Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Reads

When you think summer, what three words immediately jump to mind?

For me, it's sundresses, sand, and books. Since I was a little girl, I've always loved the freedom summer brought. Summer meant freedom from schoolwork and hours spent in the sunshine, either riding horses or reading a novel. On weekday mornings, my mom would drive me to the local library from which I would later emerge, arms laden with books. I sped through their pages, unable to get enough.

While those lazy days of childhood have passed, I still associate summer with reading. I don't have the free time anymore, but I somehow start out each summer with a long book list that morphs and grows over the hot months. I'm sure that this list will change between now and September, but for now, here's what I'm reading this summer.

1.// Dune by Frank Herbert
To be honest, Mark is the one who picked up this book at our local bookstore. I'm not entirely sure what it's about by here's some phrases he's used to describe it: science fiction, water shortages, dusty planet, really awesome. Judging from how quickly he's reading it, I would say it's living up to the "really awesome" descriptor. I certainly haven't seen him read a book so quickly in a long time.

2.// Longbourne by Jo Baker
I am currently--as we speak or perhaps I should say, as I type--reading this novel. Now, while I certainly love Jane Austen's work, I'm not usually a fan of spin-off stories. I think it's a rather lazy way to go about writing a novel. That being said... I have heard such glowing praise for this novel, I had to pick up a copy. I don't want to give anything away... but the novel focuses on the servants of Longbourne, the home of the Bennetts. (If you're rusty on your Austen, the Bennetts are the family of Pride and Prejudice.) Set in the kitchen rather than in the parlor, this author gives you a completely different view of Regency England, one genteel Austen did not allow her readers to peek into. I'm already in love with the protagonist Sarah, one of the housemaids.

3.// Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
An oldie but a goodie. Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit always has been and always will be among my top five favorite books. Nonfiction yet so readable, Hillenbrand's book recounts the rags-to-riches story of the famous racehorse Seabiscuit. A knobbly-kneed cantankerous Thoroughbred, Seabiscuit was destined for a questionable fate until a retired trainer saw the voracious gleam in his eye. Purchased cheap, Seabiscuit later became one of the horse-racing's biggest legends and served as an inspiration to a nation caught in the doldrums and difficulties of the Great Depression. I highly, highly recommend this book. I've read it so many times the pages are falling out, yet the story never gets old.

4.// I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Go buy this book, Right now. I mean it.
When they labeled this book a thriller, they were not lying. Hayes' main character is a retired "intelligence agent"--someone who operates far above and beyond the reaches of the CIA, moving and living in covert circles of nameless peers and invisible enemies. This "agent" serves as a consultant on a New York murder case, only to stumble upon an even bigger, scarier plot that spans from New York to Afghanistan, to Greece, to Turkey, to Germany, and beyond. I could not put this book down. 

5. // A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
The token classic. Every summer, I try to read one classic. This summer, after recently having read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, I decided to return to the Jazz Age with a Hemingway novel. How I got through college without reading this, I'm not sure. But figure it's about time.

Do you have any good book suggestions?
Stay tuned for book reviews and list updates!

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