I'm on a mission to get more good books into my life this year, and to that end, I've been sneaking in reading time wherever I can find it. Part of what has been working well for me is being a part of this bookish community, and listening to Anne Bogel's delightful podcast, What Should I Read Next. If you're at a loss for what to read, or simply want to spend more time around fellow book lovers, I'm telling you, check these resources out. You won't regret it. Now for the books...
Today I'm joining Modern Mrs. Darcy in sharing a few of the books I've been reading — and loving — so far this summer. In early June, my little family took a trip back to the east coast, which meant I've had an extra-helping of reading time this month. So I have six titles to recommend! Hooray!
First, three titles I would recommend to anyone:
This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick
This nonfiction book had been on my radar for a while, so when I recently stumbled upon a signed edition at my local used bookshop, I snapped it up. As I read the introduction, I found myself nodding along with everything Warnick had to say about always being on the lookout for the next "perfect" place to live. So much of our identity and happiness is tied up in our sense of place, so what happens when you're not thrilled with where you're living? This Is Where You Belong gives us practical tips — like walking instead of driving, and getting to know your neighbors — that can help root us more deeply in our communities, and boost our happiness in the process.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown
I read this for the first time a few summers ago and loved it so much that I'm reading it again — and I rarely reread. This perfect summer book is about a cook who is kidnapped by a female pirate, and it's filled with good (if bizarre) food, swashbuckling, high seas adventure, and romance. And I love that it's written by an author who lives in my town, a fact I didn't even realize until after I got the book home!
I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O'Farrell
After reading my first O'Farrell novel (This Must Be the Place) in book club, I was hooked. I Am I Am I Am is a memoir told through seventeen brushes with death, and it had me so spellbound that I neglected making dinner, and in fact hardly looked up from the book until it was over. And can I just say how gorgeous that cover is? Read it.
Next up, three titles that I thoroughly enjoyed, but might not be for everyone:
Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods (The Themis Files trilogy) by Sylvain Neuvel
I'm not a science fiction junky, but every once in a while I find a sci-fi book that grabs me and won't let go — the last one I read that fits this category (smart writing, mind-bending plot) was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. In this trilogy by debut author Sylvain Neuvel (the third installment was recently published), giant robot body parts from outer space are discovered buried on earth. At first, no one knows what they are or how they got there — the first person to find one was a young girl named Rose, who rode her bike into a hole and landed in a giant metal hand. Rose grows up to be a physicist, and works on putting these parts together to make something... Whether this something is good or very, very bad quickly unfolds in this unputdownable series.
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
I adored this family saga from the author of Maine and Commencement about two sisters who journey from their small village in Ireland to America in 1957. One sister ends up the matriarch of a large family; the other, a cloistered nun in rural Vermont. Family secrets, lush writing, and revelations about the human spirit abound.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This book has been talked up everywhere, but for some reason I didn't feel confident that I would enjoy it. So I'm grateful I spotted it on my mother in-law's bookshelf just at the moment I needed a new book in my hands — because I loved it. This is compulsively readable literary fiction, with characters you can root for and a twisty little mystery. Ng offers an insightful perspective on belonging, adoption, culture, the lure of perfection, and what makes a family.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my reading life as much as I enjoyed sharing it. Let's do it again next month!