Let’s be real here: you know this girl loves a reading list. And spoiler alert, I’ve already worked my way through more than half of my summer reading list. Anyone surprised here? Regardless of my abnormal reading behaviors, I get asked with veritable frequency what I’m ready at the moment, slash this summer (if only I had a penny for every time I got that question). So I’m bringing you my own summer reading list, which is part wish list that I’ll be working my way through this season, and part book review for the titles already completed. Whether you’re at a sharehouse on the beach, on an epic adventure vacation, or planted in front of the AC in bed, you’re sure to be transported.
Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe – I’ll admit, it was the pale blue color, faint gold illustrations, and excellent typography that initially caught my eye when I came across Signs. However, what intrigued me the most, upon further investigation, was the premise that we are surrounded consistently by spiritual signs from loved ones, if only we can learn to recognize and be attuned to them. Through personal stories, the author seeks to share her experience with interpreting and sharing those very signs.
Normal People – I must say, having already torn through this novel, that is contains two of the most realistic and artfully drawn characters that I have encountered in quite some time. Connell and Marianne grow up together in Ireland in vastly different ways, and yet find each other and continue to come back to each other over the course of their lifetimes, whether near or far.
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food – As someone who’s had a multi-year fixation with Blue Hill, I was tipped over the edge when I heard the chef and owner, Dan Barber, being interviewed on The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast a few weeks back. When he made an offhand mention about a book he’d written, I scrambled to put my name on the library waitlist faster than I do most important tasks in my daily life. Barber examines the interplay of farming, localism, and just plain old good food with a nod to how we can co-create a sustainable new system that serves our future planet.
City of Girls – From the woman who brought you Eat, Pray, Love (and also happens to operate one of my favorite Instagram accounts out there), this is the newest Elizabeth Gilbert novel that is hot off the presses and getting great reviews. It seems like a quintessential beach read to me – it’s set in the 1940s in Manhattan, and examines that world through the lens of the protagonist’s female sexuality as she tells her story in retrospect.
Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together – After ten years covering the relationship beat for Time Magazine, and sustaining a multi-decade marriage while at it, Belinda Luscombe has a thing or two to say about the institution of marriage. The book is light-hearted, well-researched, not preachy, and laugh out loud funny. Email me when finished so we can chuckle about her husband’s architecture fixation that she keeps coming back to.
Queenie – I have to say, I found Queenie to be one of the more disappointing reads I’ve delved into lately. It’s been getting fantastic reviews, and after a recommendation from a trusted source, it seemed like the perfect way to kick off the summer reading season. Unfortunately, I found it to be a bit too in the chick lit vein for my taste.
The Art of Leaving – This stunningly beautiful memoir by Yemeni transplant Ayelet Tsabari has been the sleeper hit of my summer reading list thus far. Raised in Israel in an immigrant family before setting off into the world to escape her past and her father’s premature death, Ayelet details her time as a nomad before, finally, returning back home.
Where the Crawdads Sing – I wanted to love this book so much. It was a recommendation from my aunt, my sister, my mother, AND countless others. But alas, it fell a bit short for me. There’s such a fine line between sentimental and campy, and this novel felt a bit too campy for me. The descriptions were incredibly soft and heavy-handed, there was poetry scattered throughout (not particularly good poetry, IMO), and it ultimately felt a bit staid and predictable.