For those who do not know, my friend Elana has incredible blog, Elana Lyn. I have been writing for her throughout the past year, and although this was originally crafted as a summer reading list, I stand by these book picks regardless of the season. Read on for some of my favorites from the summer months.
For the Self-Proclaimed Foodie – Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
Foodies, be prepared to geek out as you walk through human beings’ history of cooking. Pollan organizes this epic by element, so you will get a window into man’s harnessing of the grill (fire), braises, soups, and other stove-bound feats (water), the art of baking bread (air), and the science behind fermentation (earth). Read this if you liked The Omnivore’s Dilemma (also by Pollan).
For the World Traveler – Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Strap yourself in and prepare to be transported to Ukraine, where our hero blindly journeys with nothing but an old photograph in search of the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. While the subject matter seems heavy on the surface, this is actually one of the most quirky and unconventionally comedic books I have read in recent years, while still remaining wholly touching until the end. Read this if you liked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (also by Foer).
For the Chick Lit Lady – Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
If the wildly colorful cover doesn’t get you, the endearing female characters will. Modern Lovers tells the story of two Brooklyn-based women as they find themselves confronting middle age, children growing up way too fast, and the ever-present struggle between career and home life. It is the quintessential “beach read” and could not have been more entertaining to breeze through. Read this if you liked The Vacationers (also by Straub).
For the Dreamer With Her Head in the Clouds – On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee
Set in a futuristic world that is anything but Utopian, this novel follows the journey of Fan, a gifted diver who sets out to leave her isolated community in search of her vanished significant other. Both mind-expanding and oddly familiar, this read is a departure from the ordinary and an incredible chronicle of Fan’s adventures beyond the walls of her home. Read this if you liked The Dog Stars by Peter Heller.
For the Memoir Maniac – The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A stunning picture of loss, grief, and regeneration, this book completely blew me away. Magical Thinking chronicle’s the loss of Didion’s husband of nearly 40 years, and how she experienced sorrow in the wake of this great tragedy. Read this if you liked Play It As It Lays (also by Didion).
For Those of Us Reminiscing About Our Childhoods – The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
This collection of short stories is both laugh-out-loud funny and universally takes you back to memories from girlhood, both the painful and poignant kinds. Regardless of when, where, or how you grew up, there is a piece of the narrative in here that is relatable for everyone. Read this if you liked I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley.
For Myself – The Books on My Personal Summer Reading List