Are you feeling a little more glam than usual? Looking to star in a one-man play about how fabulous you are? Welcome to Leo season, baby! For this edition of Reading the Signs, we’re leaning into the heat of this fire sign with beach read recommendations for every reader.
Caitlin Landuyt, our astrologically-inclined editor, is a firm believer that any book you read at the beach is a beach read, so we promise there is a perfect selection for you on this list no matter your taste.
Looking for more suggestions? Check our recs for Cancer and Gemini seasons!
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Aries is relentlessly determined, just like the Price sisters and Jean McConville’s family. You might read that and think this book will be a lot of people gritting their teeth and getting on with it, and if it were a Capricorn, you’d be right. But not with an Aries, my friend. With an Aries we’ve got murder, backhanded deals, and a quest for the truth that is decidedly more fiery than dogged. No need for a campfire this summer, this book gives off more than enough heat.
Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby
The internet tells me that Sam Irby is a Pisces, but I PROMISE you she has some kind of Taurus influence in her chart. Blowing all your money on beauty products recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow while living in oversize cardigans? Making hamburger helper from scratch but life hacking by buying shredded cheese? Overthinking your snack order Every. Dang. Time? These are the most Taurus of Taurus moves, and nobody’s mad about it. Take this book to the beach or take a page out of Taurus’s book and just read it in the air conditioning.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Just like a Gemini, this novel packs a wallop in even the briefest interaction. You are going to run through it all in this one, every single emotion, every possible outcome, every pro and con for every option, but in the end you’re going to emerge . . . refreshed? I know, I know, I’m as confused as you are, but that’s because we’re not Geminis. Gemini, I know this quarantine has been hard on you. I know all you want is to merely talk to everyone. But just take a break from drawing faces in your sourdough starter and read this book in between Zoom happy hours and I swear you’ll get through it.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
This novel will feel at once very comforting to a Cancer and like a giant warning about appropriate boundaries. Friends who feel like family, what’s better than that? Every Cancer is making a horrified face and slowly shaking their head because they know exactly what can go wrong. And, yep, you guessed it, things get exactly that complicated. But come on, Cancer, you live for this, so put on the swimsuit you bought before the world canceled summer and dive on in.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
LEO! What else could I give the zodiac’s most dynamic, extravagant, and charismatic sign but the outrageous and delightful Crazy Rich Asians? This has all the glitz and glamour Leos crave and the passion they live for. Happy Birthday, Leo, put on your most fabulous athleisure (that’s all we’re all wearing now, right?), pour yourself the largest glass of champagne, and make an hour-long toast to yourself. You deserve it.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyikan Braithwaite
This is absolutely a Leo/Virgo cusp read. Beautiful, outgoing Ayoola is for sure giving off Leo vibes, but this is really Korede’s story, and Korede is most definitely a Virgo. She’s reliable, she’s logical, and she knows how to get a bloodstain out of literally anything (this is ABSOLUTELY a Virgo trait. Just imagine a Sagittarius trying to do it; they’d get bored halfway through and end up smearing it around). Virgo, it’s summer. Relax. No, seriously. I know it’s hard for you. Just lie down on the couch or, if you’re lucky, on a lounge chair next to your pool and open this book and let it all go for a second. You’re muttering at me now but you’ll appreciate it in the end.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Erin Morgenstern is the master of literary ASMR and I know that as soon as they read that all the Libras perked up (no shade). There is beauty and romance dripping from every single one of the words in this novel, and you know Libras are here for that. Plus, the whole premise is predicated on a compromise that keeps the world in the most delicate balance, which is Libra to a T. Libra, turn to this one when the socially distant park meetups start to mess with your own sense of balance. I promise you, you’ll feel refreshed.
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
Refreshing and wicked? Are we talking about these stories, a summer cocktail, or every Scorpio you know? We are, of course, talking about all of them. How could I not give the collection that has also been described as twisted, dark, fierce, and fearless to the scorpion? Pour an extra shot of bourbon in your sweet tea and settle in, Scorpio, you and Helen Ellis both know that others may say they contain multitudes, but they don’t know the half of it.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Sure, Sagittarius is the feel-good sign. They’re the adventurous one, the spontaneous one, the eternal optimist. But they’re also honest and intellectually rigorous. They pursue freedom, and, if there’s something standing in their way, well then, they’ll just find a new path. You might be going out of town less this summer, Sag, and to cope with forced containment, you’ve probably already taught yourself cross-stiching, jam-making, and ancient Greek. So why not put a dollop of that homemade jam on a scoop of ice cream and read about people crossing the country in order to pursue their right to freedom? There’s no better inspiration for you.
The Silence of the White City by Eva García Sáenz
Are all profilers Capricorns? I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Detective Unai “Kraken” Lopez de Ayala CERTAINLY is. And if a serial killer can outfox a Capricorn detective . . . honestly, if that’s not enough to get you intrigued, I don’t know what is. Of course, the Capricorns among us will read in outrage, determined to guess the ending and prove they know best. But I’d be willing to bet even Capricorns won’t see these twists coming. It’s ok, Capricorn. Just blame it on the heat.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
I told an Aquarian friend that this was my Aquarius choice for Leo season and she said, “OMG, I feel like it’s just the most Aquarius thing in the world to try to quantify emotions to prove you have a soul,” and I had something else written but, you know what, hers is better. Honestly, the world in this novel is like an Aquarius fever dream. And while some of use might find it heavy, for Aquarius it’s like riding a raft down a lazy river. Hop on in, Aquarius. The water’s fine.
Chances Are . . . by Richard Russo
If you’re still holding onto something that happened over FORTY YEARS ago, you’re probably a Taurus or a Pisces. And if the thing you’re holding onto is a bag of emotions and not a weird grudge, you’re in Pisces territory. Pisces will hold onto something—a monumental mystery from Memorial Day 1971, say—in a state of near glee, just waiting for those emotions to explode. Such is the cathartic release they will feel when they’ve truly marinated in those sentiments and can lay them out for the world to see. Go ahead, Pisces. Stretch out on the beach and let this tidal wave of feeling wash on over you.