~ Ernest Hemingway
One of my favorite things about summer is that everyone from Jen Lancaster to Swathmore College publish reading lists. And what’s one of my favorite (sometimes only) pastimes? Reading. So without further ado, here is a list of books I recommend or am planning to read during my summer.
- “The Last Time I Saw Paris” by Lynn Sheene (recommended). I found this book in the Bargain Books at Barnes & Noble and began reading it in the car after I purchased it (I was waiting for my carry out dinner order). I wasn’t even halfway through Chapter One when it hooked me. The story begins in New York where socialite Claire Harris Stone is confronted with her (somewhat dirty) past in the midst of her control freak of a husband’s party for his steel company. She immediately flees New York and heads to Paris to meet up with her former lover despite whispers of an imminent war spreading through Europe. Sure enough, within a week or so of her arrival, Claire finds herself in the midst of German-occupied Paris working and living in a high end floral shop. Having no skills to speak of aside from her own street smarts and natural elegant taste, Claire emerges from being a self-absorbed socialite into someone willing to risk her life to save the ones she loves and cares about. But the question is, is it enough?
- “The Tao of Martha” by Jen Lancaster (planning). Jen Lancaster, a woman who once convinced a homeless man to take her bag of crack rocks (wasabi peas) in exchange for his believable knock-off purse of some sort, decides to embrace her inner Martha Stewart in an attempt to get her life in order. While I admit, Jen isn’t for everyone, she’s something of a hero to me so this is a must read for me.
- “Tara Road” by Maeve Binchy (recommended). I enjoy Maeve Binchy books, primarily because by the end of the book, the characters feel like friends (or enemies) of mine. “Tara Road” was no exception. You meet Ria and Marilyn, two women on opposite sides of The Pond, each going through a tragic transitional period in her life, end up switching homes for a summer. The book tells of how each one comes through and overcomes. One thing to keep in mind while reading this book though is that Ireland was not nearly as technologically advanced as the United States during the setting of this book (that part was brought up a lot during our book club discussion).
- “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (planning). Everywhere I go, I see this book. It’s not my usual cup of tea, but Jen brings it up a lot, and she lent it to Kristin, who also loved it so I broke down and bought it on my Nook one day when the price was right. Eventually I’ll get around to reading it.
Speaking of Jen and my Nook, which I brought to New York with me…. I think she was a bit dismayed to see my trashy romance novels on there, almost all of which I’m too ashamed to admit to on Goodreads.
- “All About Lulu” by Jonathan Evison (recommended). If you’re not looking for a happy ending but perhaps looking for a book that will make you feel normal despite your chaotic life or dysfunctional family, this is the book for you. We meet a young William Miller, the vegetarian outcast in a family of body builders, whose life seemingly begins when his father remarries and his stepsister Lulu enters his life following the death of his mother. As the years go on, we realize everything is not as it seems, that the Miller family is shrouded in secrets, and that one day, maybe everything and everyone will be all right.
- “How To Be A Woman” by Caitlin Moran (currently reading). This book is a laugh-out-loud funny explanation on how everything that makes women women also makes women feminists. While funny, it’s also though provoking and I dare you not to come up with at least one question to ask during your next girls night.
- “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella (recommended). I will say, as addicted to retail therapy as I am, I was not a fan of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (and not only because the calls from bill collectors hits a little close to home for me). But something about the cover and jacket of “Twenties Girl” prompted me to give Kinsella another try and I couldn’t be happier. It was a fun, light hearted read with just enough intrigue to make you want to keep reading instead of putting it down. Perfect for a sunny day at the beach.
- “Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On a Northern Michigan Farm” by Mardi Jo Link (planning). It’s a true story about a divorced woman who, with the help of her three young sons, keeps (and saves from foreclosure) the century-old farmhouse she and her now ex-husband bought and finds herself in the process.
And again, because summer reading lists are the best, here’s a few you may want to look into.
- Jen Lancaster’s: http://www.jennsylvania.com/jennsylvania/2013/05/early-summer-reading-list.html
- Swathmore College: http://www.swarthmore.edu/libraries/reading-recommendations/2013-summer-reading-list.xml
- Daily Candy: http://www.dailycandy.com/everywhere/flipbook/151119/Best-New-Books-for-Summer-2013
- Glitter Guide: http://theglitterguide.com/2013/06/03/our-summer-must-reads/
- Lauren Conrad (yes, I do feel slightly ashamed of admitting I love her website): http://laurenconrad.com/blog/post/good-reads-summer-reading-list-10-great-books-lauren-conrad-may-2013
And one more thing… if you have an independent book store or even a Barnes & Noble near you, give them some business. Bookstores are on the endangered species list.