Spring Break and summer vacation are right around the corner – hooray! Although I know most of you are busy chasing little ones, maybe you’ll get a few spare minutes to read a little bit (and one can only dream of having a vacation like the woman below – um, can I please be there now?!).
I put together a summer reading list based on recommendations from several women who are voracious readers. Some gave me a description (in italics) of why they liked the book –hopefully this is helpful as you’re perusing the library, book store, or web. I’ve added in a few of my favorites, too!
(I’ve linked to Amazon.com just because it’s easy – not because I think you should get the books there!)
Here’s what made our list:
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik. I love this book because it follows a group of women through multiple decades (who meet for a book club once a month) who start as neighbors and become the best of friends. The story is not super neat or super messy, it just seems like real life. By then end of the book I cared so much about each character, I felt like I knew them – like I was part of their lives. I rarely read a book more than once – I think this is one of three books I’ve read more than once in my life. And just writing about it makes me want to read it again.
The Hunger Games series – A must! There are 3 books, but they were originally written for young adults so they are quick reads.
The Tudor Series by Philippa Greggory – The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl (also a movie), The Boleyn Inheritance – Greggory is such a good storyteller and takes you back to the time of Henry IV. I think the middle book is the best, but you can’t read one without the other. These are also quick reads and even though there is a movie, its not nearly as detailed as the book. If you like historical fiction, and you like knowing what it was like to be a queen one day and then headless the next, then these books are for you.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Seriously, are there people in the world who have not read this book? It is not only so good but the movie was excellent as well. My mom listened to this book and said that each character had its own voice which even added more wonderfulness to the book. Easy read and definitely a social context movie.
Beach Music by Pat Conroy – I read this book so many years ago that I need to reread it but the book did send me into a “I-am-obsessed-with-Pat-Conroy” tailspin. This book has just always held a special place in my heart.
The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman – Now, I don’t know if I would consider this a “beach read” because its pretty intense and heavy – but oh so good. It takes place in 79 AD and is historical fiction. There are 4 parts told by 4 different women. I listened to this book and literally walked around my house with my iPod in my ears. I have never read any books by Alice Hoffman, but read that she wanted to write this book because she was able to trace her family history back to that time period.
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor. Any fan of historical fiction will love this book. This book is, simply put, the best book I have ever read. This is a book that once you start, you will not be able to put down so it is the perfect book to bring with you on vacation where you have all the time you need to read it and enjoy it. It is long (about 900+ pages) but is an effortless read filled with such good drama, suspense, and romance which make it such a page turner. It was written in 1944 and was banned in several states because it was too racy at that time. Kathleen Windsor’s style of writing is timeless, so you would never guess it was written over 6 decades ago. I thought I would never find another historical fiction novel that I would love more than “The Other Boelyn Girl” but then I found “Forever Amber”(sorry Philipa Gregory). “Forever Amber” is AMAZING!!
Sullivan’s Island by Dorothea Benton Frank – Beach read about a beach destinations – gotta love it!
Old classics like Emma by Jane Austen
Any book by Mary Kay Andrews
Any book by Marian Keys
The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson – a Chapel Hill writer and TOTAL beach read
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain – set in Chapel Hill/NC and Virginia
The Color of Water by James McBride – it’s a nonfiction, first published in 1996, I think it has classic potential, about a multi-racial boy and his white mother
Still Alice by Lisa Genova – a sad but moving and enlightening fictional story about early onset Alzheimer’s
Lit: A Memoir by Mary Karr – a nonfiction, also a little sad, but insightful to addiction and alcoholism
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – a must-read nonfiction. It’s a WWII story about courage, bravery and resilience
Room by Emma Donnahue
The Double Bind by Chris – riveting AND a completely shocking ending!
Thank you to Rachel, Kate, Heather, Adrienne, Mary K., Jen, and Robina.
What books did we miss? Post your faves in the comments below!