An avid reader most of my life, I have devoured thousands of books with gusto. However, when I started college I found myself reading for pleasure less and for necessity more. After I graduated, weddings, work, commutes, home purchases and subsequent remodels, young puppies, etc. took up much of my time and left little time for pleasure reading. This summer, with the house nearly done and the puppy approaching a year, I’ve found myself with more freedom to spend some moments reading again, falling in love with the art of storytelling all over again. These have been some of my favorites this summer – a list of mostly quintessential beach reads that celebrate the spirit of summer and never failing to leave you happier than when you began reading. With a solid four weeks left of summer, it’s not too late to enjoy any or all of these gems! Happy reading!
The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes
When over-worked, stressed suburban wife and mother Abbey falls off an escalator in Nordstrom, she is launched into an alternate reality of a life that might have been hers should she have accepted a date with wealthy Alex van Holt a decade earlier. It’s a beautiful tale with the lesson of “you never know what you have until it’s gone”. The predictable ending didn’t keep it from being any less enjoyable.
The Nest by Cynthia D`Aprix Sweeney
Having received rave reviews from critical and then less than stellar reviews from readers, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began the book of the summer. I was left delighted. The tale of four siblings about to inherit the mid-life nest egg left for them by their father, all are relying on the money in their own way. When the eldest brother make a reckless decision and costs them their fortunes, all are spat out into a world they never wanted and somehow each manages to find themselves.
The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall
The Amazon description of “The Balance Project is a story of loyalty, choices, and balance that will resonate deeply with all women who struggle with this hot-button issue” perfectly describes why I loved this book so much. Lucy is an assistant for a power career women who seems to have it all and demands every bit of Lucy’s time and life. However, when Lucy makes a split second decision in anger and causes her bosses life to unravel she must begin to make her own decisions in life.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This one can hardly be considered a beach read as it tacked some meaty subjects but it was wonderful enough to make the list all the same. Told in an alternating fashion, each chapter jumps a generation giving the story a unique common thread. A beautiful tale about the very different fates of African two sisters and their offspring, one sister marries a slave trader thus guaranteeing herself and her children a life of status. The other is forced into the slave trade and is taken to America, creating a different set of circumstances for her future generations. It’s intriguing and sobering – a wonderful tale.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Anyone who knows me is aware that I’ve been on a major culinary kick the past year and eating out is practically a hobby. This coming of age tale of a young lady who moves from the rural midwest to NYC combines both of those loves as she snags a job in a top New York restaurant. I loved learning more about how a top end restaurant functioned and the personal tale of growth was a relatable story.
Pretty Much Screwed by Jenna McCarthy
Hilarious and so real, this is the story of a resentful wife who is shocked by her husband’s declaration that he no longer loves her and wants a divorce. There’s no other women. There’s no midlife crisis. He just doesn’t love her. The tale that ensues is how Charlotte responds and picks herself back up. Building a new life as she discovered herself again. It was funny and flew by.
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Similar bases as The One That Got Away, this tale revolves around a one-second decision Kara makes to leave the bar with an old friend or stay and continue to socialize. Based on the outcome of that choice, Kara’s life takes dramatically different pathways. Told in an alternating chapter format, this is predictable and darling.