Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer Reading List

Do you remember when you were a kid how you would get a suggested summer reading list? And then you would get back to school and be like 'look how many books I read this summer! Give me extra credit'. No? Just me? Cool story, bro.

Typically people release summer reading lists at the start of the summer but doesn't a book in any other season prove to be as enjoyable? I have a running list of books on my phone so when I'm in a store, I usually add to it or when I'm done reading something I know what to pick up. But my list never seems to get shorter and often I'll finish a book and find it wasn't on my list after all. Always reading. Here's what I read this summer:

1. Notes from a Blue Bike (Tsh Oxenreider) - This sounded very promising and was recommended by a blogger I follow. Former expat moves back to the US with her family and then realizes 'hey, travelling/living abroad and a family are not mutually exclusive'. This was more an autobiography of moving around and providing tips on how to pursue living abroad, homeschooling, sustainable food sources etc. when you have a family. So not entirely relatable for my stage of life but the big take-away for me was you make what works for you work for you, there's no 'right' way which is a strong message. She also has a blog and other books which I might read at some point.

2. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) - Like everyone else, I heard about this after the Hulu series launched. Knowing nothing about it, I thought it was a historical drama because of the picture I saw of Elizabeth Moss from the show where she had on a bonnet and long dress. False. This is one of those 'not too distant futures' of a dystopian society. Couldn't put it down, it's SO GOOD.

3. Commonwealth (Ann Patchett) - This book and the next two were impulse purchases. I'd heard of this book and was waiting for a friend in a book shop (danger zone!). I wasn't intending on buying anything but they had a sale shelf and I picked up a book, read the back and as soon as I could smell that new book smell, I was hooked. And going home with three books. This one follows a mish-mash of siblings (two families broken up by an affair and divorce then smushed together by remarriage and 6 step-siblings between them) from childhood into adulthood. Lots of changes in perspective and jumps in time which I quite enjoy. I also realized I'd read State of Wonder by the same author which was similarly amazing.

4. Proud to Be a Mammal (Czeslaw Milosz) - One of the sale books, this one was selected solely because it's by a Polish author. Turns out that he is like THE Polish author, well done. After my trip to Poland a couple months ago, I've felt like I should support my heritage more, starting by being able to name one Polish author. This is actually a collection of his short stories and essays so I've been reading it in conjunction with other books.

5. All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)- This is one of those books eeeeeveryone was reading last year but I just now picked it up at a friend's moving sale. In the same vein as Sarah's Key and The Nightingale (both excellent options, btw), this follows multiple characters during the lead up to and duration of World War II, primarily in France but also in Germany. The main character is a young French girl who is blind and living in Paris when the war breaks out. Similarly, her counterpart in Germany is a young orphan boy with big dreams about being an inventor before getting swept up in the war. Needless to say, I couldn't put this down and read all 500+ pages in about 3 days. It was fantastic.

6. The Sellout (Paul Beatty) - There was a guy I worked with who would spend his lunch break happily reading. Also was happy for us to interrupt him and chat over lunch so that was nice. I used to read at lunch in school but got made fun of for it sooo then I stopped. Now I've started again so take that middle school bullies! Anyways, aforementioned coworker was reading this once and so I thought I would give it a go. Currently in progress, it's definitely different from other book formats and subjects I've read before.

7. Thank You for Being Late (Tom Friedman) - My dad gave me this book for my birthday (which is great because books!). The last Friedman book I read was The World Is Flat back when the internet was still ramping up to flatten the world. I think it's thoroughly and officially a plane again. To be read in the near future (sorry, dad).

What book recommendations do you have? Do you read different kinds of books in the summer versus fall versus winter? Is winter a more serious book reading season while summer is more beach reads that keep things light and carefree? Thoughts. Words. Feels. 

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