Summer reading is upon us and I couldn’t be more ready to plop myself down in a pool chair with a good book. (This is all in theory, of course, pretending that I’m not interrupted every 1.5 minutes to look for goggles, to dig for change for the concession stand, to wipe sunscreen out of somebody’s eyes, to watch an amazing underwater handstand, to settle a fight over diving sticks. . . I could go on, but I won’t.)
I’ve read some really good books lately and one doozy. This is where I share everything I’ve read and what I would (and wouldn’t) recommend. I always love to hear your feedback–and what you’ll be reading this Summer.
The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable I’m deeming this the book of Summer. I would consider it the perfect beach read–especially if you have even a slight interest in the Kennedy family. This fictional story is based on the real-life love affair between Alicia Darr (a Polish immigrant) and JFK himself. She was the love interest before Jackie and, according to the story (and other accounts), they were not only engaged briefly but had a child together. It’s fascinating. I read this with my phone in hand, constantly googling real images of the people I was reading about. This book comes out today and I’d love to hear what you think if you decide to read it.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng This book has gotten a lot of hype, and it mostly lived up to it for me. It’s a good dysfunctional family drama (which I always enjoy!) with a moral dilemma mixed in for good measure. (Does a baby belong with a mother who abandoned it for good reason or a family who’s loved it for a year?)
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain Although I’m not sure why, this was my first book by this author. After I finished, I immediately put two more of hers on my “want to read” list at the library. The storyline is so crazy yet somehow believable. It’s the story of how a teenage girl reluctantly gets involved in an elaborate kidnapping scheme and ends up raising a baby that’s not hers. (That’s the very abbreviated description.) It feels like a really good Dateline story. I loved this one.
Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton What a powerful story of forgiveness. This the true story of a white rape victim and a wrongly accused black man and how, after many years and a decade-long prison term, they develop a beautiful friendship. It’s hard to wrap my mind around how someone is able to extend that much grace but it’s really a beautiful picture of how Christ loves us.
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones All of the buzz has been around the author’s latest book An American Marriage, but I actually liked this one even better. First line of the book: “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.” So, there you go. The story is told from the perspectives of two teenage girls–both with the same father. One knows about the other, and the other is clueless that her dad has a second family. A great read.
Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman I could just list the books I really liked but I try to save you the expense of time and money by also telling you what I would pass up. Did I think this was a literary classic going into it? Umm, no. But I did expect it to be a more entertaining behind-the-scenes look of the The Bachelor and Bachelorette. I was a little embarrassed to even check this one out; I swear the librarian gave me a disapproving look. It’s written by an entertainment reporter that somehow got kicked out of the Bachelor inner circle, but it wasn’t much of a tell-all. There were a few interesting interviews with past contestants and some funny stories of collaborations/events/etc. the contestants did after the show to make money. But the rest seemed like an attempt to fill 200+ pages. . .
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott I’ll start by saying I didn’t dislike this book. In fact, it held my attention pretty well up to the very end because the whole book felt like it was on the verge of something big happening. There are a lot of interesting things going on here: a young father-to-be commits suicide, a young widow tries to find her way and is taken in by a local convent, the baby grows up and decides to become a nun but changes her mind for love, the widow finds love with a man whose wife is dying. All of these storylines seemed like something else was about to happen, but I didn’t feel like it ever really did. It was still an interesting read; maybe just not the kind of ending I enjoy.
Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen This is the story of a marriage, a family, a neighborhood and how one event affects them all. But if I’m honest, I had a hard time believing that the thing that happened (outside of their family) could so directly affect the main characters’ marriage. The buildup and fallout reminded me in some ways of Truly Madly Guilty.
What’s on your Summer reading list?