What You Should Read this Summer- Ten Suggestions

This summer will undoubtedly look different for most people,  myself included. Hopefully that means more reading for us all! I know a lot a of people like to take a break with "easier" reads, while some people opt to take on challenges during time off, depending on your work situation. I've got you covered! Here are some suggestions for your time in the sun, by the water, or in inside in the AC:

Craving an adventure but can't take one?
Portage: A Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life by Sue Leaf
I finished this recently and absolutely loved it. I have never been canoeing, but her stories from time on various rivers, mostly in the Great Lakes area, were absolutely captivating. There's something about the mood she creates and her passion for rowing that is contagious. I looked forward each day to escaping to the backyard to read, feeling almost uncomfortable reading it indoors. 

Want something literary, but not something to complicated?
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
This book about a struggling writer who waits tables who ends up in a love triangle sounds may sound a little like an overdone trope, but I promise King delivers. An extremely talented writer, King will have you so invested in the main character by the end that you are on the edge of your seat hoping for her success. I've heard people compare it to Sweetbitter, which I can see (although I thought this was even better).

Need something distracting and fun? 
Nothing to See Here  by Kevin Wilson
Wilson is one of the quirkiest, fun, talented writers of our day and this book is a shining example of this. The main character is hired by an old fried to take care of her steptwins, who burst into flames when emotional. Yup, you read that right.

Want an outstanding memoir?
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
This story of the previous editor of Gourmet magazine was absolutely captivating. She talks about the publishing industry, working during 9/11, food, and her time after. It was a stellar memoir from beginning to end and I need to get my hands on some of her other writing

Feeling nostalgic for your youth?
Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of the '80s and '90s by Gabrielle Moss
This book is a full-color text that talks about the books from most of our youths- Sweet Valley High, Baby Sitter's Club, RL Stine, etc... It's tongue-in-cheek, but also provides some interesting sociological perspectives, looking at what sort of things teen girls gravitate towards.

Want a modern take on The Handmaid's Tale?
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
While of course Atwood's will always be the OG when it comes to reproductive servitude, this book about a corporation that has a compound for women who are paid to have babies for wealthy women who can't conceive (or don't want to). The protagonist ends up as one of the pregnant women there, questioning the entire system.

Still all up in that quarantine cooking frenzy?
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat
I read this book cover-to-cover, learning so much about how ingredients work together and how to be a more intuitive cook. The drawings are adorable, the recipes I have tried excellent, and her writing voice personable.

Stuck at home with your kids and want to improve your parenting skills?
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey
I loved this book as a parent and a teacher and while I think a lot of it were things I was already doing, it helped me better verbalize why. Kids need to struggle and really sharpen their problems solving skills, but a lot of people tend to just help kids too much through the hard things. I remember when Sawyer was learning to dress himself and I would let him cry through battling putting on his shirt the right way, and, guess what? He learned. Recently when he was doing a hard puzzle and getting frustrated I had to remember this, too. Currently he is crying because he doesn't remember how to spell "was" and I won't tell him. We need to let our kids fail so that they can really feel success. 

Want to examine gender roles? 
The Power by Naomi Alderman 
We read this for book club a few months ago and it was fascinating. The author imagines a world where young women develop this sort of electric power that they use to take over the world. But, when things go wrong the reader is left questioning power constructs and gender. 

Need more fuel to fire up your desire to act for social justice/against racism?
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
This book about a boy's detention center in the south post-Jim Crow will break your heart. Coupled with a look at the lack of justice and his superb writing, Whitehead has written yet another book that will make you questions America and how we treat people of color.

Happy reading! 

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