Summer Reading (Part 1)
I’ve had my nose in a book. Constantly. I discovered a podcast called “What Should I Read Next” and have had one in my hand ever since. I love to read and I value reading, but my day to day life wasn’t showing that at all, so I made a change. I just decided to be a better reader. If I had time to waste on my phone or even on the tv at night, then I could spend that time more line with my values by using it to read. Somewhere in the last few weeks, we cancelled cable and I haven’t even noticed. Well, except for the only show on our DVR that I set which is a saturday morning food network talk show called the Kitchen. I do miss that come monday mornings, but otherwise, I haven’t missed it at all. Personally, reading is like a guilt free netflix binge. I get to tune out a bit, dive into another story, and kick my feet up, without the blah feeling I get after watching another crime show or refreshing my newsfeed at the commercial break to see if anyone posted something entertaining. It is more fulfilling and it has the bonus effect of making me feel productive during my down time.
This spike in reading is made possible by my local library. Did you know that you can just go online and search the library’s database for any book you want? Did you know that if any library in their huge area wide library has the book you want, they just send it to your library so you can read it? Did you know that you don’t even have to go search for the book in the shelves with all the numbers and letters and your kids asking you for frozen yogurt? No, they just gather all the books you want and then email you to come pick them up at the front desk when you’re around. The books on your must read now list? Reading level and topically relevant kids books? Audio books so you can load them up and knock out some reading while you do house work or drive? Yeah, the library has those and they’re totally fine with sharing them. Nerd Alert. Game Changer.
So what have I been reading lately?
Quick run down:
The Book of Unknown Americans– is a novel by Cristina Henríquez. This book gave me a window into a people group in a way that changed my heart. And so, I recommend it to you as well. It’s a quick read novel that makes you think twice before you make any type of quick judgement about someone who doesn’t look like you or speak your language. There is always more to the story. There was an underlying question throughout the book of fault and blame and whether or not it’s possible or even useful to pinpoint. A great book to start out the summer reads.
My Notorious Life: A Novel – Kate Manning set the scene in 1860’s New York and told the tale of Axie Maldoon. An orphan who found a roof over her head and a future apprenticeship with a midwife made quite a reputation for herself by going against the grain in the name of women’s rights and survival. It was definitely on the more controversial end of what I read, but again, there is always more to the story and I don’t cover my ears to it. This was a good one and I couldn’t put it down.
Eight Hundred Grapes – Laura Dave totally got me here. Even the inside cover starts out with a hook, “There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide… What if your beloved fiancé, he of the crinkly smile and irresistible British accent, had kept a life-changing secret from you? And what if, just a week before your dream wedding, you discovered it?” I know…WHAT?! Exactly. This is the chick lit you have been waiting for. I flew through this book and the whole thing was just a guilty pleasure. Perfect summer read for sure.
The One-in-a-million Boy – by Monica Wood. This one touched my heart so. It was beautifully written and, once again, showed that there is always more to the story. I can’t summarize better than the description on the amazon link. I had to just copy paste it. Only because I have never read a novel with such a unique perspective and story line. This one definitely got me thinking!
The incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house — a friendship that touches each member of the boy’s unmoored familyFor years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records–obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son’s unfinished Boy Scout badge. For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver — and that’s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning. The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.
The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun– Gretchen Rubin has a very logical and calculated way of investigating the concept of Happiness and all of the habits, tendencies, postures, and reflexes we employ can directly effect our level of happiness. She makes it clear that the opposite of Happiness, isn’t depression. That is a different book entirely. She’s just saying that with the cards in our very hands, we can play towards contentment and joy or deprivation and unfulfillment. This one has taken me the longest to get through because it has so much I want to chew on. I will have to purchase my own copy and reread to make notes and highlight the whole thing. I think this might be a “most favorite life changing book” I read this summer. It really got me thinking, and talking, which both make me happy.
I’m going to stop at 5 and save the one I’m reading right now for next time. (It’s The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, have you read it?)
What are you reading? Have you heard of any of the ones on my list? I’d love to chat books with you and welcome any suggestions you think I’d like!
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