If you’re anything like the writer of this blog (hello!), your summer reading list is probably a mile high and only growing longer as new books with tantalizing covers and mouth-watering premises are released each month.  

Since most of us don’t have access to a time turner, Craigh na Dun, or H. G. Wells’ time machine, we’re left with a finite amount of time to read in the summer sun.  

Instead of spending more time choosing your next read than reading, allow us to help. Using Agility Monitoring, we uncovered what’s creating the PR buzz this summer for recently released books. Based on information from reputable sources within the publishing and literary industry, we determined which books and authors have recently come into the spotlight. We then measured how much media buzz (mentions in online and print media) these various books attained. 

So, according to our monitoring results, here are the six books (plus a few honorable mentions) you should be adding to your summer reading list posthaste*! 

Best New Fiction 

Taking the top spot for total media mentions is “Lapvona” by Ottessa Moshfegh, an instant New York Times bestseller. But be warned, “Lapvona” is not for the faint of heart nor the easily squeamish. As Maureen Corrigan wrote in a book review for NPR: “…there’s been a turning away from these Merrie Olde England-type images to rougher stuff, as embodied by the HBO series, Game of Thrones. Now, a new contender enters the Feudal Tournament of the Most Foul.” 

For (slightly) lighter fare, you can try another instant New York Times bestseller: “The House Across the Lake” by Riley Sager. “The House Across the Lake” is categorized as suspense & thriller and gothic & horror so prepare yourself for foul play. “It’s a familiar psychological thriller structure – until everything changes,” wrote Felecia Wellington Radel for USA Today 

Finally, we have “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin. Described as “a dazzling and intricately imagined novel”, this bestseller and Fallon Book Club Pick has a 4.43 out of 5 on Goodreads—the highest rating out of our top 3 by media mentions. 

Title and author 

Media mentions

Goodreads rating 

Ottessa Moshfegh
1,200+  3.73 with 5,700+ ratings 
“The House Across the Lake”
Riley Sager
1,100+  3.60 with 21,500+ ratings 
“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow”
Gabrielle Zevin
670+  4.43 with 6,500+ ratings 

Honorable mentions: 

  • “Counterfeit” by Kirstin Chen (500+ mentions)  
  • “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (200+ mentions) 

Best New Non-Fiction 

If fiction isn’t your speed, we have several non-fiction picks for you. Topping the list is a familiar name, but instead of telling another page-turning thriller, he’s sharing his own story in, “James Patterson: The Stories of My Life”. The best-selling author of over 200 books with more than 300 million copies sold, James Patterson is an instantly recognizable name even if you haven’t read one of his books. If you want to learn more about this master of craft, then his memoir should be topping your TBR pile. 

Coming in second for overall media mentions is another memoir, this one by correspondent for NBC News, Katy Tur. In her memoir, “Rough Draft”, Tur “explores the gift and curse of family legacy, examines the roles and responsibilities of the news, and asks the question: To what extent do we each get to write our own story?” (ref: Simon and Schuster).  

Just as happened in Best New Fiction, our third place book for total media mentions leads in Goodreads ratings. “How to Raise an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi follows his internationally bestselling “How to Be an Antiracist” and “combines a century of scientific research with a vulnerable and compelling personal narrative of his own journey as a parent and as a child.” (Ref: Penguin Random House 

Title and author 

Media mentions 

Goodreads rating 

“James Patterson: The Stories of My Life”
James Patterson
1,100+  4.2 with 2,500+ ratings 
“Rough Draft: A Memoir”
Katy Tur
800+  4.29 with 1,100+ ratings 
“How to Raise an Antiracist”
Ibram X. Kendi
600+  4.46 with 370+ ratings 

Honorable mentions: 

  • The Secret Life of Secrets: How Our Inner Worlds Shape Well-Being, Relationships, and Who We Are” by Michael Slepian (660+ mentions) 
  • “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation” by Linda Villarosa (620+ mentions) 

Mentions: A single print or online article. A syndicated article will be counted every time it appears in a different outlet. 

Before you go, why not check out last month’s PR Buzz in Entertainment report? 

*These summer reading list recommendations are based solely on media monitoring results and not personal reading experience.  

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