Summer Reading List
Ten years ago, "summer reading" were my two least favorite words in the English language. My teachers for the upcoming school year would assign 2-3 books for us to read every summer throughout the entirety of my childhood, and I never enjoyed a minute of it. Especially because I was one of the vast majority who left it all to the final week of summer vacation. Who really wants to read during their vacation?!
Well, turns out, I do. Reading is now one of my favorite pasttimes and I regret the days I spent reading my assigned books and resenting each page I turned. I now see books as the fine form of entertainment they are. I appreciate authors' beautiful prose and careful selection of every word. I love it when I read a phrase so compelling that I have to re-read it and store it in my memory to replay again when it applies to my life. I have many favorite book quotes that I know I'll never get tired of reading.
Now, going into a bookstore is like my ten-year-old self going into a candy store. I don't know where to start, I'm so overwhelmed with excitement, and I can't help myself from leaving with a bag so heavy I can hardly carry it. I can waste hours just perusing the shelves, finding titles that catch my eye, and reading the summaries. Narrowing it down to the select few I have the money in my wallet for is the hardest part. The second hardest part is finishing a book and refraining from screaming to the world and everyone I know how wonderful it was and how they need to read it or else their lives will never amount to anything.
This summer I've read some really great titles. They've all been extremely different from one another, but I love bouncing through different worlds in this way, letting each author take me on a unique journey that no other can. I'm going to share a few of the books I've read, as well as the ones currently sitting on my shelf desperately waiting to be chosen.
1. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
"I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined, Look closer…and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed." Just one of the hundreds of incredibly crafted quotes from this wildly interesting novel. This book tells the story of the beautiful and reckless Zelda Fitzgerald through the fictional eyes of the author. She is such a fascinatingly complex person, which compelled Fowler to reach into her thoughts a little and craft this novel. Set at the dawn of the jazz age, Zelda quickly rises to fame along with her husband, Scott, and the two live an exciting, scandalous, and glamorous life together. Fowler takes us back in time and completely into the world of Zelda's chaotic mind as she slowly began to lose it.
2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I've already shared a post about this one, but I had to include it on the list again because of how much I enjoyed it. I still want to watch the movie, although I've heard it wasn't nearly as good as the book was.
3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
This one was a killer. Funny, exciting, and thrilling all at the same time, Kwan describes the world of the royals of Singapore from a multitude of perspectives. Imagine dating a boy you thought to be perfectly normal and down-to-earth, then realizing he came from a wealth greater than anything you could've imagined. That's what happens to Rachel when she goes home with her boyfriend, Nick, to Singapore to meet his family. Oh, and added bonus, his family hates her from the start. It's witty, fast-paced, and a window into a world we can only ever dream about. An absolute must-read if you're looking for something fun to take to the beach.
4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book, a memoir about a year she spent traveling to Italy, India, and Indonesia in order to rediscover herself, was fascinating to me. Sure, I wasn't crazy about the author (she struck me as annoying at times) but she inspired me after all. I spent half a year traveling and seeing the world and experiencing foreign customs, and I didn't feel nearly as fulfilled as this journey seemed to make her feel. In Italy, she does as the Romans do, and eats. This chapter not only made me crave carbs and gelato, but made me feel nostalgic for my visits to Italy. Italy is a nation filled with happy people, and their happiness always seems to rub off on visitors. In India, she focused on meditation, waking up at 3am and commencing an entire day of Indian rituals and activities, including hymns and prayers. This part was the most eye-opening for me, because I can't imagine sitting in silence and solitude but all the while feeling peace and joy. Maybe I need to give it a try. Finally, in the third chapter, she focuses on human relations. This part was heartwarming. I felt inspired to take on a journey such as hers to reconstruct my life by starting at zero. Not sure how or if I'll ever do that, but it was cool to see that someone did and it worked.
5. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin
If you have any interest whatsoever in the elite wealth of Upper East Side Manhattan, this book is a great one. A memoir written by a mom who moved from downtown to the Upper East Side in hopes for a better childhood for her son, Martin quickly sees that the women around her are a different species. She analyzes her experience as the anthropologist she is, drawing behavior comparisons to different animal species and identifying certain observations according to what she knows about anthropology. From playdate drama to the painfully-desired but unattainable Birkin bag, she reveals what it's really like to assimilate into this society, and it's nothing like I ever expected it would be.
The Last Letter From my Lover by Jojo Moyes (because Me Before You was my fave)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (the title just tugged at my heartstrings because of my beloved childhood dog, Rosie)