Friday, June 27, 2014

Staff Picks: Summer Stories

Summer is the perfect time to sit back, sip some sweet tea, and dive into a good book. The days are long and the sun is just begging to shine on the pages of a fun read.  Here are our favorites and a few new ones we've recently found ourselves reading. What's your favorite story to escape into during the warm summer months?

I've really found myself loving audiobooks lately, especially when I'm out for run or a long summer drive. One of my absolute favorite audiobooks from this year was Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. It's hard to describe, but was definitely one that I hated to finish (not because of the ending, but because I wanted to keep connecting with the characters)!

If you're a mystery fan, you might enjoy Lene Kaaberbøl's Nina Borg Series: The Boy in the Suitcase, Invisible MurderDeath of a Nightingale--It's quick paced with fantastically flawed & imperfect, but relatable, characters.

I'm planning on devouring all of Rainbow Rowell's books via Audible this summer, starting with Fangirl.  I, like Cara, am an audiobook lover, mostly because I can work while I listen and it keeps my book list on track, but I also have a plan to turn off the TV more this summer (which will be harder than I'd like to admit) and pick up some good, real life books.  Starting with Lois Lowry's The Giver and going through that series (Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son) and probably squeezing a couple of Sarah Dessen books for good measure.  I also really want to grab B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories and Rob Lowe's Love Life.  Lowe's first book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, was surprisingly wonderful, especially when listening to him read it, so I'm confident his follow-up will be equally intriguing.  The saddest part of this entire paragraph is that I'm only half-way through The Giver and it's the shortest, quickest book on the planet.  So, wish me luck.


I've been in a bit of a reading rut of late, so I'm taking this list with me to the library this week. However, I'm about halfway through Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (I took a break because my Kindle hold of Attachments came through at the library - excellent, although a bit heavy on the swears if you aren't down with that kind of thing) and once again I feel that Malcolm Gladwell is the guy for people who don't love nonfiction but want to read nonfiction. (Yes, I just checked, and my recommendation when we did a post of this kind last summer was also a Malcolm Gladwell. Sorry, but not really. He's awesome.) I just love the way he sees the world and always end up jabbering to everyone I know about how fascinating he is. I also just finished All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior, which was a fantastic book about why it always seems like parents are stressed out and aren't sure they like their children while simultaneously declaring that parenting is the most rewarding thing they've ever done.  It's the perfect mix of interesting studies and real-life interviews (I suppose they are probably case studies, but that makes it sound less interesting than it is). I think it would be interesting for almost anyone, but especially for anyone who wants to know why they love their kids to pieces and kind of wants to run away from them some days. (Also, if you want to be grossed out and fascinated at the same time, I highly recommend anything by Mary Roach, but I really enjoyed her recent-ish Gulp: Adventures in the Alimentary Canal. Just don't read the last third while you're eating, because it's mostly about poop.)


Well, Lindsey beat me to the Rainbow Rowell books, which happen to be my current obsession. I seriously love her style, wit, and storytelling abilities. Her characters are quickly becoming favorites of mine, although I will say that Eleanor and Park is probably my favorite, it is also extremely profane so people with sensitivity to that sort of thing: be warned (WAY more than Attachments which Megan mentioned above). I recently read The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, which was a fantastic read and made me think about how choices affect those around us. I didn't love it as much as What Alice Forgot, also by Moriarty, but she has a way of making you reflect on your own life through her stories. Finally, I've mentioned Amy Harmon before on this blog, but she is one of my favorite authors, and her new book Infinity + One just came out earlier this month and I'm hoping to get a chance to read it while on vacation this week in Palm Springs.


Guys. If you do one thing this summer, I beg you to rediscover the books of Roald Dahl. Kids books, you might ask? Well, yes, sort of, but these are much more than simply kids books. For me, these are the books that made me realize just how much someone can create with only their imagination. So much of the creativity that I have today was inspired by my early explorations of Roald Dahl. You can go the route of finally reading the original book versions of the many movies he has had made out of his books- James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, or the iconic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Or you can branch out and discover new worlds with The BFG, Danny the Champion of the World or The Witches (which was technically made into a movie, but not a very popular one...). Or, if you simply have to know what on earth a vermicious knid is, then by all means, read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Read any of them. Read all of them. I don't care, just go read!

Want more great suggestions? Check out last year's beach reads post!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The opinions are our own. 

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