My Summer Reading List


This is totally not what’s happening in my bedroom. That would be weird.

I have a grotesque number of books stacked around my bedroom. Like, I hesitate even taking a picture of the situation, lest you think I am a total nut.

There are young adult books that my daughter has recommended, like Rainbow Rowell’s “Attachments.” Some novels lent by my friend and fellow writer including Ann Pachett’s “The Patron Saint of Liars” and the new Sue Monk Kidd book from another reader friend. There are books on writing screenplays and memoirs and just writing in general, a few by Dani Shapiro (who I actually have been reading lately). Something called “Yoga and the Quest for True Self” that I will probably never get around to and of course, self help books galore – like “The Five Love Languages,” that sounded like a really good idea at the time I ordered it off Amazon late one one night. And then there’s “Middlemarch.” Fucking Middlemarch. It’s like always there, all 853 pages of it, just mocking me since I started reading it on a sailboat in the middle of the Aegean last August. Reminding me of all that I’ve yet to have accomplished.

My Kindle is also not immune to the log jam of unfinished and never opened reads. “The Husband’s Secret” lost me once we found out what his secret was and I only read a few of the short stories, I am ashamed to say, in George Saunder’s “Tenth of December.” I never even started Katherine Boo’s “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” or Elissa Schappell’s “Blueprints for Building Better Girls.” Then there’s Pete Hamills’ “A Drinking Life,” Stacy Schiff’s “Cleopatra” and the third installment of “The Game of Thrones” series I never got around to, probably because I’m so busy watching it unfold on my television. But don’t worry, all three Fifty Shades of Grey books were quickly and thoroughly read because they are the literary equivalent of eating a bag of Doritos in one sitting. Great at the time and thoroughly addictive but in retrospect, kinda unhealthy.

Anyway, not to get all ambitious, but I think this summer is the summer I start getting through all of the reading material I actually spent money on. I mean, if you tallied the costs of all the unread books both physical and digital I have purchased, it’s got to add up to at the very least, a really nice pair of shoes (which is another item I probably own more of than I really need).

So, as part of my plan to spend my afternoons this summer accompanying my little guy to the beach so he can Boogie board his heart out in the cold Atlantic surf with his little buddies, I would like to spend my time reading stuff I already own. Maybe with, like, one exception.

So, I think my top five books to start will be:

  1. “The Patron Saint of Liars,” by Ann Patchett
  2. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou (book club selection)
  3. “Tenth of December,” George Saunders
  4. “The Outlander,” Diana Gabaldon (okay, I’m buying this because I’m hot to try the series and love that sci-fi stuff)
  5. “Middlemarch,” George Eliot (because everybody seems to love it and if I can read “War and Peace” I can get through this, dammit)

What have I read lately?  Well, I just finished the recently-released novel “Bittersweet” the other night, which got amazing reviews in Entertainment Weekly and People but left me sort of cold. I was hoping for more of a shocker at the end after the whole build up throughout the novel that, according to Amazon, “exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.”

I finished Julia Fierro’s “Cutting Teeth” last week, which was a fun skewering of a Brooklyn play group that goes off to spend the weekend at a Hamptons beach house and plenty of hipster angst ensures. It’s the perfect smart beach read and kind of made me glad I had teens and not toddlers to deal with nowadays.

What about you? Do you feel bad about all of your unread books or are you better at reading what you already own (maybe that’s my problem, that I always want what I don’t already have)?

And don’t forget to let all of us know what’s on your summer reading list for all of those good people that don’t have already have a queue of books lined up next to their bed or in a cloud somewhere.

Happy reading!

9 thoughts on “My Summer Reading List

  1. I highly recommend Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta and This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, too.

  2. Love Ann Patchett. Bel Canto probably in my fave list. Read it on the way to Spain…another story. Reading her State of Wonder now.

  3. The bookstore is a little slice of heaven for me, but I can never make a choice of what book to buy, so I usually walk out with a magazine, or some type of planner. Since I am currently unemployed, I might actually be able to finish a book, so the suggestions are appreciated.

  4. I no longer feel bad about the books I have not read. I will give up on a book that I am not enjoying, rather than force myself to finish it. After all, I read for enjoyment!

    Funny you should mention “The Husband’s Secret”. I’m reading it now and just found out the secret but am going to continue as I am enjoying the book.

    I don’t keep a separate summer reading list but here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed recently:

    I’m Not Her by Jane Gurtler
    Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen (and all of her other books!)
    The One & Only by Emily Giffin
    Thought I Knew You by Kate Moretti
    Safe with Me by Amy Hatvany (and all of her other books!)
    No Child of Mine by Susan Lewis
    Stay by Allie Larkin

    I could go on and on but will leave it there!

  5. Pingback: Amy Byrnes | Friday Faves: What I’ve Read So Far in 2019

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