Ah, summertime and the living is easy. School got out really late in Washington this year, so my summer has just begun. Lazy days of laying in my hammock (and later, on the beach in Kauai!) while reading await.
To me, a good summer of reading takes some balance: something funny, something thought-provoking, something entertaining. Here’s what I’m planning on (or have already read!) this summer:
Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Status: Reading it now
Why I’m reading it: I admire Russo’s style and his insightful perspective on small-town America. His book Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer in 2002, is one of my favorite books.
Synopsis: The novel follows the goings-on in an upstate New York town called North Bath. Several characters are on loan from a previous Russo novel, Nobody’s Fool, which was his first critically-acclaimed book. I’m not very far into the book, so I can’t tell you much more than that!
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Status: Finished it!
Why I read it: I was late to the party on this one! The Goldfinch was a best-seller and Pulitzer winner in 2014. I wanted to see what all the buzz had been about!
Synopsis: Theodore Decker is in a tragic explosion at an art museum that kills his mother. In shock and under strange circumstances, he leaves the museum with Carel Fabritius’ painting The Goldfinch tucked in his backpack. He’s afraid to return the painting for fear of prosecution, but the painting changes the course of his life. Not only is this book beautifully written, it’s a page-turner. At over 700 pages, it better be!
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Status: Haven’t started it!
Why I want to read it: They say not to judge a book by its cover, but this cover is gorgeous. I have to admit, it drew me in. I also enjoy a We Were the Mulvaneys-style family drama, which this book promises!
Synopsis: “The Nest,” the Plumb family’s trust fund is put at risk by a sibling’s reckless behavior. Family drama ensues.
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes
Status: Finished it (in less than 24 hours)!
Why I read it: Part of the novel takes place in the San Juan Islands at the same time period (1890s) as my MiL, Ashley Sweeney’s, novel Eliza Waite. The author is local to me!
Synopsis: When her great aunt passes away, Inara takes over her family’s estate on Orcas Island, determined to turn it into a boutique hotel. She finds a silk sleeve embroidered in a Chinese style under the stairs and her quest to find out the origin of the sleeve uncovers family secrets. The present-day story is augmented with chapters that tell the story of Mei Lein, the Chinese-American woman who embroidered the sleeve. This book is not artfully written, but it is a very engaging story.
I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson
Status: Started it.
Why I want to read it: Bryson makes me laugh, often out loud!
Synopsis: After living in England for 20 years, Bryson returns to the United States. They say you can’t go home, and Bryson finds this to be rather true. The book is a collections of columns he wrote about the quirks of modern American society. Because there isn’t an overall plot, it is easy to read this book in installments, rather than all at once.
The Girls by Emma Cline
Status: Haven’t started yet
Why I want to read it: I read a review of it in Time and since then, it seems to keep popping up in different publications.
Synopsis: A vulnerable girl gets sucked into a Charles Mansonesque cult. It looks dark but intriguing.
O Pioneers by Willa Cather
Status: Started it (on audiobook)
Why I want to read it: What is a summer reading list without a classic? Besides, a couple of my former students who took AP Language said it was their favorite book they read this year.
Synopsis: The book follows the story of Swedish-American pioneer family in the early 1900s as they struggle to work the land after their patriarch’s death. The protagonist, Alexandra, has grit. I like her.
Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hillary Liftin
Status: Haven’t started it
Why I want to read it: Every summer reading list needs a fluffy book. The one will be perfect for lazy days on Kauai!
Synopsis: Lizzie Pepper is a movie star who wants to write her memoir. This book is her fictional memoir. The author, Hillary Liftin, was a ghostwriter to the stars, so it’s got to be juicy!
I’m sure I’ll pick up some other books along the way as well, but this is a start!
What’s on your summer reading list?