Great Summer Reads

Hey y’all, it’s summer. After the whirlwind that is commonly referred to as May-hem, I am in need of some serious R&R. You too? It’s been a while since I have written a book review so this is the mother-of-all reviews with 8 great books I have read in recent months. And I also included my next read, Normal People, which friends say is un-put-downable. I did some on Audible, and a few in paperback. One trick to Audible is that I choose books that are read by the actual author. I really enjoy hearing how the author interprets their own characters and writing. Enjoy!

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo – This thriller, which takes place in Malaysia, transports you to another time and place. It is chock full of romance and offers a beautiful look into far East mysticism and superstition. I don’t travel too often, but I wish I did. I was really craving a cultural read, and this hit the spot.

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs – I knew very little about Steve Jobs when I started this book. This memoir told through the eyes of his daughter who he denied was his for most of her young childhood, was disturbing but also impossible to put down. I never read his bio but I can imagine it’s an interesting follow up read for some perspective on the more intimate family side of his life. Books like this remind me that there really is no such thing as a perfect childhood. Brennan-Jobs was beyond honest, brave in what she shared, but I imagine it was very cathartic finally sharing her story which she had to deny for so long.

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin РThis book reminded me so much of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Coming from a big family, I love novels that delve into the complicated and important relationships of siblings. This book touches on the hardship of addiction, losing a parent, and the hard work that comes with loving people who are very different than ourselves. 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – There is no way I could consolidate in just a few sentences how much this book meant to me. Brown’s words on authentic living changed so much for me this winter. In Daring Greatly Brown talks about how vulnerability and fear are the cornerstones to finding joy and meaningful relationships in this life. It’s a must read for anyone who has ever wanted to go deeper in their relationship with self and others.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – This was another interesting look at marriage and intimate relationships. The writer and main characters in this novel are African American, and Jones does an excellent job of tackling the tough topic of race and discrimination in our legal system.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – I have a sense many of you have already read this, as it is was certainly one of the most talked about novels of last year. Holy smokes was this a tear jerker. A little bit of mystery, a lot of romance, and a healthy dose of natural wonder. I loved the description and facts shared on the creatures and plants that grow in the southern swamps.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver – This one I listened to on Audible and I was amazed by how young and vibrant Kingsolver’s voice was as she read. This novel takes the reader between current day and the Victorian era, as you get to know two families living in the same home but decades apart. Both time periods focus on women who are scientists and educators. The detail on all things botanical was beautiful. This is a novel, but Kingsolver uses real people’s stories as part of the plot. I was very intrigued by what it looked like for women trying to work and add value to the world around them in the late 1800s. Boy was it different back then.

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro – My mother was adopted, and over time we have found, lost, and re-found members of her biological family. Shapiro, in the first few pages shares with the readers startling news that comes after she “on a lark” decides to do a genetic test kit. She shares emotionally and with much description, what family means to her. And you are left wondering how genetic ties differ from the ties that are made through shared life experience. This is one of many memoirs she has written about her life and family.

Normal People by Sally Rooney – This coming of age tale comes highly reviewed. Two friends said they read it in 48 hours. The first few chapters feel very “Romeo and Juliet”, but it’s set in current times with text correspondence, school dances, and teens scrambling to “make the grade”, get into college, and run away from their small town existence. I’ll try and zip out a full review once I have finished. It’s great so far…

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