Saturday, August 27, 2016

(Late) Summer Reads 2016

I know that summer is basically over, but maybe you are still in search of a great read to carry you through Labor Day and into the fall??

Reading is for meeeee

Gosh I am practically brimming over with excitement for the fall, really for one reason: PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES.

No, I'm kidding. I just said that to be cliché. I don't even like those things. The real reason I am humming with excitement for fall is because I don't know if I can survive one more day of this summer heat. Beating the heat is what I'm about right now. The name of my game is "What To Do With A 17-Month Old Toddler and Not Melt??" I'll tell you what: stay inside and play Noah's ark for the 100th time.

Anyway, here are a few books that I've read lately and have greatly enjoyed.

When Crickets Cry -- Charles Martin: I'm hesitant to say this because I don't want to dissuade you from reading it, but this novel sits like a Nicolas Sparks novel: Beautiful southern countryside, good people who are down on their luck, and a little bit of love. I loved the characters in this book so much that I found myself worrying about them throughout the day and having to remind myself that they weren't real. It's beautifully written and makes you cry, laugh, celebrate, and want to sit on the front porch with a beer and a friend.

The Kitchen House --  Kathleen Grissom: This is a story about slaves and their masters on a Virginia plantation and a young white girl caught between those two worlds. It'a a fictional but flabbergasting account of what use to be commonplace in our country, and I couldn't put this book down.

When Breath Becomes Air -- Paul Kalanithi: This fabulously-written memoir about a young neurosurgeon's struggle with his own mortality after being diagnosed with terminal cancer had me at hello. It felt especially personal to me because Michael is a neurosurgeon, and it helped me understand his world much better. But don't let that stop you from reading it -- countless people who aren't immediately connected to neurosurgery have talked with us about this book. Don't read this without tissues, but man, it's good.

The Shoemaker's Wife -- Adriana Trigiani: Oh for the love of all things beautiful, stop what you're doing right this minute and go read this book. It's the greatest love story stretching from the Alps of Northern Italy in the early 1900s, to New York City in the 1920s to Minnesota in the 1940s and beyond. I simply adored it. Enza and Ciro will forever be in my heart! I did have a friend who actually didn't like this book.... if you are not into gorgeous (sometimes long) descriptions and a sort of drawn out love story, then this book isn't for you.

Eligible -- Curtis Sittenfeld: This is a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It's a total chicklit page-turner that I flew through, despite it being very ribald and off-color. I felt like the author felt a need to blow the roof off every social issue of our times (transgender issues, racial issues, premarital sex, feminism) while also going down a strange plot centered around a reality TV show. I don't think everyone will like this book, and it's not a work of literature by any stretch, but it's a quick and entertaining summer read.

The Royal We -- Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan: I actually read this one last year so the details are a bit fuzzy, but the bottom line is that I loved this book. Just like the previous description, it's not a work of fine literature by any means, but it's an absorbing look into a fictional account of Prince William and Princess Kate -- their meeting, courtship and engagement. It's another one that I couldn't put down. It's nothing life-changing, but the pure entertainment and insight into the royal world made it worth it to me.

Loved Walked In -- Marisa de Los Santos: Despite all the characters being too rich or too smart or too kind or too handsome or living in a too perfect home, this story made me smile from ear to ear. It also sort of broke my heart at times, but it ends well. Gosh I wish all books could just be like this one: redemptive, quirky, and romantic.

That's all I've got for now. I hope you at least read one book this summer that you loved! And that you can make it to the beach if you haven't already.... or at least get a beach read and pretend you're there. The beach sure is different for me now with this chick in tow:

"You shall not read. You shall play with me at all times."

"I laugh at your attempt to read! There are birds! We must point at the birds!"

Oh little one, you are a hoot.