This summer, I’ve been on a total reading blitz. I’ve finished book after book, jumping between heavy and light, long and short, fiction and non-fiction. Even though the days here in Vermont are already starting to shorten and the nights are getting a bit cool, summer is still here, sunny, and beautiful! So, before Labor Day comes and starts the official coutdown to fall, here are five ideas for summer reads, some light and airy, some short and dense, but all perfect for summer moments… Happy reading all!!
1. THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme Simsion
Fun, light, and easy, this book kept my attention, had a good ending, and was funny throughout. The main character is a man who is looking for a wife and crafts a long questionairre to find the perfect wife. Little does he know, his perfect partner doesn’t meet any of the criteria, and is right in front of him all along. Woven throughout is the fact that the character has Asperger Syndrome, but doesn’t know it. This is being made into a movie, and I bet the movie will be great.
2. DEPARTMENT OF SPECULATION, by Jenny Offill
I loved this book. Truly, madly, deeply. Offill’s book is short, bittersweet, and real. Most of our lives aren’t spectacular stories of Hollywood leaps and hair raising turns. Most of our lives are made up of moments, some beautiful, some heartbreaking, but all small things that compile to make our lives our own. Offil details the rise and fall of a relationship, the newness, beauty, and very real exhaustion and drudgery of parenting with stunning clarity and grace. This book is not for everyone. Many may feel that it is too dark a view, too harsh to take. But for me, fresh in the moment of parenting for the first time, missing my own old self and struggling to find my new place in the world as a mother, wife, employee, this book was utterly engrossing and true.
3. THE VACATIONERS, by Emma Straub
A beach read if there ever was one, this book is light, fun, and a very quick read. It is one of the most frequently mentioned books of the summer, and has one of the most gorgeous covers ever. The story follows the ins and outs of a family’s vacation to Majorca and what happens when parents are on the edge of breaking apart. I wasn’t overly in love with this book, but definitely enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know how all of it would end, and whether the pieces would all be put together again. Toward the end, there is a transitional moment where the book seems to pause and shift, bringing me warmly into the fold, glad that all is well again: “Families were nothing more than hope cast out in a wide net, everyone wanting only the best.”
4. THE FEVER, by Megan Abbott
This book is intense, gets your pulse racing, and makes you want to pull the covers up a bit more tightly around your children and pray for the best. Eeekkkk. Fist off, this book is blurbed by Gillian Flynn, the godmother of all things creepy and creepier. THE FEVER is basically about high school girls (who, quite honestly from my own experience of being one, are mostly terrifying self absorbed tiny humans). The girls are scary scary, and some of Abbott’s imagery kept me up at night. A great book club pick. Quick to read and full of juicy discussion fodder.
5. A SHORT GUIDE TO A HAPPY LIFE, by Anna Quindlen
A lovely jewel, Quindlen reminds us to take joy in the small moments, to pause and breathe, and to take time for life, not just for work. Trying to find balance (Balance?! What balance? I’m just trying to stay afloat!) has been a constant trial and error process. This book helped me to relish in the moment that my daughter found that she could pluck a dandelion out of the ground. To laugh as she tried really hard to feed herself soup from a spoon. To walk beside my husband and feel how his hand felt in mine as we strolled to dinner. I loved this book. Read it for nuggets of wisdom: “Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement.”