Summer always brings with it two of my favorite things – books & movies. Growing up I looked forward to the summer reading program at the library and took pride in checking each book off the list until I claimed my prize, a free book to keep forever on my bookshelf. To this day I still have the copy of Romeo & Juliet that I earned one summer.
The more I read and the older I get, I seem to gravitate towards historical fiction and drama/suspense novels. Perhaps it’s my inner historian coming out, but it also serves as a connection with my grandmother who got me hooked on some of my favorites historical novels. I just love being able to chat with her about Tudor England and our family genealogy which mainly comes from England. Although a lot of the time an easy and light-hearted book is what’s needed day-to-day.
Some books make you laugh, some make you think, some make you question. A book that I don’t want to put down and leaves me wanting more – almost to the point of sadness when I turn the last page – that’s the sign of a good book.
So over the next several weeks I’m going to check each one of these books off my summer reading list. Won’t you join in the fun?
The Opposite Of Loneliness // Marina Keegan
Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at The New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. Marina left behind a rich, deeply expansive trove of writing that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation.
The Opposite of Loneliness is an unforgettable collection of Marina’s essays and stories that articulates the universal struggle all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to impact the world.
Never Never // Brianna Shrum
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up. When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up. But grow up he does.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan. Except one.
The Good Girl // Mary Kubica
One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life. When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive novel that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.
All The Light We Cannot See // Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child // J.K. Rowling
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
First Comes Love // Emily Giffin
Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters. Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths.
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew—and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.
Three Sisters, Three Queens // Philippa Gregory
When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined—with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.
United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.
Wildflower // Drew Barrymore
A portrait of Drew’s life in stories as she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences she’s had throughout her life. It includes tales of living in her first apartment as a teenager (and how laundry may have saved her life), getting stuck under a gas station overhang on a cross-country road trip, saying good-bye to her father in a way only he could have understood, and many more journeys and lessons that have led her to the successful, happy, and healthy place she is today.
Have you read any of these books?
Have a suggested summer reading book?
I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave it in the comments below!