30 Inspiring Books Worth Adding to Your COVID-19 Summer Reading List

November 2, 2020
Photo by Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

Few hobbies are more pandemic-proof or recession-proof than reading. Whether you prefer hardcovers or e-books, you can read just about anywhere. Many of us are still home-based, and below are 30 recommendations for those seeking some new titles for their reading lists.

Steffen Appel & Peter Wälty’s “The Goldfinger Files: The Making Of The Iconic Alpine Sequence In The James Bond Movie Goldfinger”

Perhaps the classic 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger” marked the beginning of 1960s Bondmania. Incorporating much unpublished

material, including photographs and the original typed screenplay, “The Goldfinger Files” is an illustrated history of the film’s iconic scenes shot in Switzerland’s Urseren Valley, as crowned by the car chase with Bond’s gadget-laden Aston Martin.

To maximize publicity for the film, its makers took the unorthodox step of inviting journalists and photographers onto the set, resulting in a wealth of photos, including those by Hans Gerber, Josef Ritler and Erich Kocian. In addition, you can expect dozens of private pictures revealing candid, behind-the-scenes moments complete this documentary flipbook of golden-age James Bond culture.

Dan Schlossberg “The New Baseball Bible: Notes, Nuggets, Lists, & Legends From Our National Pastime”

Dan Schlossberg has written over 25,000 articles and 40 books about baseball while covering it for 50 years for major media outlets and MLB.com. In turn, even the most rabid baseball fan ought to thrilled and educated by Schlossberg’s “The New Baseball Bible.” Called “The New Baseball Bible” because the weekly Sporting News tabloid called itself “the Bible of Baseball,” this unorthodox illustrated paperback is not only a tribute to baseball history but a treasure trove of Americana. Pick it up anywhere, flip the pages in any direction, and smiles will flow.

Thomas Koulopoulos “Reimagining Healthcare: How The Smartsourcing Revolution Will Drive The Future Of Healthcare & Refocus It On What Matters Most, The Patient”

In Thomas Koulopoulos’ new book “Reimagining Healthcare,” the author examines how we can fix healthcare without drastic policy change mired in politics and bureaucracy by implementing “smartsourcing.” What is smartsourcing, you ask? Simply put, it is a strategic decision by healthcare service providers (HSP) to invest more of their resources into developing its core competency while partnering on those areas that are outside of the core.The USA needs to make the transition from “sick care” to “healthcare,” and Koulopoulos clearly breaks down the “Ten Culprits” currently holding back most patients from experiencing the best healthcare possible.

Art Bell “Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central & Lost My Sense Of Humor”

In 1988, a young, mid-level employee named Art Bell pitched a novel concept to the chairman of HBO: a television channel which just focused on comedy. In turn, the station that would soon become Comedy Central was born. Bell’s new memoir “Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central & Lost My Sense Of Humor” takes readers behind the scenes into the comedy startup on its way to becoming one of the most successful and creative purveyors of popular culture in the United States.

From disastrous pitch meetings with comedians to the discovery of talents like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, this intimate and laugh-out-loud funny memoir peers behind the curtain and reveals what it’s really like to work, struggle, and ultimately succeed at the cutting edge of show business. “Constant Comedy” is Bell’s first memoir and hopefully not his last.

Dr. Justine Green “Completely Me”

“Completely Me” is a story about a little girl who never noticed there was something different about herself until others pointed it out. When she decides to stand up for herself, she teaches the townspeople an important lesson about acceptance.

In the words of Ellen Brazer, author of “Clouds Across The Sun, And So It Was Written” and “The Wondering Jew: My Journey Into Judaism”: “Beneath the context in this magical little book, Completely Me has an underlying honesty and truth that Justine Green touches with her beautiful words. Adults and children alike will be enriched by her message. Read and enjoy.”

Stevie Simkin “What Makes The Monkey Dance The Life And Music Of Chuck Prophet And Green On Red”

After helping kick-start the alt-country genre with Green On Red, Chuck Prophet has emerged as one of the most respected musicians of his generation. This authorized biography draws on extensive interviews with Prophet, plus fellow musicians, producers, friends, and associates. It was published to coincide with his new album, “The Land That Time Forgot.” It is not the only great title from Jawbone Press featured within this round-up.

Gary Greenberg “The Beer Diet: How To Drink Beer & Not Gain Weight”

Gary Greenberg was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. He attended Penn State University where he majored in rugby, beer and coeds and miraculously graduated with a B.A. degree in journalism in 1976. He has now been writing professionally for more than 40 years, primarily as an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Since 1999, he has owned and operated the freelance writing service SuperWriter, Inc.

Beer has been around since the tail end of the Stone Age, and it is more popular than ever in the 21st Century as the craft brewing industry explodes across America and beyond. Unfortunately, that creates a problem that beer-lovers tend to wear around their middle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In “The Beer Diet: How To Drink Beer & Not Gain Weight,” natural health journalist and avid homebrewer Gary Greenberg explains how small adjustments in your life can make a huge difference in your waistline, and your overall health. “The Beer Diet” not only offers invaluable health tips but also pays homage to the world’s most popular beverage and even shows you how to brew your own.

Talia Lavin “Culture Warlords: My Journey Into The Dark Web Of White Supremacy”

Talia Levin (Photo courtesy of Jeopardy)

Talia Lavin is every skinhead’s worst nightmare: a loud and unapologetic Jewish woman, acerbic, smart, and profoundly anti-racist, with the investigative chops to expose the tactics and ideologies of online hatemongers. “Culture Warlords” is the story of how Lavin stumbled into a byzantine online culture of hate, becoming one of the nation’s leading experts on how white supremacy proliferates online, who has herself become the frequent target of extremist trolls. Some journalists go into war zones in far-away places, but Lavin traverses war zones on the Internet.

Philip Goldberg “Spiritual Practice For Crazy Times”

Philip Goldberg has been studying the world’s spiritual traditions for more than 45 years. He is the author or co-author of some 25 books published in more than a dozen languages. His book “American Veda” was named by Huffington Post and Library Journal as one of the Top 10 Religion Books of 2010; it was followed in 2018 by the popular biography “The Life Of Yogananda.” He blogs on Spirituality & Health and cohosts the Spirit Matters podcast.

“Spiritual Practice For Crazy Times” has the tools and techniques you need to access the sanctuary of peace and fortress of strength within you – all at a moment’s notice, in whatever time you have available.

Jacob Grimm “The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales”

Featuring 211 classic tales from the Brothers Grimm – including favorites such as “Hansel and Gretel,” “Cinderella,” “The Frog Prince,” “Rapunzel,” “Snow White” and “Rumpelstiltskin” – “The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales” is accompanied by 40 color plates and 60 black-and-white illustrations from award-winning English illustrator Arthur Rackham, whose books and prints are now highly sought-after collectibles. The fourth book in the Timeless Classics series from Rock Point, it has nearly 800 pages of classic fairy tales to enjoy, making it a standout for your personal library collection.

Llama Nation 2021: 16-Month Calendar

With a handy page that shows the later month, as followed by individual pages for the months of 2021, this 12″ × 12″ wall calendar features stylish and captivating illustrations of llamas that will be sure to put a smile on your face all year long. So whether you are celebrating Llamakkah, Llamaween, or the 4th of Jully, “Llama Nation 2021” will have you in sassy stitches. It makes for an ideal gift for the animal lover, artistic friend, or llama aficionado in your life.

Tony Parker “Beyond All Of My Dreams”

Tony Parker had a dream. Everyone told him he would never achieve it. By the time he was three years old, Tony was already dribbling a basketball in his hometown of Gravelines in France. In his bedroom, surrounded by posters of his idol Michael Jordan, he imagined himself making it to the NBA and leading his team to a championship. Everyone told him to forget it. He was too short, too skinny, too slow. Besides, no NBA team would ever turn its fortunes over to a point guard from Europe.

After a 20-year professional career, four NBA championships, and an NBA Finals MVP award, it is safe to say Tony Parker has succeeded beyond all of his dreams. This candid, conversational autobiography takes fans on a whirlwind tour which includes Parker’s early life in France, his years in Texas alongside Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, and his time on the red carpet as part of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous couples. In turn, for the first time in the English language, the beloved Spurs point guard opens up about his life and career in the NBA, on the international stage, and beyond.

TableTopics Conversation Starter

With many of us venturing out of lockdown and hitting the road for some R&R, we may find ourselves with more quality time in the car these days. The TableTopics Conversation Starter collection is a super-fun way to pass the time while engaging with friends and family. The travel edition, titled “Destination Anywhere,” ought to have everyone talking about their adventures in no time.

The TableTopics set includes cards with questions designed to begin engaging conversations. This is sure to get everyone off of their iPads and smartphones in no time. Now available via both Amazon and national retailers, as currently priced around $25.00.

Matt Glasby “The Book Of Horror: The Anatomy Of Fear In Film”

Matt Glasby’s “The Book Of Horror” focuses on the most frightening films of the post-war era, from Psycho (1960) to It Chapter Two (2019). It examines exactly how these films scare us across a series of key categories. Each chapter explores a seminal horror film in depth, charting its scariest moments with infographics and identifying the related works you need to see.

Glasby’s book ultimately Includes references to more than 100 classic and contemporary horror films from around the globe, in addition striking illustrations from Barney Bodoano. In turn, this is a rich and compelling guide to the scariest films ever made. An ideal gift for any fan of horror in your life.

Dr. Ira Mosen “First Among Nations”

“First Among Nations” is the debut novel of author Dr. Ira Mosen. Tackling the difficult issues of antisemitism, anti-Zionism, regional conflict, religious stereotypes, interpersonal relationships and personal struggle through a touching and thought-provoking story, “First Among Nations” is a book of the times. Mosen’s characters are brought to life within the beautiful backdrop of the Holy Land and introduces us to the many different facets of life in modern-day Israel, with fresh insights and perspectives into understanding this remarkable country and its people. Dr. Mosen also hosts a podcast, as launched in September 2020.

John Byrne “Lauren’s Ride”

After his sister was paralyzed in a accident, author John Byrne realized he needed a way to provide her with her own vehicle with the controls she could use to be able to attend college and live as normally as possible. Byrne’s answer was to ride his bicycle across the country, from fire station to fire station from San Francisco to the Brooklyn Bridge. Ultimately, donations poured in to support Byrne’s ride.

“Lauren’s Ride” is not just an account of my bicycle ride across the country. Instead, it is the story of a brother’s love for his sister. It is also a tale of firefighters everywhere bonded by brotherly love, faithfulness, a desire to serve and a willingness to work together. Meanwhile, it also documents a young man’s search for his roots ending at his grandfather’s firehouse on the other side of the continent. You ought to feel great about humanity after reading this book.

Omar L. Harris “The Servant Leader’s Manifesto”

Leadership today is outmoded and ill-suited to activate and engage the most diverse work-force in history. This is why leaders capable of inspiring, engaging, aligning, coaching, and coaxing out individual and team brilliance are more in need than ever before. The more technology pervades our lives, the greater our need for clarity, courage, caring, culture, and talent cultivation — all things that machines cannot create for us.

In the words of author Omar L. Harris: “This book was born out of crisis. The global employee engagement crisis to be exact. Nearly every business book I read points inadvertently to the culprit for this crisis but unfortunately they haven’t moved the needle. And the people who do the good work keep suffering. Well, no more. With this manifesto, we declare that toxic, ego-driven leadership is dead. In its wake shall rise the era of Servant Leadership – where the people who create value for customers have more than a seat at the table, they are actively heard and leaders respond to their needs. All you have to do to join us is to read the manifesto and pass it on. This revolution is hand to hand and word of mouth driven.”

Andy Neill “Ready Steady Go!: The Weekend Starts Here”

The London-based TV program “Ready, Steady, Go!” began broadcasting in August of 1963 and, within a matter of weeks, became an essential television ritual for the newly confident British teenager. It set trends and became the barometer of popular culture by attracting and presenting everyone who was anyone in popular music: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Animals, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Otis Redding, and many more. RSG! also provided the first small screen exposure for then-unknowns such as Rod Stewart, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Donovan, and Jimi Hendrix. The show ran for three and a half years, setting a blueprint for music presentation and production on television that resonated over the following decades and can still be felt today.

Ready, Steady, Go! has never been documented in full detail in the U.S. until now, as BMG Books has published Ready Steady Go: The Weekend Starts Here. Featured in this lavishly illustrated and definitive history of the show are hundreds of photographs — the bulk of them previously unpublished — as well as exclusive essays from the likes of Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, Andrew Oldham, Chris Stamp, Donovan, Lulu, and others.

Valerio Boni & Stefano Cordora “Vespa: Style & Passion”

From its introduction in 1946 by the Italian firm Piaggio, the Vespa enjoyed quick success. The scooters’ diminutive size and affordability were perfect for promoting postwar mobility and soon became more than a means of transport but a cultural icon. “Vespa Style & Passion” tells how the scooter evolved into a marque that has sold over 19 million units on six continents. A rich selection of visuals includes dozens of studio images of the most significant models as well as period advertisements, rare archival photographs, and images of Vespas in popular culture and motorsport. Mod culture, perhaps most responsible for spreading scooter culture, is also given its due with images of customized Vespas.

The Vespa is not simply a scooter, but the scooter, known and appreciated the world over—a rare example of a motor vehicle that survived crises and fashions, always remaining faithful to the original concept. This is the definitive story of that influence.

Peter Ticktin’s “What Makes Trump Tick”

Peter Ticktin is the founder of The Ticktin Law Group based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. After graduating from New York Military Academy, Mr. Ticktin received his first law degree from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, and began practicing law in Canada as a barrister in 1972. Within his first year of practice, he defeated the Uniform Summons, resulting in the dismissal of all misdemeanors that used the form within the Province of Ontario, and changed the criminal laws in Ontario’s appellate courts and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ticktin and President Donald Trump attended the New York Military Academy together when they were teenagers. This was a formative time when Ticktin saw Trump early on exhibiting the leadership skills so evident today, delivered fairly, but with kindness and sensitivity. This book is a look into Ticktin’s relationship with a young Trump.

Terri Jacke “Is This A Lousy Job Or Is It Me?”

Have you ever felt deflated at work? Whether you are just starting your career or have finally gained enough experience to advance to your “dream” job, you may find yourself disillusioned by difficult bosses or coworkers, drained by unreasonable demands, or disappointed with the lack of growth opportunities.

Given these lousy elements of your job, how can you achieve fulfillment from your work? In “Is This A Lousy Job Or Is It Me?” executive coach Terri Jacke explores how every success and every struggle at work can be used to develop your character, which determines the way you handle each experience. By using stories — sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking – Jacke invites you to join her on a journey that chronicles her growth through the 7 stages of character development at work: Beginning, Yuckiness, Fear, Authenticity, Boundaries, Love, and Exit.

Rod Dreher “Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents”

In Live Not by Lies, author Rod Dreher shows how identity politics are beginning to encroach on every aspect of life. Civil liberties are increasingly seen as a threat to “safety.” Progressives marginalize conservative, traditional Christians, and other dissenters. Dreher points out how today’s elites and elite institutions are abandoning old-fashioned liberalism, based in defending the rights of the individual, and replacing it with a progressive creed that regards justice in terms of groups. Dreher has done extensive research to provide historical context to today’s left-wing totalitarianism. He ultimately reveals the far-reaching menace of progressivism’s modus operandi.

Chef Sam Zien “Sam The Cooking Guy”

Chef Sam Zien (Photo courtesy of Sam Zien)

Inspired by the desire to end the needless wasting of leftovers, 15-time Emmy Award Winner, restaurateur, and YouTube sensation Sam Zien — who currently boasts 2.13 million subscribers and counting — has created the ultimate guide to meal prep, reducing food waste, and a primer for important techniques and methods to set yourself up for success. The book also has a comprehensive chapter on Thanksgiving leftovers, filled with fresh ideas for your turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even pecan pie. Chef Zien’s genuine and engaging personality, along with vibrant color photography, make this book a lifesaver for busy folks who are looking for dinners that they can finally be excited about.

Jack Forster “ACCUTRON: From The Space Age To The Digital Age”

Written by Hodinkee Editor-in-Chief Jack Forster, coauthored and edited by Aaron Sigmond and with a foreword by renowned industrial designer Carl Gustav Magnusson, “ACCUTRON: From The Space Age To The Digital Age” is a collector’s item that delves into not only the history of the Accutron brand and its technology, but also the Accutron lifestyle and its new generation of precision timekeeping.

Its 6 in-depth chapters highlight the creation and design of Accutron, its position as one of the most important innovations in watchmaking history, its participation in the first great age of space exploration, its work on various projects with the U.S. military and much more. A conversation piece indeed from the ’60s to the present, Accutron is now certain to be the center of attention once again, with the book offering an exclusive backstage look at the brand’s newest historical timekeeping advance: the world’s first watch powered by electrostatic energy.

Kriss Smolka “Water Wellness: The Ultimate Guide To Restore, Rejuvenate & Refine Your Body”

With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, it is crucial to stay healthy now more than ever. While drinking water alone will not prevent or cure the virus, the CDC states that hydration is good for overall health and helps the body in several ways.

Infused with health tips, advice, and fun recipes, “Water Wellness” is packed full of all the information you need to ensure you stay hydrated every day: 160+ pages covering why it’s so important to stay hydrated. “Water Wellness” is designed to help you drink enough water every day to achieve optimal health and maintain the right fluid balance.

Richard Taylor, James Watt & Martin Dickie “BrewDog: Craft Beer For The Geeks”

The second book from the founders of Brewdog, “Brewdog: Craft Beer for the Geeks” aims to go deeper into the science and styles of craft beer in this full-color, gorgeously designed taproom bible. With sections such as “The Science of Flavor” and “Why Temperature Is King,” beer geeks ought to be satisfied with the wealth of knowledge presented by these craft beer experts. Recipes and sections on beer and food pairing will thrill food and beverage enthusiasts who want to go further in exploring flavor combinations. And a “DIY Dog” section on at-home brewing with recipes and trouble-shooting tips exemplifies the punk, open-source ethos that Brewdog is known for.

“A Kids Book About” series

A Kids Book About is basically a kids book publisher that tackles difficult issues like racism and disabilities. Co-founder and CEO Jelani Memory turned a single book into a series featuring new authors, creating a publishing company that makes kids books that matter, because kids are ready. These books are twice as long as most children books, enabling a deeper dive on each subject. They also manage to honest and do not shy away from the most difficult aspects of each topic.

Matt & Nick Jackson “Young Bucks: Killing The Business From Backyards To The Big Leagues”

Matt and Nick Jackson (Photo courtesy of All Elite Wrestling)

The tag team known as The Young Bucks — comprised of brothers Nick and Matt Jackson — started their professional wrestling journey in Southern California before adulthood. These days, the Jacksons are not only one of the world’s top wrestling tag teams, but also both EVP’s within All Elite Wrestling, the world’s second largest wrestling company. Thus, millions of people watch The Young Bucks each week.

“Young Bucks: Killing The Business From Backyards To The Big Leagues” tells the full, true, authorized story of Nick and Matt Jackson. It features over 60 photographs and alternates between each brother’s perspective, this entertaining memoir is a complete portrait of what it means to grow into — and give back to — wrestling, the sport and profession they embody and love.

James Buckley Jr. “The National Baseball Hall Of Fame Collection”

James Buckley Jr. has been writing sports books for adults and young readers for more than 25 years after working for Sports Illustrated and NFL. Among his best-known titles are “Perfect: The Story Of Baseball’s Perfect Games,” “Unhittable,” “Eyewitness Baseball,” “The Visual Dictionary Of Baseball” and Obsessed With Baseball.” He is the author of more than 20 sports biographies for young readers, including the recently published graphic nonfiction title “Babe Ruth: Baseball’s All-Time Best.”

Officially licensed, “The National Baseball Hall of Fame Collection” gathers biographies, statistics, and photos of more than 175 members of the most exclusive club in the sport, all in 1 beautiful book every baseball fan should own. Separated into chapters by position, The National Baseball Hall of Fame Collection highlights the best and the most memorable players, events, championships, moments, and more. The text has been updated through the 2020 Hall Of Fame elections, with Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker joining their fellow inductees within the pages of Buckley’s book.

Jacob Goldstein “Money: The True Story Of A Made-Up Thing”

Jacob Goldstein (Photo courtesy of NPR)

Jacob Goldstein is the co-host of the popular NPR podcast “Planet Money,” which provides a well-researched, entertaining, somewhat-irreverent look at how money is a made-up thing that has evolved over time to suit humanity’s changing needs. Lively, accessible, and full of interesting details (like the 43-pound copper coins that 17th-century Swedes carried strapped to their backs), “Money: The True Story Of A Made-Up Thing” is the story of the choices that gave us money as we know it today.

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