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Summer reading doesn’t have to be about fluff. No, no, no, no, no.
Summer reading can be absolutely anything you need, desire or wish to escape into. Summer offers the ideal time to dive deeply into what you love, what intrigues you and what delights you. Here on TSLL blog, of course the French culture is one arena of fascination, but as well, food, travel, life inspiration and a simple, good read by a trusted author are always appreciated.
TSLL readers and IG followers have asked recently for summer reading recommendations, and so I’ve pulled a list of 10 books I think you will enjoy. Curated from perusing the already endless lists of recommendations, I think you will find something for your interests, curiosities or life journey needs depending upon where you are in this moment. But if not, don’t forget to stop by every Friday for the weekly This & That, as well as check out TSLL Shop, click on the “Books” or “Cookbooks” or “Francophile Finds” to see all of the books I have recommended over the past couple of years.
After all, always having a good book on hand is a life necessity oft disguised as a luxury. Read on to find your next favorite book!
For Fellow Francophiles:
1.A Paris Year: My Day-to-Day Adventures in the Most Romantic City in the World by Janice MacLeod
The author of the best-selling book Paris Letters returns to take readers through the streets of Paris as seen through her first year living in the City of Light. With her illustrations and personal memories, readers will also learn perhaps unknown pieces of history from the city they too adore.
2. My French Country Home: Entertaining Through the Seasons by Sharon Santoni
I absolutely cannot wait to read English expat, now living in northern France for decades, lifestyle blogger Sharon Santoni’s new book. Being released on August 8, her second book (her first was full of inspiration about her French girlfriends) My French Country Home captures her stunning home as you have come to love it on her Instagram feed (one of my favorites). With my copy in the mail as I have the opportunity to interview Sharon for an upcoming episode of The Simple Sophisticate podcast, I cannot wait to dive in and discover her seasonal inspiration.
3. My Good Life in France by Janice Marsh
There are so many good Francophile lifestyle books being released in August! On August 7, writer and blogger Janice Marsh’s new book My Good Life in France will be released, and she too will be joining me on The Simple Sophisticate podcast next month, so be sure to stay tuned. From the city of London to the northern French countryside, Janice Marsh discovered the many unexpected, yet beautiful unearthings of a life she had never imagined. Visit her blog here to discover all that has manifested itself since she moved to France, remodeled her country home with her husband and settled in.
4. Uncorked: My Year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French by Paul Shore
Released this past March, Paul Shore, a tech-industry veteran who lived in Provence for a year, but who had lived in France for some time released his new memoir Uncorked. Sharing a handful of the many traditions and pastimes of the locals of Cote d’Azur and Provence, Shore also uses humor and the personal experiences gained to reflect on the importance of travel, but also the difficulties of being new to anything especially a different culture. Offering a reminder to broaden our perspective and keep an open mind as well, if Provence has captured your attention, this book may be just want you are looking for.
For Lovers of Travel & Books:
5. Footsteps by The New York Times
As I shared in this IG pic, I began reading Footsteps in Portland during my recent trip, and have been delighted with each chapter ever since. Years ago, The New York Times had a weekly column titled Footsteps which took readers, with the prose of modern day writers, to destinations that well-known revered writers had been. Beginning with Mark Twain and his time in Hawaii, then to James Baldwin’s Paris, Alice Munro’s Vancouver and even searching for Anne of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, the writers walked where they walked, attempted to see what they saw and share it in such a way to take you on a vacation without leaving your home. I highly recommend if you are like me not traveling as far and as wide as you have or will in the past this summer, but still appreciate the gifts of travel.
The Classic Summer Leisure Read:
6. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophia Kinsella
Being released on July 11th, the best-selling author Sophia Kinsella has a new book to enjoy. A light-hearted narrative, the protagonist, Katie Brenner, feels as though everyone around her, and therefore life, is leaving her behind. And then when she is fired from her job and retreats from London to a cottage in Somerset, it is the contemplation of a what a meaningful life truly means that instantly caught my attention. I look forward intently to reading this book in one weekend or sitting.
Lovers of Mystery:
7. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
The first of two novels on the list has been recommended on more than a few summer readings lists this year. The New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz just released his latest mystery last month and with it gives readers a modern Agatha Christie thriller. Set in England, an editor of a prolific crime-writer, who while being a handful, has created a formula of story-telling that works (aka sells well) every single time, so the editing goes on. However, his recent manuscript is unique, and as Susan Ryeland (the editor) continues to read, she begins to wonder if indeed there is another mystery that has been left unsolved.
~An extra mystery, if you want less thrill and more cozy, an abundance of France and delectable food and wine (it’s my favorite cozy French mystery series), read this as was recommended in April’s #151 episode of the podcast by M.L. Longworth.
Modern Fiction & Tech Curious:
8. Startup: A Novel by Doree Shafrir
Released this past May is a humorous, satirical tale reminding readers that there isn’t always “an app for that”. Doree Shafrir is a veteran online journalist and BuzzFeed writer, and in her debut novel, we are taken into the tech industry where angel donors offer hundreds of millions of dollars to startup dreams, page views and traffic are paramount and blogs, yes blogs, need posts titles that grab eyeballs immediately even if they are salacious. The drama ensues as human power runs up against tech power.
Lovers of Food & Women’s History:
9. What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro
Being released on July 25, if you enjoy history as well as food, pre-order this book. Diving into the culinary preferences and attitudes toward food, learn more than any biographer has shared about each of the following women, simply because they overlooked what we all need to survive: food. Helen Gurley Brown, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barbara Pym, Dorothy Wordsworth, Rosa Lewis and Eva Braun. If any of these names don’t ring a bell, learn more about each of them here, and discover a book full of food for thought.
Endless Life Inspiration:
10. What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
I saved this book to be at the end for a reason: You will want it for yourself, anyone you love and know with a dream or an idea, and you will want it again for yourself. Yes, it is a children’s book, but sometimes the most powerful life lessons are best shared and thus absorbed in the pages of a children’s illustrated story. I first came across this book during the weekend I slipped away to Walla Walla to celebrate my 38th birthday earlier this year, and it nearly brought me to tears. Happy, hopeful, beautiful tears. There is a reason why in 2014 when it was released, it immediately became a New York Times bestseller, and there is a reason why more than 500 people have given it extraordinarily positive reviews. Read this book. I will say no more.
Happy reading this summer.