This summer was magical. It felt like such a break…the boys went to camp while we were in Rhode Island (4 hours each morning where they were both out of the house…hello new world!!!) and in Michigan they ran wild and free with friends and relatives around to lend a helping hand. In addition to lots of crafting time (see here for proof) I also had ample time to read. There’s nothing quite as indulgent as curling up with a good book by the pool or lake. It is one of those true summer luxuries, and I was sure not to take it for granted. I thought I’d share some of the books that I’ve enjoyed this summer in case you are looking for a good fall read. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately as I know I’ll need some good books to unwind with once the fall activity level ramps up!
The Nightingale: I saw this book everywhere, from the NYT Bestseller List to every bookstore window that I passed. Initially I wrote it off as another “it” book that would fall short of my expectations…that is until I downloaded a sample chapter on my Ipad (that’s right, I’ve made the switch). I immediately purchased the book and hardly put it down for the next two days. It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story set in France during WWII. I loved the strong female characters who were forced to make sacrifices both for their family and the greater good.
The Silent Wife: I categorize this as a beach read- mystery, suspense, murder, an unraveling marriage and a Chicago setting (which I loved). It is an easy read but kept me thoroughly entertained.
All the Light We Cannot See: BEST book of the summer, without a doubt. Again, I was hesitant to pick it up because I get a bit tired of books set during WWII (they can start to all blend together after a while), and this had so much buzz that again, I wondered whether it would live up to the hype. However, it far surpassed my expectations, and I was taken in after the first few pages. This book is so well written, and completely transports you to another time and place. The characters are incredibly memorable, which lends such a fresh view to the WWII theme. If you read one book this fall, read this.
The Good Girl: I can’t recall now how I found out about author Mary Kubica, but I was immediately drawn to her writing style. This reminded me of Gone Girl, a mystery that centers around an intriguing female character and ends with a twist that you’ll never see coming.
Pretty Baby: Kubica’s second book, released just this summer, is another psychological thriller, this time centered around a women who takes in a young homeless mother and her baby. I read this in a few days and found it hard to put down. The main character’s emotional states are so complex and unstable (and the author captures it all so well) that it makes for an intense read.
My favorite author, without a doubt, is Jhumpa Lahiri. I have met her twice at book signings, and I own a copy of every book she’s written (and they are all signed with a personal message…fan girl!). I hadn’t reread her short story collections in many years, and this past week, I was feeling like I needed to revisit her writing. Each night, I read one story, and they are so breathtakingly beautiful that my heart kinda aches afterward. But in a good way. If you’ve never read her writing, I highly suggest starting with Interpreter of Maladies.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest: I read the sample of this book and instantly wanted to read more. That’s always a good sign. This has been marketed as a book about food and the foodie culture, with plenty of humor. Sounds like fun!
Tinkers: My friend Kellen recommended this book, and I have it downloaded already. I’m looking forward to it, though I have no idea what to expect after reading the synopsis.
The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood: I’m dying to read this book after Felicia recommended it on her post about motherhood and craft, however I am having trouble finding an affordable copy. It’s outrageously expensive on Amazon, and our library doesn’t have a copy. The search continues…
Finally, I just have to share with you that Vijay is finally at the stage where he is loving chapter books. We read a chapter or two together before his nap, and another before bed. He often begs me to read another chapter at some point during the day…I LOVE it. I cannot even tell you how much I love it. My mom read to us every night until we were approaching our teen years. I believe it is such a sacred and important ritual. The fact that Vijay loves books as much as I do is simply the best. Vik is doing his best to keep up…but we still read a few simpler books for him each night too. Here’s a few we’ve been enjoying lately, and I’d really love to hear any suggestions you have:
My Father’s Dragon (first in a series of three): These are short chapter books with illustrations throughout, which makes it easy for young readers to follow. The stories are magical and feature an adventurous young boy who helps to free a baby dragon. What’s not to love!
Charlotte’s Web: A classic, obviously. If you can find an addition with illustrations throughout, it can help young readers follow along, and will hold their attention for longer.
Homer Price: This is a collection of very endearing and old fashioned stories, by legendary children’s author Robert McCloskey, about a boy named Homer Price growing up in a small town. Certain stories were a bit over Vijay’s head, but he loved the story about Homer’s pet skunk and the story about the doughnut machine. Vijay enjoys stories that are pretty tame, without too much drama, and without any villains or scary events, so this book about everyday life in a small town was perfect.
Above, Vijay at 10 months: It makes me laugh that way back in the day I used to worry about whether Vijay would ever be into books. Basically, I worried we had a meathead on our hands 😉 I worried about a lot of things then. Man how things change! So little worries me now about the boys compared to that “new mom anxiety.” Is he on weight? Is he getting enough milk? Is he walking on time? Is he talking on time? Now my only concern is more along the lines of “Can your brother still breath while you have him in that headlock?”