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10 books to read this summer, according to bestselling author Harlan Coben

Including a novel with "tons of delicious twists and secrets."
Illustration of five books
TODAY Illustration / Amazon

Harlan Coben is the author of 34 gripping novels, which have sold over 75 million copies. Thanks to a 2018 deal with Netflix, 14 of these winding tales — many of which feature ordinary people caught in larger-than-life events — will be turned into movies and TV shows.

Fast paced and thought provoking, Coben’s books are all optimal summer reads. But if you’re looking to grow your reading list, the New Jersey-based author stopped by the third hour of TODAY to share some of his favorite book recommendations across categories, joining past authors like Daniel Silva and Jasmine Guillory.

Below, find Coben’s book recommendations in categories ranging from historical fiction to all-around greats — and read the start of his next book.

Best mystery

"Daisy Darker," by Alice Feeney

Coben said that “if you like a novel with tons of delicious twists and secrets,” then “Alice Feeney is an author you need to check out.” In the book, a family reunites for Nana’s 80th birthday in an old gothic house, the clock strikes midnight, Nana is found dead. “There are shades of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but not in the way you expect. My daughter was the first to recommend Feeney to me, and I’m glad she did,” Coben said.

Best novel

"Tracy Flick Can't Win," by Tom Perrotta

In this sequel to the novel “Election,” Tom Perrotta revisits heroine Tracy Flick. The formerly ambitious high-schooler from his novel Election (immortalized on screen by Reese Witherspoon) is now in her mid-forties and struggling as an assistant principal in this satirical yet authentic novel, Coben says.

Best inspirational read

"Write for Your Life," by Anna Quindlen

Coben has turned writing into a career — but says that writing has healing powers, too. This new release from Anna Quindlen, whom Coben calls “one our most thoughtful, wise, and compassionate writers,” uses writing as a means for finding meaning in your life. “This is a call to arms to pick up a pen and improve the world. Both writing novice and expert will find it inspiring,” Coben said.

Best historical fiction

"The Lioness," by Chris Bohjalian

A Hollywood starlet and her entourage take a luxury safari in 1964 Tanzania that goes very wrong. "'The Lioness' is riveting and even scary,” Coben said, adding that Bohjalian, the author of "The Flight Attendant," has “long been a favorite” author of his.

What Harlan Coben is reading now

"Crying in the Bathroom," by Erika L. Sánchez

“I’m trying to take my time with this memoir of essays, delving into them one per night, but it’s a little like trying not to finish the entire bowl of potato chips at one go,” Coben said of this essay collection, which he describes as “raunchy and original and authentic and hilarious and heartbreaking.” Novelist Sánchez returns to her childhood in Chicago, where she was raised by Mexican immigrants.

Best fiction

"The Last White Man," by Mohsin Hamid

The author of “Exit West” returns with a short gut-punch of a novel, reimagining Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” for the modern age. In the books, characters’ skin tones darkens.

Best nonfiction

"Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence," by Ken Auletta

In 2018, producer Harvey Weinstein's predatory behavior — long an open secret in Hollywood — became public knowledge thanks to a series of journalistic exposes. Ken Auletta, who once wrote a profile of Weinstein, returns to tell the full story.

Best children's book

"The Golden Girls: Goodnight, Girls," by Samantha Brooke & Jen Taylor

Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose of the iconic 1980s sitcom are rendered into children's book characters in this book that parents will be as amused by as their kids — if not more so.

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