Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Reading

The first week of summer vacation has been filled with pool trips, ice cream, and bike rides to the park. I love the lazy days of summer! Especially now since sitting with my behind in a pool and slurping on an ice cream cone are about the only things I have the energy to do. ;)

But in addition to enjoying the sun and the way it makes my beautiful boys even more gorgeous, I love to dedicate countless languid summer hours to reading. Summer reading is not like winter reading. At least, not for me. When it's dark and cold outside, somehow deep, literary tomes that fuel my mild seasonal blues seem appropriate. But when it's glorious, I want fun books with cheerful endings--something that makes me grin (or that, at the very least, doesn't depress me) and reinforces the fact that the world is indeed a beautiful place. I'm going to share a few of my top summer picks and I would be forever obliged if you would do the same! I'm desperate for a few good books... A week-long trip to the lakes is impending and I need at least a stack to take along.

Happy reading!

Broken for You
Stephanie Kallos

Though this book may seem dark at first glance, it is filled with hope and grace. You'll cheer for the characters, weep when they weep, laugh when they laugh, and ultimately relish every moment that you spend with this glorious book. Five stars, all the way. (BTW, it starts off pretty literary and around mid-point becomes a fast-paced page turner. Don't let that throw you off.)

Love Walked In & Belong to Me
Marisa de los Santos

Have you read any of the Shopaholic books? (The first was recently made into a movie.) Marisa de los Santos debut and the accompanying sequel remind me of those books only with more style and depth. These are fun reads, but they don't shy away from tough topics. I loved them both! 4 enthusiastic stars.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson

I'm not going to lie to you. The first time I started this book I stopped after about 75 pages. But someone encouraged me to get past the seemingly meandering plot line and inconsistencies, and on the second go-round I found myself devouring it. Lisbeth is riveting, and once you meet her the action will leave you breathless. 4 stars, but only because I haven't yet read the rest of the Lisbeth Salander books. They're on my must-read list.

Her Mother's Hope
Francine Rivers

I recently shared on my Facebook page that I received Francine's newest offering in the mail. Though I'm not quite finished with the book, I'm going to jump the gun and recommend it wholeheartedly. It's sweeping and beautiful and heart-wrenching... I can't put it down. When I do put it down I find myself thinking about the characters and wondering what will happen next. It's distracting--in a good way. 4 1/2 stars because I'm not completely finished. When I am, I'm sure it'll be a resounding 5 star book.

Your turn: What have you read lately that you loved??


  1. I smiled when I saw Love Walked In and Belong To Me - I love those books! They are just so darling to me, haha. Currently I'm reading While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky, and it's really good. I was never really drawn to her other stories before, but this one sounded exceptionally interesting. I would also recommend A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly and Crow Lake by Mary Lawson, both literary but very rewarding reads.

  2. Not sure if this book counts because it's non-fiction, but I heard about Blue Like Jazz a while back and it was a great read. I like reading stories about how people interpret Christian spirituality for themselves and what Jesus means to them. I was very intrigued by Donald Miller's thoughts. I know it came out several years ago, but I'd recommend it if anyone who reads this blog hasn't read it yet! :)

  3. I am a personal fan of Phillipa Gordon. I love her way of bringing the Tudor history to life.

    I am currently knee deep into Jane Eyre and LOVING it! I'm making it a personal goal to make it through all the major literary classics (at least all those that I wasn't required to read in university) I plan on tackling Wuthering Heights next and then perhaps moving onto Jules Verne...

  4. I like the No. 1 Ladies Dectective Agency Series....I'm up to book 4 of 7 and still enjoying them!

  5. Charles Martin's newest book, A Mountain Between Us, was absolutely great! It has been two years since his last book, so I was especially excited to read this one! The first book of his that I ever read, When Crickets Cry, is still one of my very favorite books.

  6. I love this post, because I'm struggling to find good books right now. I keep losing interest about 1/3 of the way or 1/2 way through! I've been meaning to check into Francine Rivers' newest book. The others you've recommended look great too!

  7. I ordered Love Walked In after reading this post... I am currently reading Daisy Chain, one you recommended awhile back, and I just finished up After The Leaves Fall...and am awaiting Summer Snow any day now!! :)

  8. Thanks so much for the recommendations! As for non-fiction books, I do love them, too... I just don't read them quite as often or as voraciously as I devour fiction. Brandi, if you liked BLUE LIKE JAZZ you will love A MILLION MILES IN A THOUSAND YEARS, also by Donald Miller. Believe it or not, I liked A MILLION MILES even better than BLUE. It deals with story, and I'm actually going to be using it in the coming weeks to talk about crafting story. Wonderful, wonderful book. Phillipa Gregory I love, the classics are, well, classic, and LADIE'S DETECTIVE AGENCY makes me laugh. Such a fun perspective! The rest of the authors I have never read... Thanks for giving me a list for when I head to the local bookstore!

    Any more recommendations? Keep 'em coming... :)

  9. I enjoyed the new Francine Rivers book, and passed it on to my mom. I just finished Dogwood by Chris Fabry (that you recommended previously). I absolutely loved it. It has quite an interesting ending, with several twists.

    Have you read Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes? I was excited to come across another great author. A great first book.

    I am teaching 5th/6th grade Literature at our homeschool co-op in the fall and I have been reading children's fiction like crazy, trying to pick the books for the year. I have come across some great books.

    Some of my favorite children's fiction authors are: (And you can't go wrong with any of their books.)

    Sharon Creech- I recommend Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, and The Wanderer. They are so good. She has more books, I just haven't read them yet.

    Karen Hesse- Her books are so thought provoking. I like Letters from Rifka, Phoenix Rising, and The Music of Dolphins.

    Lois Lowry- I liked The Giver, but I loved Number the Stars and Gossamer. Gossamer is haunting yet hopeful and sad but beautiful. And so worth reading.

    One more book for children I love is The Cay by Theodore Taylor.

    Thanks for your books recommendations. I love to read and love to read about books. :)

  10. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions, Lori! I love children's fiction, even though my kids aren't quite old enough for it yet... We've read a couple of the C.S. Lewis Narnia books, and the Tale of Desperaux, but they were a bit over my boys' heads. Doesn't stop me from enjoying "kids" books. :)