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Summer Reading List

July 26, 2011

Do you remember those summer reading programs as a kid, whether school through or the library, where you read a certain number of books over summer vacation and were rewarded with McDonald’s gift certificates or a coupon for free pizza? (Why was it always food?) As an admitted nerd who’s also extremely competitive, I loved those programs, racing to fill up my card with stickers or stamps for reading the most books.

Well, some things never change. I’m still a nerd, still competitive and still use summer — while somehow the busiest season of the year — to get more reading done. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed lately:

A Discovery of Witches: think Harry Potter meets Twilight but written for adults. I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did but several good reviews prompted me to pick it up. Warner Bros. recently bought the screen rights so this will be a movie in the next couple of years — but read the book first. It’s not the greatest book ever written but it’s a fun page-turner.

Just Kids: I’m not a Patti Smith fan — I’m not not a fan, just ambivalent — but read this one after a few friends raved about it. Guys, I couldn’t put this book down. For a gritty memoir of New York in the late 1960s/early 1970s and a glimpse at what it’s like in the ‘starving artist’ years, read this. Bonus: lots of retro fashion: One Indian summer day we dressed in our favorite things, me in my beatnik sandals and ragged scarves, and Robert with his love beads and sheepskin vest.

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie: My name is Erin and I’m a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. It’s true. Growing up, I constantly had my nose in a book and more often than not, it was one of the Little House series. If I were to write a book about this childhood obsession — and then take my once (okay, still) dream road trip to visit the actual Ingalls family locations — this would be that book.

Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back: This is only on the list because I’m curious if anyone else has read it. Having spent some time with 4-year-olds, I’d never heard one speak with such maturity as this little boy — quoting scripture, making impossibly-complex sentences — which was the biggest distractor before even considering whether the book has any truth. Has anyone read this?

Sitting on the bookshelf to read right now are Zeitoun, My Booky Wook and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. What are you reading this summer? 

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 9:04 am

    Great suggestions! I just finished The Help, and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. During the summer, I also love reading mindless books, and I am very into Emily Giffin. I was an English Major in college though, and my professors would die if they knew that I read those! 😉

    • July 26, 2011 11:42 am

      I loved The Help — are you going to see the movie?

  2. July 26, 2011 9:31 am

    I’m working on The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (a part of the setting is Down Under ;)), a friend recommended it to me. So far I’m loving it. I’ll have to add that first one to my list!

    • July 26, 2011 11:42 am

      Ooh, I’ll have to check that Kate Morton book out. You know I love Oz!

  3. July 26, 2011 10:44 am

    I’m reading A Discovery of Witches right now and am really enjoying it so far! I recently read Little Bee (which I was a bit disappointed with) and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (a YA book that I loved).

    • July 26, 2011 11:43 am

      I thought I was the only one who didn’t love Little Bee — now there are two. And thanks for the YA recommendation.

  4. July 26, 2011 3:30 pm

    Hi Erin!
    I just stumbled upon your blog today and I love it! I recently moved to the DC metro area and love exploring the city and it’s restaurants and I love that your blog highlights that. I’ve had so much fun looking at all the plaves you’ve been and the restaurants you’ve tried. Just wanted to let you know!

    Ps. I also read Little Bee and was underwhelmed as well. Others looked at me like I was crazy when I said it.

    • July 26, 2011 6:06 pm

      Thanks for reading! There’s so much to see and do in the DC area — have fun exploring and feel free to reach out with questions or tips. I’ll have to check out your blog and see what you’re up to. Welcome to Washington! 🙂

  5. July 27, 2011 4:21 am

    I love summer reading too! And I like that I can pick all my own books now haha 🙂 I’m curious about the Heaven is For Real book too- that seems weird to me that there are impossibly complex sentences in it, I know lots of 4-6 year olds and I rarely hear any complex sentences from them at all haha

    • July 27, 2011 12:16 pm

      You should definitely read the book then! This child speaks in way more complex sentences than I’ve ever heard from a young child — it makes me doubt the validity of his story more than anything else.

  6. July 27, 2011 4:25 pm

    Heaven is For Real is on my summer reading list. But I’m very intrigued by The Wilder Life – I am a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan!!

  7. August 5, 2011 3:35 pm

    I just finished reading “Exposure” by Therese Fowler, and I would recommend it for a good beach read. It covers a weighty topic, but it is well-written, and the character development is delightful.

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