A Reader’s Digest (summer book recommendations).

I’ve mentioned how much I’ve been reading and visiting the library. But I haven’t mentioned WHAT I’ve been reading. Here are my recommendations for this second half of summer.

For the beach / pool / lazy day you need to escape: 
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

WHAT: A woman with husband and kids forgets 10 years of her life and doesn’t like where she finds herself.
WHY: It’s thoughtfully-written (if implausible) and a powerful reminder to be intentional about how we spend our time before we unwittingly become a version of ourselves we don’t recognize.

For that 16-hr plane ride:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

WHAT: A boy is orphaned after a freak museum explosion kills his mother; he uses the years after to find himself, his place in the world … and a place for the painting he stole that fateful day.
WHY: Yes, this is a tome, but Tartt creates such a dazzlingly alive New York City and a very real, human main character. There is quite a bit of drug use and violence, but it felt like I was peering through a veil into an underworld I’ve known existed but have never been able to imagine. Also, this won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

WHAT: A husband is framed for his wife’s murder … but, did he actually do it? (note: suspenseful and gruesome)
WHY: You’ll be so busy turning page after page to find out whodunnit, your travel hours will zip by.

For some thought-provoking fiction:
Frances & Bernard by Bauer

WHAT: An epistolary novel reimagines what feisty Flannery O’Connor would’ve been like in love.
WHY: Well-written and packed with thoughtful philosophies on Christianity and love (I had to re-read a few letters to interpret the viewpoints). Sometimes I felt like I was reading theology, and other times a love story. If you like CS Lewis, you will enjoy this. Trust me.

For the quarter-life (25 yrs) crisis you’re having:
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

WHAT: “Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them now.”
WHY: I teared-up during the introduction. I can relate and find it so sad that my twenty-something peers have everything at their fingertips and yet feel lost, directionless, and hopeless. Jay provides research-driven, straight-forward advice with lots of compassion.

For the foodie adventurer who appreciates good writing: 
The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

WHAT: A Harvard grad marries a lifelong farmer and together they build an organic CDSA farm in upstate New York.
WHY: The food-writing imagery. My goodness, you will salivate! Kimball is a writing professor and her descriptions of milking cows, driving a team of horses, and cooking from the land are delicious.

If you want to know more about dogs (because, you know, that’s what I do in my spare time): 
Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

WHAT: “What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.”
WHY: This is the best canine cognitive/behavioral book I’ve read this summer. It’s infuses research into an approachable voice. I appreciate that Horowitz is both a dog lover and cognitive scientist; she used personal anecdotes from her rescue dog, Pump as the basis for her chapters. As someone who’s an amateur dog-owner, I felt Horowitz understood my emotional draw to dogs.

For the feel-good fiction you need: 
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

WHAT: A widowed and grumpy bookstore owner on a remote island learns how to open his heart.
WHY: It’s a quick read, mentions lots of my favorite books, and it’s just so so gently sweet.


PS: What’re you reading? Summertime makes me eager for suggestions.


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