If you’ve been following along for a while now, you probably know that in addition to cooking, we are major book addicts. We both love to escape into a good story and while our book tastes do diverge a little at times, we often read a lot of the same books and both love to hear about what others are reading.
Summer 2019 has been a busy one for reading, chock full of interesting books. I did a little update with my early summer reads back in June. You can find that post here. My reading has slowed down a little since then but I’ve still managed to get a few more finished. Some have been great, others a little less so. Here’s What I’ve Read This Summer (so far!):
THE BUZZY GOAL SETTING BOOK
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
If you’re a fan of Rachel Hollis then you’re probably well aware she had a new book out this spring. The follow up to her huge book Girl, Wash Your Face, her newest nonfiction piece is Girl, Stop Apologizing. It’s a book meant to motivate women to really go after those things they have been dreaming about. While I admire her success and think she has some good ideas, this book just wasn’t for me. Pick it up if you’re looking for some cheerleading and goal setting encouragement this summer.
A MEMOIR FROM A WORLD CHANGER
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
This book was AMAZING. I actually listened to the audio version, and definitely found myself taking the long way home more than once just to listen a bit longer! The work being done by Ms. Gates and the Gates Foundation is absolutely going to change the world. In the book, Melinda discusses her own journey from mom and Microsoft employee to global women’s advocate. She believes (and supports these beliefs with data!) that by lifting up women – empowering them with education, marriage equality, and reproductive health choices – that you lift up the world. And I totally agree with her. Interestingly, while she does share her own story, she does so really through the lens of others. She deftly deflects the attention from her and onto women who inspired her, taught her, and are out there doing the work. It’s an inspiring book and should be required reading. (PS: Bill Gates also wrote a GoodReads review for her book a few months ago and it’s pretty sweet. Not surprisingly, he gave it 5 stars!)
THE ONES ABOUT CUBA
Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
I love a good historical fiction novel (or two!) in the summer and last month, I dove into the world of revolutionary Cuba with these two novels from Chanel Cleeton. I really enjoyed both of them. They are light, plot driven novels that gave me a glimpse into some of the history behind the revolution in Cuba, America’s involvement in Cuba, and the life of Cuban-Americans in Florida. These are great books for fans of Beatriz Williams or Susan Meissner.
A POP CULTURE ROM-COM
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
I’m going to admit that I didn’t love this book. Jasmine Guillory is hugely popular right now. I picked up The Proposal after Reese Witherspoon picked it for her Hello Sunshine book club earlier this year. The book follows a woman named Nikole, whose story starts when she turns down a high profile proposal at a baseball game. Hailed as chick lit with a feminist edge, this one fell a little flat for me. It wasn’t a total miss, but I was distracted by the nearly incessant pop culture references. Worth picking up if you love a good romantic comedy with a twist.
A HISTORICAL FICTION WINNER
Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly
Now, I’m going to preface this by saying I have not yet read Lilac Girls, the first book in this smash series by Martha Hall Kelly. While this book is the second in the series, it is actually a prequel to Lilac Girls so it works to read them out of release order. This book follows Eliza Ferriday, a New York socialite, and her dear friend Sofya Streshnayva, a Russian cousin of the Romanovs. The book follows these women through the fall of the Russian Imperial dynasty. It is a fascinating story and an interesting look at a period of history I didn’t know much about. A total winner for historical fiction fans.
A BOOK ABOUT FAMILIES, SECRETS, AND FORGIVENESS
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Warning: this is a heavy book. It is about friendship, marriage, parenthood, and mental illness. More of a character study than a truly plot driven novel, this one was also just ok for me. It is very well written and the character development is fantastic, but ultimately it wasn’t my favorite.
A SWEET BRITISH SUMMER BOOK
The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick
This is such a sweet book for summer. Written by the author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (which I also loved), the book tells the story of a librarian, Martha Storm, who struggles to connect with people as much as she connects with books. After receiving a mysterious book one night that appears to have come from her dead grandmother, Martha sets off on a quest to find her grandmother and unravel the tangled family history she has buried. The book is charming, funny, and heartwarming and would be the perfect summer beach read!
THE BOOK EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Ok. If you follow books, you’ve probably heard about this one. This nonfiction work follows the lives of three women over a period of eight years. More specifically, it is the story of their sex lives and how sex, power, gender, and inequality affect women in this country. It is definitely a unique book and not similar to anything I’ve read previously. I think it will be a much talked about book this summer and fall but at the end of the day, I wasn’t quite sure of the author’s intent and the stories of the women were pretty depressing. Pick it up if you want to be in on the bookish conversation. Just a heads up: the content in the book is fairly graphic at times. I would use caution if listening to the audio version – this is definitely not a book for kids!
ANOTHER QUIRKY BRIT
The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
This another Reese Witherspoon pick on my list and another 3.5 star read for me. The Cactus is the aptly named story of Susan Green, a somewhat prickly, set in her ways Londoner who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant in her 40’s. This is a pretty light read, with just enough drama and action to keep the book moving forward, but without sacrificing character development. It reminded me a bit of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. A good pick if you’re looking for an offbeat but lighthearted story.
Well friends, that’s it for my most recent reads. Hopefully you’ve found a book or two to add to your list!
I’ve got a large TBR (to be read) stack on my nightstand and in my kindle now, so look for an update again this fall.