For Your Summer Reading List—Some Books I’ve Enjoyed

So, the secret’s out: I haven’t been doing much (read: any) sewing lately. May was a busy month with lots of travel (all fun, but still) and tons of evening conference calls when I was home. June has been almost as busy with a couple of work trips and more evening conference calls. I’m finding myself, when I do have unscheduled time, just wanting to bury my nose in good book. So bury I have! Here are some books that have stood out for me over the last year or so—some from BOM, others I just bought on my own. I figured I’d share them in case you were looking for a new read! 

A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)--This book had a very well-done literary device of exploring Russian history through the eyes of one man who never left the inside of a hotel. I really enjoyed this. My short review on Goodreads

Circe (Madeline Miller)--Circe takes a Greek myth and creates an entire fictional world around it. I wasn't sure I'd take to it and ended up completely engaged, to the point where I put Miller's other books of the same ilk on my to-read list. My review on Goodreads

Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)--My review of Everything is here on Goodreads, I gave Little Fires 5 stars but didn't write a review. (I was still working on my thesis while I was reading some of these and didn't have time for reviews!) Both of these books address family ties, the realities of immigrant life, and the realities of living in American (suburban) society. Characters are well-drawn and the story line kept me engaged.

The Underground Railroad (Coleson Whitehead)--I have a very short review on Goodreads. This is my most recent finish on the list and it was a very moving book with an intriguing premise--the Underground Railroad is a physical railroad. Whitehead uses a Gulliver's Travels-esque motif to look at slavery's history and continuing impact. It's obvious why it's an award-winning novel. 

All the President’s Men (Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward)--My review on Goodreads and see my previous blog post.

The Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (Book 1: Midnight Riot, Book 2: Moon over Soho) Here's my short review of Midnight Riot on Goodreads--my review of the second book was just that I still really enjoyed the series. Sort of a fantasy-cozy mystery blend, very fun. These are definitely great light-hearted summer reads.

The Astonishing Color of After (By Emily X. R. Pan)--I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads but never wrote a review of it. I was surprised at how much it grabbed me. It felt honest and mystical at the same time. Wonderful book. Sad but redemptive.

The Philosopher’s Flight (by Tom Miller)--I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads but never wrote a review. I was expecting this to be a rip-off of Harry Potter so I was actually expecting not to make it through. However, although it has a similar feel, it's a completely different story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's in the fantasy genre. Another good light summer read.

Anything by Frederick Backman (i.e., A Man Called Ove, Beartown)—I just yesterday discovered he’s got a new book out, Us Against You, the sequel to Beartown, and started reading it today. He's a Swedish writer and his books always get at least 4 stars from me on Goodreads. He's got a very spare, clean writing style but wonderful characters and believable emotions and reactions. Most of his books are fairly light, even if dealing with difficult topics. Beartown and Us Against You are significantly darker, but still excellent.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women (Kate Moore)--Nonfiction. Gave it 4 stars on Goodreads but didn't leave a review. This wasn't an easy read as it has some graphic detail of illness that can be a little tough to get through, but this is a part of American experience (and particularly women's experience) that I had never heard of before. Pretty incredible stuff.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President (Candice Millard)--Nonfiction. Short review on Goodreads here. Really interesting questions raised about who really caused President Garfield's death.

SeaBiscuit: An American Legend (Laura Hillenbrand)--Nonfiction. Goodreads review here. And no, I've never seen the movie--but I thoroughly enjoyed the book!

And some that I read a long time ago but still stand out for me as some of the best nonfiction books I've read: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (You haven't read it yet? Really?? Here's my Goodreads review) and Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle (Goodreads review here).

And, of course, my usual favorite authors: Frances Dowell, Marie Bostwick, Louise Penny, and Ann Cleeves.  

Hope this helps add to your own to-read list! Friend me on Goodreads so we can swap recommendations. If you're not on Goodreads (and why aren't you?) let me know what your most recent favorite read has been in the comments below.