place in order for us to live in a more equitable nation. Jeff, our Technology Director says of the book, “A bit heavy, but also timely. I’m trying to be my best self.” For anyone trying to incorporate more anti-racist work in their lives, this book is a must.

Buy from Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery here.

The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation

The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reissue edition (August 7, 2007)

If you’re a fan of historical non-fiction, Chris Taylor our Motion Designer recommends The Gulag Archipelago. Written by Russian writer and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1973, it covers life in what was known as the Gulag, the Communist Soviet forced labour camp system. The story is constructed from a series of sources including reports, interviews, statements, diaries, legal documents, and Solzhenitsyn’s own experience as a Gulag prisoner.

You can purchase from Women & Children First bookstore here.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

St. Martin’s Griffin; Reprint edition (April 25, 2017)
Marissa, our VP of Operations says, “The Nightingale takes place in Nazi-occupied France during WWII from the perspective of the women who had to deal with the war at home and having to harbor the German soldiers. There are a lot of plot lines and most are historical fiction with accuracy in the events surrounding the characters, but one of them is based on a real person—a bad ass girl working for the Resistance. Apparently, it’s going to be a movie soon, but the book is always better.” There’s no better time to check out this book before the movie comes out next year!

You can purchase from Pilsen Community Books here.

Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Del Rey (2000)
If you’re looking for a quarantine read that hits a little too close to home, then our Executive Vice President, Jason Goldberg recommends Snow Crash. He says, “So I just re-read this, and it was certainly a trip to read again, particularly during a global viral pandemic where we’ve all been forced to go digital…if you’re looking for your next pizza-delivery-driving, samurai-sword-wheeling hacker digging into ancient Sumerian mythology to fight a potential global threat, then look no further.”

You can purchase from Bookends & Beginnings here.

Hopefully one of these books will spark your interest. In the meantime, Envisionit wishes you a safe and healthy summer!

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