All the time is reading time for me, but summer seems to be the easiest time to read for many. We love to sit by the lake or the pool with a favorite book, or find refuge in the air conditioning and read on the couch. As a child, my mom always read on car rides up to the cabin on summer weekends. Right now my favorite time to read is after 8:00 pm, when it’s cool enough outside to plug in my porch lights and settle in with a glass of wine or margarita.
You may have the perfect time and spot to read in mind, but you still need the perfect book. These five are my absolute favorite summer reads.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.
I first knew this book as a movie, and what a wonderful movie it is. I have probably seen it 15 times...at least. After about my twelfth viewing of the movie, I finally decided to read the book a few years ago. I’m so glad I did. This book brought me right to Italy; I was enamored with Mayes’ descriptions of Italian life and culture. Under the Tuscan Sun makes me yearn for travel and the luxury sitting out on a terrace sipping wine, surrounded by fresh air and fresh food. A life that is overflowing in peace and contentment.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
This book is wildly different from Under the Tuscan Sun. It’s filled with exciting, funny, and heartbreaking prose about two Jewish boys in New York City who chase and capture the American dream by expelling their creativity and frustrations into comic books. It was fascinating for me to read a book that felt so different. I was amazed at Chabon’s writing style.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
This is my favorite book. Absolute favorite. I’m not sure how many people I have recommended this book to, but here I am again, recommending it. This young adult novel is filled with such breathtaking imagery and emotion that I get swept away each and every time I read it. It’s a coming of age novel; a novel about love and friendship and courage. I cannot stress this enough, if you only going to pick up one of these books, pick this one.
The Nix by Nathan Hill
This author was actually my English professor in college! He’s amazingly talented - enough that Meryl Streep is producing a TV show based off this book. Yeah, it’s that good. I love how this book is crosses different characters and decades, slowly peeling back and revealing the mysteries of this novel. Many say it’s a coming of age novel, or a novel about politics and love. I think it’s about the flaws in our character, how our actions and the actions of others make us. This book is witty, funny, and charged - don’t miss out.
Mama Day By Gloria Naylor
This book is stunning with its storytelling. A book about culture, voodoo, family, love, and hatred. It’s also achingly funny and clever. A story about Cocoa, a woman struggling to both leave and embrace the culture and mysticism of where she came from. This novel brings you face to face with the complexity of humans living real lives, it’s surrounded by Naylor’s simple and outstanding voice that shakes you and says “hear me” in the gentlest way possible.