For me, summertime is epitomized by a few simple things. A chilled glass of wine, a hastily-eaten ice cream cone, a day that never seems to end because of a late sunset. And a good book on a beach (although I won’t be picky, I’ll take an body of water). My summer reading guide is a combination of a books that I’ve read recently, and a few books that I myself am aiming to read this summer. In honor of the first day of summer tomorrow, read on for all of the books that I highly recommend you pick up just in time for the first summer weekend.
Call Me By Your Name – This book has officially been added to my “favorite books of all time” list. I have been singing its praises since I finished the last page (while openly weeping). It is the most raw and emotional of love stories, but there is an incredible sense of innocence and levity throughout, and some incredible bits of unexpected humor as well. Read the book, then immediately watch the movie, as I did.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – When a group of female Indian immigrants living in London begin taking a creative writing course, the type of writing that they do ends up being a bit spicier than originally intended. It also ends up educating the young teacher about the rich and often hidden lives of these women, who now have a means of expressing themselves and their desires with the gift of the written word.
The Orchardist – I’ve had this book on my list for a while now, as I’ve heard that the author, Amanda Coplin, has a gift with words. It’s the story of a solitary farmer living in the Pacific Northwest, and the relationship that he forms with two girls who come to spend time on his land.
The Flamethrowers – The 1970s NYC art scene. An Italian motorcycle dynasty. Sex, love, and drugs. This novel has it all. It gets a bit dark and self-indulgent with melancholy at time, but nonetheless I could not put it down.
Euphoria – When the lives of three anthropologists working in the remote jungle of New Guinea intersect, the outcome is nothing that any of them could have anticipated. This is a quick read (less than 300 pages) but the character development was quite thoughtful, and I found the anthropological angle to be riveting.
Paper Love – This memoir tells the story of a story, the story of the author’s grandfather, who escaped Nazi-overtaken Eastern Europe and began life anew in the United States. However, as she begins digging into his history, she discovers a woman he left behind, the love of his life, and goes in search of her, and of the truth about her family.
You Think It, I’ll Say It – Curtis Sittenfeld’s wry humor and clever observations come to life in her book of short stories. To me, this is the quintessential summer read – combining excellent character development with humor and poignancy.
Dreams From My Father – This book has been on my list for ages, and I figured it was high time I finally dove into it. There’s a lot of the lofty prose that we are so used to from Obama’s orations, and I came away with a much more intimate knowledge of how his past, and his father’s story, informed who he became as a man and a future president.