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5 books to read this summer, according to bestselling author Daniel Silva

Including a spy novel recommended by the master of spy fiction himself.

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Not sure what to read next? The question is especially pressing in summer, the season of beach reads and page-turners (including Read With Jenna’s June and July picks).

Bestselling author Daniel Silva stopped by the third hour of TODAY to give his recommendations for books to read for every occasion this summer, whether you’re looking for something to read by the pool or a thriller. Silva is known for his Gabriel Allon spy thriller series, which follows a master art restorer who moonlights as an Israeli intelligence officer. His 22nd book, "Portrait of an Unknown Woman," will be released in July 2022.

Fittingly, one of Silva’s recommended reads is about spies — but much different than his own protagonist. Silva also shouted out the book he’s currently reading. Read on to grow your TBR list.

Best backyard or pool read

"The Lunar Housewife," by Caroline Woods

Silva said he enjoys beach reads that are “both entertaining and elegantly written,” and that this novel “definitely” falls into both categories. "The reviews have been over the moon," Silva said.

The Lunar Housewife” is a murder mystery and Cold War spy story set in the New York literary scene during the 1950s. In 2022 release, a journalist begins looking into her boyfriend’s life after overhearing a suspicious conversation. She learns he might be in the CIA, tempering how she feels about him — and putting her in danger. Silva said to look out for cameo appearances from literary figures like Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and Arthur Miller, among others.

Best nonfiction read

"The Pope at War," by David I. Kertzer

Silva calls "The Pope at War" the "most important book ever written about the Catholic Church and its conduct during World War II."

The tome is the latest from David I. Kertzer, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Holocaust scholar. While researching the book, Kertzer had unprecedented access to the Vatican Secret Archives. His findings paint a picture of how Pope Pius XII approached WWII: What he knew and didn't know about the Nazi's mass murder of Europe's Jewish population — and what he did and didn't do.

Best page-to-screen read

"The Gray Man," by Mark Greaney

Soon to be a Netflix movie, read "The Gray Man" before Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Regé-Jean Page act it out. The high-octane novel is about an "assassin vs. assassin duel," Silva said. On one side is Sierra Six (played by Ryan Gosling), a former agent on the run after discovering secrets. On the other is his cold-blooded former colleague, Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), determined to catch him.

Best thriller

"The It Girl," by Ruth Ware

Silva said he "absolutely loved" Ware's 2016 novel "The Woman in Cabin 10," a mystery set on a cruise ship. Ever since, he eagerly anticipates each of Ware's new releases. "'The It Girl' features an expectant mother who investigates the decade-old murder of her friend and classmate from Oxford. It’s a perfect summer read from the reigning queen British of crime fiction," he said.

What Silva is reading now

"Horse," by Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is the second of two Pulitzer Prize winners Silva recommended, along with Kertzer. Brooks won the honor for her 2006 historical novel "March." Her latest novel, which Silva called a "masterpiece," uses the real-life story of a legendary nineteenth-century thoroughbred to explore the legacy of slavery in contemporary America.

For more book recommendations, check out:

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