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3 Must-Read Novels That Highlight Artists

Alanna Loftus | August 7, 2020 | Culture National

The book lover and Long Island native behind @_booksintheair_ shares her summer reads about the creative process.

Books have always been the ultimate form of escapism—and now more than ever. Whether about a singer-songwriter, a henna artist or two novelists, these titles and their authors highlight the importance of artists, as well as the meaningful work with which they inspire us.



Emily Gould perfectly illustrates the message of how we can never truly escape our passion in life. It’s the new millennium in New York City’s East Village, and Laura’s dreams of making it as a musician feel just in reach. As she tries to prove herself as a songwriter, a relationship with another rising musician comes to an abrupt ending. Fifteen years later, Laura has come to terms with how her life turned out—that is, until her teenage daughter starts to wonder about her father and everything Laura gave up to raise her. Even though she does not want to, Laura must finally confront her past with the present in order to move forward. Gould delivers a poignant read that showcases the love one woman has for motherhood and music that is sure to pull at both guitar and heartstrings.



An unforgettable debut novel from Alka Joshi will transport you to a different world. The lively and colorful Jaipur of the 1950s is where 17-year-old Lakshmi finds solace after leaving an abusive marriage. Alone and vulnerable, Lakshmi quickly proves herself as a gifted henna artist and creates a new life for herself. She shares her designs and advice with wealthy women who trust her with their deepest secrets. Lakshmi is proud of the life and reputation she built for herself until a visitor from her past appears to threaten everything she holds most important. The Henna Artist will transfix with the story of the unwavering perseverance of a strong female character. It is no wonder this story was chosen as a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick!



Don’t let the title fool you—Emily Henry delivers a captivating story with raw and troubled characters that elevates this book far past your typical beach read. Spend your summer with January Andrews, a bestselling romance author, and Augustus Everett, a renowned literary fiction writer, as they both struggle with writer’s block while living in neighboring beach houses. They agree to put their long-standing rivalry aside to help each other deliver a novel worthy of their publisher’s praise by dabbling in the other’s genre. This summer switch-up experiment turns out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to them. They open each other’s eyes to a world of inspiration and companionship that they both desperately needed. A heartfelt story filled with depth and emotion, Beach Read tells the story of how two people can bring out the best in each other, both creatively and emotionally.

Photography by: Courtesy of publishers