Normally I’m more of a winter reader, I like to get cozy on the couch or in my bed with a great historical fiction or a door stopper sized fantasy read. However, this year has included more summer reading. Usually I want more action in the summer, but this has been a whirlwind of a summer for me and mine so reading has been a welcome, calming respite in the midst of chaos.
Recently I read a poll asking what type of reader are you? I definitely fall in the category of “reads in spurts”. It seems I am either entirely book-less because I can’t decide what to read next or I’m devouring 3 books in a week. The best strategy to keep me going is to have a stack of books at the ready that I have already decided are keepers. I love my Goodreads app because it helps me remember what I want to read, as well as what I’ve already read.
In my early twenties, I worked at a lovely independent book store for a couple of years. Working there helped me cultivate a love for the small independent seller and what they bring to the table versus the big box store with all the discounts… however, last year while I was in Florida for work, I stopped by a Barnes & Noble out of convenience and found someone who “got me”.
Typically I check out books for free at the library or through the library app on my Kindle, but I found myself dropping down good money for a stack of books, at a big box store, because the lady convinced me they were all worth my time. I’m happy to say I read all 7 books that I bought that day, except one and it’s still on my list (Goldfinch!).
My son was dying to spend a gift card on a board game at B&N, so I found myself there again this summer in Florida. When I saw the same woman working, I couldn’t help asking for recommendations. And what happened? I walked out with another great stack of books, though all from the discount paperback section. I have already made my way through several and have enjoyed every one.
This brings me to my point about “book friends”. They’re not always your best friends, right? There are certain people in my life that I get excited to see because even though we’re not close and maybe we don’t even know each other well, they’re my book friends. I know at some point in our conversation, however brief, one of us will ask what the other has been reading. It’s such a joy.
I can read all the reviews online, but talking to an actual, physical person who has read something and gives me an opinion is so much more fulfilling. Over the years, most of the best books I have read were recommendations from book friends - Pillars of the Earth, The Good Earth, Jitterbug Perfume - just to name a few.
Goodreads is a great place for book friends to connect. If you like it too, let’s connect! I would love to hear about all of the great books you’re reading. One of my book friends passed away a few years ago and I still see his entries, every time I open Goodreads. It’s a happy/sad thing. Reese’s or Oprah’s book clubs are so great too. I think it helps us connect to other readers, especially if you’re all reading some of the same books.
Here is the stack of books I bought this summer, plus a couple of loaners. I’ll give you a brief run down on the ones I have made it through so far. I’m currently reading Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer- Interesting, at times insightful, but the main character was so weak that I didn’t really enjoy him. I know it won a Pulitzer. but…
Beartown by Fredrik Backman- I loved this book. It’s not really summer reading, serious subject matter, but the author is so insightful on life and human nature. I want to read more from him.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - I don’t actually watch him, but the B&N lady told me it was fascinating and it was an interesting read, I’m glad I read it. I understand more about apartheid now. However, I thought the writing was very poor and the timeline was very choppy and mixed up so you were jumping forward and backward in his life. Plus, I didn’t really enjoy being regaled by his tales of entreprenurial prowess.
Heartburn (not pictured) by Nora Ephron - LOVE! This is one of my all time favorite movies with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Glad I finally got around to reading this funny, easy read about…well, infidelity and cooking.
The Song of Achilles (not pictured) by Madeline Miller - Started very strong but I found myself pushing to get through the last third. I loved Circe, so I wanted to love this one too, but alas. Still a good book though. I really hope she continues in the Greek myth vein, there isn’t enough good, modern fiction in that genre.