When summer vacation began around here, my oldest daughter took up her station in the corner of our couch, pretty much reading all day (punctuated by meals, exploring breaks outside, and some antics with her siblings).
With a two-year-old and five-year-old, not to mention a myriad of other adult & business responsibilities, I am not quite at that life space of blissful, lazy reading all summer (and I try to keep the envious glances to a minimum). But, for many of us, summer provides a respite from the year of run-around busyness, and AT LAST a chance to dig in to a good book.
Looking for a quick read, easy to pick up & put down while you’re often interrupted? Try essays from funny ladies Tina Fey (Bossypants) or Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Why Not Me?). For light, easy novels, there’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple) or the Rosie series (Graeme Simsion), The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows) or Beautiful Ruins (Jess Walter).
Simply looking for solid fiction for the summer?
My mother’s book club is tackling A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth) over the summer – it comes in at a whopping, nearly 1500 pages! If summer is the time that you want to tackle an epic, then I’m sure you have one or two that have been on the bookshelf or bedside table waiting for you. But, if not:
Roots (Alex Haley) or The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) might be satisfying choices. The must-read A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) deals with Indian caste system, like A Suitable Boy, but weighs much less. Or there is the more recent, Pulitzer prize-winning The Goldfinch(Donna Tartt). Though, I personally wouldn’t recommend that unless you want to journey through a major character study all summer (read: it’s depressing). In my opinion, if what you’re looking for is depressing (yet incredibly compelling), then the book you’re looking for is We Need to Talk About Kevin(Lionel Shriver).
Maybe instead, you're out for a little brain expansion or self-improvement this summer? Give these a try:
In ANY case, pick up a book & enjoy your summer!!!
This post was written with gratitude for the input of two of the most voracious readers I know: my mom & Caroline. It's taken me a while not to take it personally when someone doesn't like my book reco, but now I'm a grown-up, so I think I'm ok now. That said, all suggestions are utterly subjective, and if you start a book and don't want to finish it, no worries. :)
We've listened to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman countless times in my house (or, as my music app tells me: around 30), and the chorus of this song — "Never Enough" — keeps ringing through my head.
The song itself is about love (ie. without you, all the amazing things in the world will never be enough), but as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year, I feel like "Never Enough" is the battle cry of retail marketing.
“We don’t hire homies to bake bread, we bake bread to hire homies.”
I have often written about my love & admiration for Father Greg Boyle (Father G) and the work he has done with the gang population in Los Angeles with Homeboy Industries. It is not an easy thing to promote the dignity of people who have been involved in violent criminality, finding kinship in mutual love and respect.
This line — “We don’t hire homies to bake bread, we bake bread to hire homies.” — is a perfect description of the complex dynamic of running a business that is, at its core, motivated to employ a marginalized population.
For many of us — perhaps especially if you have kids in school, or an affinity for fall —, September is the perfect time for a fresh start. I wrote last week about my fresh exercise start after a summer of indulgence!
Whether it is the new calendar year, or a new school year, milestones offer a great chance for fresh starts. I think it is a fantastic time to dream about what will be different, what systems can change & improve, and how to begin well.
But here we are, mid-way through September, and I want to offer another thought:
Join our mailing list for good words, great company, & first dibs on new arrivals.