Recently Laura Trevey of Bright Bold & Beautiful asked followers about their favorite summer memories. As I pondered the question, I kept picturing myself at various ages curled up outside under summertime shade reading a book. Whether under a tree, poolside or on the beach, I have always cherished my summer escapes into a good book.
Of course under a beach umbrella is the best place possible for reading, and as Ellen gets packing for her annual getaway to Sunset Beach, she is looking for a good book to put in her beach bag. I’ve been polling some of the posse and taking notes from other bloggers to put together this list of summer reading possibilities. Everyone always assumes that light reads a la Elin Hilderbrand and Dorothea Benton Frank are most appropriate on the beach. Sometimes, though, I prefer to do my heavier reading on the beach when a glance up at an ocean view keeps me from being dragged down too deeply into the dark mood of the book.
As Ellen checks her reading barometer for the type of book she wants to immerse herself in, here from my sources is a forecast of some she might enjoy.
Sunny and Breezy
The Matchmaker should probably be listed under Cloudy as the main character faces breast cancer, a diagnosis with which Ms. Hilderbrand was confronted shortly before this novel was published. You can read her take on life imitating fiction here.
Suggested by Carpool Goddess, Lisa Scottoline and her 20-something daughter Francesca have written a book of humorous essays about learning to stay close while living apart. It sounds perfect for Ellen and lDd who vacations with Ellen and whose oldest just graduated from college.
Our favorite book reviewer, Ashley Farley of Chronicles . . . of an Avid Reader and Indie Author, recently featured Dorothea Benton Frank’s most recent, The Hurricane Sisters. I love listening to Dot Frank’s stories on my Audible app and am looking forward to hearing her latest on one of my many upcoming road trips.
After enjoying several delightful tour guides in Italy, I have put Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide on my to-read list. Ellen included it in her Italian “Poscritto” reading list, and it sounds like a lark. Both of us must find time for it out this year.
JK Rowling is out with the second in her series about private detective Cormoran Strike written under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. My book club loved The Cuckoo’s Calling, and after reading the Richmond Times-Dispatch review on Sunday, I can’t wait to start The Silkworm in which Ms. Rowling apparently slips in some digs at the publishing industry which revealed the secret of her alter ego.
If, like us, you love vintage shopping as well as a good read, try A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. Vintage fashion and wartime friendship is vaguely reminiscent of Jojo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind (see below) though much lighter.
While Ellen was visiting A Gentleman’s Farm, cCo recommended The Bees by Laline Paull. Told from the perspective of a maiden bee in an ancient culture, it sounds truly original. Whether Ellen starts a colony of her own or not, this novel should capture her imagination.
bMt told me that she is rereading Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. In light of Louis Zamperini’s recent passing and the movie premiere of Angelina Jolie’s version of the book later this year, this summer seems the perfect time to recall Mr. Zamperini’s remarkable life.
From the author of Loving Frank, Under the Wide and Starry Sky imagines the real-life relationship between Robert Louis Stevenson and an American mother who left her philandering husband for a new life with her children in Europe. sMm has recommended this work that is reminiscent of The Paris Wife.
Ashley of Chronicles has gotten me hooked on Australian Liane Moriarty’s books. Quirky characters dot Liane’s homeland settings that she paints so vividly. Now I’m longing to visit Australia as I await her next offering, Big Little Lies, out next week.
If you like Liane’s books, you’ll love these from Jojo Moyes. A British writer who brings unlikely characters together, her moving novels stay with the reader long after she turns the final page. Her latest, One Plus One, is on my to-read list.
Every year I like to read one classic that I have yet to attempt. In recent years, I have undertaken Atlas Shrugged and Swann’s Way. Both were worth the extensive time it took to finish them. Ashley at Chronicles recently posted Top Ten Classics I Want to Read. Catch-22 is on her list, and I’ve added it to mine, too.
Dark and Stormy
I just finished Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch and am still not sure whether it belongs under Cloudy or Dark and Stormy. The plot line takes the reader to many dark places (e.g. terrorism and drugs), but one of the central characters, Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch, provides such hope and beauty that I still can’t quite decide how to characterize this book that has been on the NY Times bestseller list for 38 weeks.
The movie version of the remarkable The Fault in Our Stars is out this summer. While I don’t know how it plays out in the big-screen interpretation, the story, though categorized as Young Adult, is for all grown-ups. The plot of this beautifully written novel revolves around two teens with cancer and has struck a chord with many.
sMm also recommended Summer House with Swimming Pool. A psychological thriller with detestable characters, readers say you can’t put it down but you’ll want to wash your hands afterwards.
I thought I was done stressing about summer reading for my children, but recently my son and his fellow incoming freshmen received this book in the mail to read in preparation for small-group discussions during orientation at the beginning of his fall term. I was curious and had to check it out. Graphic and brutal in a Faulkner-esque style, Salvage the Bones reminds the reader of As I Lay Dying as it recounts 10 days surrounding Hurricane Katrina in the Mississippi Delta. At first disturbed that he was supposed to read it, by the time I finished it I was encouraging him to pick it up.
A couple of months ago, we introduced you to Shannon Geary Weisleder who has an essay published in Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God: 73 Women on Life’s Transitions. Each of the 73 essays is thought-provoking for its female audience, and most everyone will find amongst the book’s pages one or two essays that she can’t forget.
Your Summer Reading Forecast
So what’s the forecast for your summer reading? Have you got any suggestions for Ellen to take to the beach? Just enter it and the barometric category you think it fits into the comments box below under Speak Your Mind (I’ve been trying to change that title but still can’t figure out how). I know the posse would love your suggestions.
July 23, 2014