Why Not . . . Build a Summer Reading List?

May 28, 2014

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As a student and as a teacher, one of the luxuries that summer ushered in is the ability to read anything that piques my interest. While now the blog offers this opportunity year-round as I am able to share devoured and loved books weekly, I still long for the lengthy days of more leisure during the summer months to get lost on vacation, while traveling or at home with time on my hands, in the chapters of a wonderful page-turner.

After taking some time to search, investigate and find books to fit a handful of readers’ interests, I narrowed it down to 11 books to include on your summer reading list. Have a look and enjoy the sanctuary of a good book, or two or three . . . you get the idea. 😉 And don’t worry, each Tuesday’s This & That will also offer more books to entertain your mind.

1. A Modern Jane Austen 


Suzanne Davis Gets a Life by Paula Marantz Cohen

A romantic chick lit book written with intelligence and wit, the 35-year old protagonist decides in her upper east side apartment in Manhattan to go on a quest to find Mr. Right – a la Mr. Darcy. Inspired by Pride and Prejudice, which also inspired Bridget Jones’ Diary, Cohen offers a character to appreciate as she seeks meaning more than anything, and upon being diagnosis with breast cancer makes a choice on how to proceed through life that will surprise and perhaps inspire you.

2. Pulitzer Winner


The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt

Having just received the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction, Donna Tartt’s hefty novel is one to read or perhaps choose as your next book club selection as motivation to complete this well-written tale of a young boy who clings to a painting, The Goldfinch for comfort, for truth, for survival.

3. Seeking Answers


The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton

Having been intrigued and enlightened by Botton’s Status Anxiety, The News offers readers 25 archetypal news stories and expertly navigates the infinite amount of news media to make sense of what we are actually witnessing. Upon reading, readers can walk away calmer and with a sense of mastering the beast of a news machine that seems to be continually growing.

4. An Intriguing Mystery


Kinder Than Solitude: A Novel by Yiyun Li

Taking her readers on a journey back and forth in time, America present day and China in the 1990s, Li follows the paths of three people whose lives are forever changed by a murder that one of them committed. A page turner to discover just who committed the ultimate crime in this tale of a mysterious “accident”.

5. Modern Day Everyday Crisis


Cutting Teeth: A Novel by Julia Fierro

A debut novel by Julia Fierro, a group of thirty-somethings slip away to a beach house in Long Island only to be awakened to the realities their lives have taken and not being too pleased with what they see.

6. A Witty Book for Book Lovers


Lost for Words: A Novel by Edward St. Aubyn

A witty satire about the fierce competition of coveted book awards. From the wrong books being submitted, to a judge embroiled in a scandalous triffle, readers will be laughing and loving St. Aubyn’s latest book.

7. Fellow Sherlocks


 Casebook: A novel by Mona Simpson

A young boy, a mystery and a family unraveling at the seams. The initial pursuit spurred on by a young boy wanting to know what his mother has planned for his future, he quickly realizes his parents are separating. Fixated by the horror, he enlists his own “Watson” and continues to investigate discovering details about the family’s wealth, sanity and other dark skeletons. 

8. Insatiable Curiosity for How the Other Half Lives


The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark by Meryl Gordon

Born into wealth in 1906, Huguette Clark grows up and becomes one of the most well-known celebrities of her time. Being present at the coronation of George V and amassing a personal wealth of more than $50 million, Clark loves and loses and then spends her final years isolated away in her apartment with a grand view of Central Park. Why does her life take an about-face, and what was it like to live with the world at your fingertips? Read and find out.

9. Innovators 

© Disney • Pixar

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace

Trying to inspire a team of colleagues or workers and don’t know how to spark their creativity? Co-founder of Pixar, Ed Catmull shares his philosophy and Pixar’s successful steps in the creativity process.

10. Francophiles


First French Essais: Venturing into Writing, Marriage, and France by Kristin Espinasse

Blogger and author Kristin Espinasse takes readers along with her in her “no rose-colored glasses” telling of how she navigated the French culture after having moved to Provence for the sincere infatuation of the country and eventually for love itself. Similar to a close and dear friend telling you of her woes and triumphs while ardently striving to find what was so longed for in the romanticized French culture, Espinasse’s tale will keep the flame alive and encourage you to visit France sooner rather than later. View her blog here.

11. History Buff


The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark

For lovers of history who always ask “why?”, Christopher Clark weaves readers through the relationships and initially confounding events that led to World War I. With the 100th anniversary dawning this year, many critics are applauding Clark’s revelations and detailed information on how the Eurozone and European politics make a bit more sense upon realizing what occurred just prior to World War I.

I don’t know about you, but after creating this list and reading all of the rave reviews about each of them, summer vacation cannot arrive soon enough. I look forward to reading each of these and would love to hear what you think upon having finished.

Happy reading!


~Why Not . . . Read? (3 part series)

~The Gifts of Knowledge

~Style Inspiration: A White Summer

2 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Build a Summer Reading List?

  1. Every time I come across a book, I write it down in my old diary so that one day I could buy a book without any confusion of “what to read next?” Somehow I have grown to love doing this , even though it takes a long time for me to get a new book . .But I always make sure , I have a new book waiting for me as im completing the one that im currently reading . I believe the list of books you have put up here is great . I am damn sure I’ll read every single one of them , and when I buy and read each book in this list , I’ll definitely let you know 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge .

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