There is so much to love about Summer and catching up on some great reads is one of them. Last year a dear friend of mine dropped off the GOOP newsletter where Gwyneth Paltrow surveys her friends on titles they love. You can read the entire list here. It was a gift of a post. I discovered some all-time favorites and wanted to share these and others with you.
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette WallsThis was the second novel from Jeannette Wells who took us on her wild and reckless childhood ride in The Glass Castle. Who could put it down? I'm going to go out on a limb and say Half Broke Horses is EVEN BETTER! It's a great story about the spirit of pioneering women. You will love, love, love this book! And finish it in a day like you did The Glass Castle. Get hoppin!
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Being bold and saying this is one of the best books I've ever read. I could not put it down. As a matter of fact, I read this before reading The Help and recognized many similarities between the two but this being much deeper. If you read anything this summer I think it should be this.
The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr
I don't remember how I came about this book but I'm so happy I did. It must have been my beloved book club (love those girls). It was such a sweet surprise. When people ask me for suggestions this one always pops in my head. Read the excerpt from Publishers Weekly below:
"Abandoned by his white father and his absent Indian mother, rejected by his intolerant London relatives, Rajiv Travers, 12 years old in 1954, is sent to stay with his father's other brother, Oliver, who has recently followed the love of his life, romance novelist Ruth, from New York City to tiny Pisgah, Mo. In short order, Oliver commits suicide, and Ruth becomes an uneasy guardian to this curious young boy, who shields himself from pain and prejudice with his quick wit and shrewd impersonations. Peerwise, Raj is quickly taken under the wing of Annie Celli, already a striking beauty, joining a group that also includes Annie's soul mate, the delicate and emotionally fragile Lewis. As the friends grow into young men and women, Annie finds herself torn between her devotion to the increasingly unstable Lewis (who witnessed his younger brother's murder) and her undeniable feelings for Raj. Murr takes a Faulknerian approach to his portrait of Pisgah, peopling it with minor characters whose eccentricities provide local color and shrouded gothic elements—one of which reverberates menacingly. Murr poignantly dramatizes love's capacity to effect change."
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
My love of Italy and that it takes place in turbulent 15th-century Florence are just two reasons why I loved this book. It was steamy and intense. Very good read.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
This book has it all: friendship, family, sisterhood, arranged marriages, foot binding, pain, strength, all taking place in 19th-century China. You will love it. My girlfriend and I still throw around sayings from this book like "the bed business".
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
You'll finish this book and be a better human being - flat out. True story about a husband and wife rescuing a homeless man and the role Christianity plays in loving and helping others. The way in which this woman handles her husband's emotional infidelities with such love, grace and forgiveness will leave you proud to have met her. And that's just a small sidebar. If you loved the story of The Blind Side, this ones for you.
Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
Like no other book I've ever read. Very different read but enjoyed it all the same.
"I was in Washington, D.C., on my way to my daughter’s college graduation, when I overheard a woman talking about this book. I bought it immediately, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever read. A miracle of faith, family and classic adventure - an incredible story." - Tricia Brock, Director
Some light-hearted funny favorites:
A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel
This one immediately comes to mind as just a hilarious fun read that every little girl growing up in a small town can relate to. Spoken through the eyes of a child, I will read this again, just for the laughs.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Very similar in style to A Girl Named Zippy in that the story is narrated by a fourteen year old girl and her matter-of-fact outlook on life. The character Lily will steal your heart and so will the sisters who make honey. I LOVED THIS BOOK and you will to.
Classics: Fun to revisit and discover new reasons to fall in love all over again.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book had such an impact on me as a young girl to stand up for what is right vs. popular opinion.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Its been years since I read The Catcher in the Rye but I just remember loving the character's insight. I wonder if I'll love it the same all these years later?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Oh to have attended one of those lavish affairs!
ON MY READING LIST YET TO DISCOVER:
The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby
My love for Italy has me craving this book! Read the excerpt from GOOP here:
"This novel is set in Sicily in 1963. The author successfully evokes the mood of a small Sicilian town in the throes of a family crisis. It traces the history of one of the town’s most prominent families – unveiling all of their secrets. The author is brilliant at describing all of the nuances of life in this town. You feel the heat, smell the air, crave the gossip and feel transported to Sicily. If you've been there you will appreciate the authenticity of the description, and if you haven't you will want to go."
A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias
"One of the most beautiful books about marriage, ever..." -Luke Janklow, New York City Book Agent
A Venetian Affair by Andrea di Robilant
More Italy. Shocker.
"I read this book two weeks ago before going to Venice for the first time! The book made visiting that city all the more magical. Forbidden, clandestine love in the 18th century - so romantic. Passion drips off the page. Its impact is all the more felt because it’s a true story, based on letters found by the author’s father." -Tricia Brock, Director
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
From the Author of Seabiscuit, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this book. I brought it to our book club's annual holiday exchange party and had a hard time parting with it. I'm hoping to finally read it this Summer.
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
"The tragic and beautiful story of two Indian women: a wealthy woman and her most trusted servant. I was touched by the huge differences yet intense similarities in their lives. This is a book about how class transcends money and position." - Abby Kane
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Recently my sister-in-law and I were swapping titles and she told me this is her favorite. So of course I must read it.
So tell me friends, what are some of your favorite titles?
**All photos via Amazon