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?
- American Wife Curtis Sittenfeld
- The Nest Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
- The Gilded Chamber Rebecca Kohn
- The Golem and the Jinni Helene Wecker
- The Cat's Table Michael Ondaatje
- Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline
- The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- The Lacuna Barbara Kingsolver
- The Light Between Oceans M.L. Stedman
- State of Wonder Ann Patchett
- The Orenda Joseph Boyden
- The Nightingale Kristin Hannah
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:
- Nurture Shock Po Bronson
- Born for This Chris Guillebeau
- Hands Free Life Rachel Macy Stafford
- The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, or Better than Before Gretchen Rubin
- 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess Jen Hatmaker (also by her: For the Love, or, if you are a Christian, definitely read Interrupted)
- Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way Of Understanding Addiction Maia Szalavitz
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. :)
P.S. - What are you reading this summer? Share what's on your list below!