The last time our in-house librarian, Janssen, put together a recreational reading list it was a huge hit so I asked her to give us another one for the summer. I’m uploading all of her picks to my mobile kindle reader so I can fit in a little summer reading while the kids play at the park. (Don’t worry – I’ll take lots of breaks to push them on the swings too.)
Summer is here, and for me that means checking out giant stacks of books to read over the summer.
If you’re looking for something to pack along on a plane trip, for reading by the beach, or just sitting at the park while your children pay, these eight books are all winners. Whether you’re looking for non-fiction or chick lit, young adult fiction or a memoir, fantasy or a bestseller, there’s something here for everyone.
- The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – This book has been a smash hit since it came out earlier this summer, and for good reason. Bookstore owner A.J. Fikry isn’t exactly warm and friendly. In fact, he’s pretty prickly and not without good reason. After a succession of miscarriages, his wife is killed in an accident. And as if those personal troubles aren’t enough, his bookstore sales are flagging and the rare book he’s held on to as financial safety is stolen from his home. But everything changes when a baby girl is abandoned in his shop and he decides to adopt her. I read it on a family beach trip in May and kept thinking, “It’s so nice to be reading something so great.”
- Delancey by Molly Wizenberg – I love Molly’s writing (she made a name for herself with her food blog, Orangette), and Delancey is everything I’ve been hoping for since her first book came out four years ago. Soon after Molly and Brandon are married, he announces that he wants to open a pizza restaurant. At first, she assumes it’s going to be a passing fancy, but as he visits pizza joints around the country, buys a commercial mixer, signs a lease on a building, and eventually drops out of his PhD program, she starts to realize he’s in earnest. And she also discovers she’s not really on board. Can their marriage survive? And now I’m dying to visit Delancey in Seattle myself. If you live in the area and can go, know that I’m more than a little jealous.
- The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – If you haven’t read anything by Jojo Moyes, you’re in for a treat. She really shot to fame with Me Before You (which is excellent and heartbreaking), and all her books are really fantastic. This one follows two different couples, one split apart by war during World War II and one in the present time where the husband has just recently died. The two stories are tied together by a portrait of the wife from WWII, painted by her artist husband. The two stories are flawlessly woven together, and it’s just a terrifically well-plotted story. And, like all of Moyes’ books, I wasn’t sure how it would end. I spent two days sneaking away to read it while my children ate breakfast, played on their own, and got put to bed early.
- The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne – I was surprised by how many people already knew and loved this funny little British chick-lit. She reminds me a bit of Sophie Kinsella, with a lot of funny moments and a sweet romance. Perfect for some low-key beach reading (or while you wait for your child at soccer camp).
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand - There’s almost no chance you haven’t seen this book around, but now, with the movie coming out at the end of the year, this summer is the perfect time to read it. It’s so amazing, you’ll fly through it like you’re reading a novel (and the audio version is phenomenal, if that’s your thing).
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart -This is one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve read it three times now, and even made my husband read it (and he loved it). Frankie attends an elite prep school and when she arrives for her sophomore year, she’s blossomed into a beautiful young woman and snags a handsome boyfriend in no time. But when she discovers that he’s part of an old secret society on campus that doesn’t allow girls, she’s not willing to just sit by. Bit by bit, she infiltrates the group until she’s running the whole thing. Except no one has any idea it’s her masterminding the most successful year the society has ever seen.
- Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch by Jennifer Reese – I love a food book, and this is one of my favorites. Not only is it useful (what things are worth making and what should you just buy from the store?), it’s also laugh-out-loud funny. I lent my copy to someone and never saw it again, and I’m still a little devastated.
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – I am not a fantasy reader. But after hearing person after person rave about this book a few years ago, I finally broke down and read it, and then I was the person recommending it to everyone I know. Karou is an art student in Prague, but she also spends her free time running errands for the half-human monster Brimstone who raised her. She has no idea where she came from or who her parents are, but on a trip for Brimstone, she’s attacked by an angel and suddenly she can’t really pretend she has any sort of a normal life anymore. This book starts fast and just gets better from there. The final book in the trilogy came out this summer and my husband and I both flew through the whole series.
What’s on your summer reading list? I can never get enough of summer reading recommendations, so suggest away!
P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?
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