Books to Read in the Summer of 2015

In January, I committed to read 45 books in 2015 and have been tracking my progress via the Reading Challenge on Goodreads. I’m currently nearing the end of book 25 (yea me!). Back in April, I updated you on what I’d be reading this year, and today, I’m checking back in on the rather eclectic bunch of books (both fiction and nonfiction) I’m tacking in 2015. Here’s what I’ve recently read:

books to read summer 2015

  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: I’m almost done with this, Ng’s debut novel, and I am really enjoying it. While the plot is one readers have seen before (a main character dies and her family is devastated), Ng’s approach is original, as she explores feelings of identity, race, and connection. I highly recommend this book if you have not already read it.
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: I cannot stop gushing about this book, giving it five stars on Goodreads. A 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner, this novel is part fiction, part history, part magical realism, part fantasy, and all of it’s terrific. This book is an inspired choice if you like original and unique voices in fiction writing.
  • Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman: A funny book for me to read since my bébés are in elementary school, but this was my book club’s selection for July. It provoked a wonderful conversation when we met on everything from what our kids eat (or don’t eat) to bedtime routines to “adult” time. I’ll admit to not being thrilled about the book when it was first selected—I wasn’t keen on reading a parenting book—but Bringing Up Bébé is more a memoir about finding your way when you are out of your element, considered through the lens of parenting. I did especially enjoy the author’s peek into the development of the palates of French children; we Americans, with our hamburgers and chicken fingers, have a lot to learn!
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: This book, which took the author 15 years to write (while he worked on other projects), moves back and forth from la dolce vita Italy, to Hollywood, to Idaho. With rich characters (both real and imagined), Beautiful Ruins is both poignant and hopeful. This would be a good book to pack in your beach bag this summer.
  • Delicious! by Ruth Reichl: I found this book in a used book store (or, as I like to call stores like that, the place to find buried treasure) and quickly devoured (pun intended) it in a weekend. An engaging story about a young woman who moves to New York City to join an esteemed culinary magazine only to see the publication go out of business, Delicious! benefits from Reichl’s extensive years as a food critic and magazine editor. The book is filled with details about New York and cooking, and would make a fun read on a trip this summer.
  • Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming: I’m a fan of Alan Cumming’s (he steals every scene in The Good Wife), so I looked forward to reading his memoir which chronicles his upbringing in Scotland, how he got into acting, and his complicated and difficult relationship with his father. Thankfully, the adult Alan comes across as someone who has an enormous capacity for love and fun and has moved on from the hurt of his childhood. I later learned that Alan narrated the audio version of his book and wished I had listened to it. (I’m such a sucker for a Scottish accent!)

I’m also (still) working on Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand (very good but sad) and H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (also good). Next up is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Also, for book club, I’m going to re-read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Quite a mix, isn’t it? That’s what I love most about my reading list this year – a real array of stories and voices.

What are you reading this summer? What do you recommend I add to my to read list? Tell me in the comments, and happy reading!

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Photo Credit: Books 6 via photopin (license)

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