No matter how crazy my life gets, I always find time to read. My Kindle is usually in my purse for whenever I have a few free minutes. And, summer is the perfect opportunity to read more. Beach trips and vacations practically scream for something juicy.
As we always like to remind our readers, it is important to find that balance in your life. Books are a great way to escape from your day-to-day routine, fantasize, get inspired and maybe a little motivated to make changes in your own life. No need to feel guilty. Put your feet up and enjoy.
Below, is a list of some of my favorites- both old and new. I am not a literary critic, just someone who loves a good story from all different genres.
Light Summer Reads
Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian
When Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography, spending all her free time at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies, Laurel discovers a deeply hidden secret–a story that leads her far from her old life, and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her. A page turner.
Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty
A line from this book’s summary drew me right in. A wife stumbles across a letter written by her husband, which begins “My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…”
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
Yes, same author. She is great for quick-paced summer reading. In this novel, Alice falls and forgets the past decade. She is surprised to learn that she has three children and is getting a divorce. The last thing she remembers is being pregnant with her first child and being madly in love with her husband. Sounds like a cliché, but really makes you stop and think.
Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson
Watson’s main character, Christine, struggles with a big problem: Every time she goes to sleep, she forgets her name, her identity, her location, even her husband (due to a rare kind of amnesia). Christine starts to keep a journal to remind herself of the basic details, and through it she learns her husband, Ben, is keeping facts from her. Is he trying to protect her from a dark past, or is he concealing something more sinister? A real thriller!
Great Stories (A little deeper than your average summer beach read.)
The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Differbaugh
A story of an 18-year old girl who grew up in foster care and now struggles to survive as an adult. The story weaves between past and present and forces her to confront a painful secret.
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
This story brings together two very unlikely people and breaks your heart. Just read it – so good!
The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer
A promising student of architecture leaves his native country of Hungary to study in Paris in the late 1930s — until his scholarship is revoked when anti-Jewish laws go into effect. He returns to Hungry as the war escalates. The character’s happiest days, and later, their struggles, are rendered in a sweeping, epic fashion. I have read many books on the Holocaust and hesitated to read another as they can be so heart wrenching – but it was so worth it.
Little Bee, by Chris Cleave
This unique story of a Nigerian girl and a British woman is not at all your typical novel. The story challenges you to think about concepts of civility and ethical choices. One of those books that keeps you thinking afterwards.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
This moving memoir draws you in from the first pages. Cheryl lost her mother and her marriage and with nothing else to lose, she embarks on a thousand mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail hoping to heal and find herself again. Strayed’s honesty and humor made this book a page-turner for me.
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s, by John Elder Robison
Ever since he was young, John Robison struggled to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A fascinating read – Robinson is a born story-teller.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingslover
Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves or learn to live without it. Don’t be afraid of the title; Kingsolver is a gifted story teller. It reads like a novel and is full of wit and humor.
On My List to Read This Summer
Since I have not yet read these, I am not able to offer an opinion, but they are on my reading list for the summer.
I’m Having So Much Fun Here Without You, by Courtney Maum
In this reverse love story set in Paris and London, a failed monogamist attempts to woo his wife back and to answer the question: Is it really possible to fall back in love with your spouse?
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
According to the New York Times, this novel is ”Haunting, sophisticated . . . a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents.”
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, by Marja Mills
Harper Lee wrote one of America’s best-loved novels, To Kill a Mockingird. She has not written another novel since and has not granted any interviews for the past fifty years. That is, until she invited Marja Mills to move in next door to her and share her life story.
All Fall Down, by Jennifer Weiner
On the outside, she’s got it all: money, a beautiful family, and a nice house. But an addiction to prescription pills could erase the lovely picture.
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