Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Reading List: Part One

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Whenever summer rolls around I am reminded of growing up, and the awesome summer reading programs our local library put together for the kids in our small town. Reading was always one of my favorite things to do, and I can still remember that magical feeling in the air listening to stories read aloud in the big domed children's room in our library, or participating in a fun book-related activity after storytime. The summer reading program was always a big deal, and my sister and I would anticipate it for months. When it finally rolled around we would go crazy picking out our books and finding a comfy spot to read and read for hours on end.

And now as an adult I still love reading. And I still LOVE the library. So I thought this year I'd put together a summer reading list of my own- a list of new-to-me books I plan on reading over the next few months- and share it with all of you too!

Let me know if you decide to read along with me, and stay tuned for part two, which will publish soon, for a total of 14 books. Happy almost-summer, and happy reading! Feel free to add any of YOUR summer book picks in the comments below.

all summaries and photos taken from amazon.com



1. Signs of Life: A Memoir (I'm in the middle of this one and LOVE it- I'll be posting a review as soon as I finish it).

Twenty-four-year-old Natalie Taylor was leading a charmed life. At the age of twenty four, she had a fulfilling job as a high school English teacher, a wonderful husband, a new house and a baby on the way.  Then, while visiting her sister, she gets the news that Josh has died in a freak accident.  Four months before the birth of her son, Natalie is leveled by loss. 

What follows is an incredibly powerful emotional journey, as Natalie calls upon resources she didn’t even know she had in order to re-imagine and re-build a life for her and her son. In vivid and immediate detail, Natalie documents her life from the day of Josh’s death through the birth their son, Kai, as she struggles in her role as a new mother where everyone is watching her for signs of impending collapse.  With honesty, raw pain, and most surprising, a wicked sense of humor, Natalie recounts the agonies and unexpected joys of her new life.  There is the frustration of holidays, navigating the relationship with her in-laws, the comfort she finds and unlikely friendship she forges in support groups and the utterly breathtaking, but often overwhelming new motherhood.   When she returns to the classroom, she finds that little is more healing than the honesty and egocentricity of teenagers. 


2. The Age of Miracles: A Novel

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
3. Wild: A Memoir- From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.


4. How Did You Get This Number

Nine thoughtful, unfussy essays by the author of the collection I Was Told There'd Be Cake navigate around illusions of youth in the hope that by young adulthood they'll all add up to happiness. The account of Crosley's footloose adventure to Lisbon on the eve of her 30th birthday starts things off in rollicking fashion in Show Me on the Doll: without proficient language skills, getting hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of Bairro Alto, and panicking in front of the myriad QVC channels offered by her hotel, Crosley recognizes that Lisbon was a place with a painfully disproportionate self-reflection-to-experience ratio. There is the requisite essay about moving to New York and replacing her anorexic-kleptomaniac roommate with a more acceptable living arrangement: in Crosley's case, delineated in Take a Stab at It, she is interviewed by the creepily disembodied current occupier of a famous former brothel on the Bowery, McGurk's Suicide Hall.


5. Still Missing

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.



6. Insurgent (don't read this summary if you haven't already read book one, Divergent!)

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.


7. Then Again (Diane Keaton's memoir)

Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.

So begins Diane Keaton’s unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always-thinking Dorothy Hall. To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother, too, and how their bond came to define both their lives. In a remarkable act of creation, Diane not only reveals herself to us, she also lets us meet in intimate detail her mother. Over the course of her life, Dorothy kept eighty-five journals—literally thousands of pages—in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself. Dorothy also recorded memorable stories about Diane’s grandparents. Diane has sorted through these pages to paint an unflinching portrait of her mother—a woman restless with intellectual and creative energy, struggling to find an outlet for her talents—as well as her entire family, recounting a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years. More than the autobiography of a legendary actress, Then Again is a book about a very American family with very American dreams. Diane will remind you of yourself, and her bonds with her family will remind you of your own relationships with those you love the most.

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See you soon for Part Two!

50 comments:

  1. Heading to the library to get some of these books! Can't wait!
    Amy xo

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  2. I'm doing a Summer Reading Challenge as well! Added your picks to my book list! Thanks for the suggestions! :)

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  3. sweet article, lovely post :) wish my site is something like your's

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  4. Great post! I have been looking for some summer reads. I cant wait for part 2

    Zoe
    http://gypsiesister.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. I've already added your books to my reading list as well. I'm always on the look for new incredible authors and their stories. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. Thank you so much for this! I am constantly looking for new books to read now I have a great list to keep me entertained for a bit! :)

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  7. I just started Insurgent and can't wait for my next day off to really dive into it.
    Wild is on my reading list also and I might just have to add Diane Keaton's memoir, I love her!

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  8. These look great! I have a pile waiting for me but I'll probably pick up some of these...if I still have time before I get my reading list for uni ;) my list include: Kafka on the Shore, Engelby, Notes from a Small Island, The Long Song, and The Bone People. Just a week and a half left until exams finish and I can really start - I can't wait!

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  9. I've been looking for good reads for this summer!

    Amanda Rose
    http://sewmuchtosay.blogspot.com

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  10. Thanks for all these suggestions! I think maybe you should start some kind of awesome summer reading program for adults. And we could get cool prizes (Pizza Hut coupons! Wendy's frosty coupons!) like I remember getting when I was a kid! I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to start those programs and I can live vicariously through her.

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  11. Divergent is on my list to read! I think I found a few others too, thanks for the list! Looking forward to the next list :)

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  12. Wild is right up my alley , thanks for this list!

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  13. Great list! I just got Still Missing for Kindle for only $2.99!!

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  14. I'm so happy you posted this! I was looking forward to seeing your recommendations. I'm gonna pick some of them up and start my summer reading!

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  15. I love Summer Reading. This is a really great list. I'll have to add a few to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. (if you're not on goodreads you should try it, I bet you'll like it.) Also, I read Insurgent when it was released, and it was so great! You won't be disappointed.

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  16. I used to HATE having to do summer reading when I was in school. I mean, who wanted to sit with a book when you had pool parties and all day bike riding to do?! Now I absolutely love getting lost in a good book!

    Signs of Life and Wild sound SO good! I'm adding these to my list. Thanks!

    - Jessica V.

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  17. Love this list, particularly Signs of Life and Insurgent.

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  18. Thank you for all the awesome book ideas! I'm always looking for new ones :)

    I LOVED summer reading at the library when I was little. We participated for years and years at our local library and it was so much fun.

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  19. I'm still finishing The Hunger Games Trilogy, but Wild is on my list too. I also want to read: The Divergent Series, 29, Fifty Shades Triology?, The Peach Keeper, Georgia Bottoms + The Weird Sisters.

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  20. I'm working on my own summer reading list right now, and some of these books sound really neat! I think I'll be following along with at least a few of these, and can't wait for your next list!

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  21. Ooh! How Did You Get This Number is making it's way onto my reading list immediately. In fact, quite a few of these are going on my list! Thanks so much for sharing; looking forward to part two!


    Kayla ☆ http://www.kaylanaut.com

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  22. Perfect timing - I have the summer off before starting graduate school, and also have a significant credit at Amazon to spend. Hooray!

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  23. love diane keaton and loved her memoir! fun post : )

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  24. You should read 'When God Was A Rabbit' by Sarah Winman. Amazing read!

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  25. How Did You Get This Number - fantastic, witty, smart & you'll need/want to read her other book. Enjoy!

    ps. thanks for adding to my summer reads. : )

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  26. I LOVE THAT YOU LOVE BOOKS TOO!!! I'm reading The Fault in our Stars now and it's SO GOOD!

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  27. Oooh, I love your list. I NEED to read Divergent! Other books on my summer list are We Need to Talk About Kevin, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and The Hobbit.
    Can't wait to see part 2 of your reading list!

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  28. So glad to find another Arizona blogger! Very nice blog and I love to read (when I can) so thanks for this post.

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  29. I'll definitely have to hit up Amazon or my local library for these books. They all look really good. I love to read (whenever I get a chance!). Thanks for the suggestions and I can't wait for part two! :)

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  30. Oooh!! I'm thrilled you have Wild on here!! And Then Again is BRILLIANT!!! yay!!!

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  31. This looks like an amazing list. I can't wait to jump into them.

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  32. Some good choices there! I'm starting my list off with Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. Sooo good so far!

    ~Alison

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  33. I live this!! I was just searching for some books to read while on my vacation!

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  34. Yay! Summer reading rules! I haven't read any of these books so I am going to put them on my reading list. I am looking forward to the next installment.
    Currently I am reading "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. Hilarious!
    I just finished "The Virgin Cure" by Ami McKay. It was great. I pretty much devoured it. Her first book "The Birth House" was phenomenal.
    I also just finished "The Five Quarters of the Orange" by Joanne Harris. Lovely book.
    Next up is "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children".

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  35. These books look so good! I adored the summer reading programs growing up too. My mom saved all of me and my sister's summer reading program booklets, even ones before we could read by ourselves! :)

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  36. Wild is also on my summer reading list! Although I have many others to get to also...at least two right now...and the Game of Thrones series, the first is completed...many more pages to come

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  37. Sloane Crosley is one of my favorite authors! I hope you love this collection as much as I did when I read it last summer! I'm interested to add some of your picks in with my own summee reading list!

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  38. Definitely putting some of these on my reader! I just finished the book 'Sister' by Rosamund Lupton. I couldn't put it down and finished it in a few days it was so good!

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  39. A few of these were already on my To-Read list but I really liked Still Missing, as well as the author's other book, Never Knowing. Great stuff.

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  40. I've heard rave reviews about Wild, so I picked it up from the library this morning. I'm so excited to start reading it, along with the other books on your reading list! : )

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  41. Great idea, thanks for the ideas! I always have a long reading list going on and I get so excited to add more to it, so thanks again for the suggestions!

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  42. My co-worker passed away in January, he was 31. He was taken from his wife and 2 sons, (2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old). So when I read the summary of Signs of Life, I knew I had to read it. I'm in the middle of it now and it is so good! I will definitely be reading along with you this summer Danielle. Oh I should mention that I met his brother at the funeral and we have been together ever since. :-)

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  43. definitely putting some of these on my list! thanks dani :)

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  44. Oh I am new to this blog. Love it. The reading list couldn´t come at a better time. Especially Signs of Life makes me curious! Thanks for sharing!

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  45. Oh, glad to hear the next Veronica Roth book is coming out! I really liked Divergent; it was a great dystopian-future setting, and I felt there was a lot more to be told about it. Good choices all round, actually!

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  46. Adding the first and last to my library list, I just finished Insurgent. It was just as good as the first. :)

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  47. I just stumbled across your blog, and I could not be more happy about it-- I love a woman who loves to read! This summer, my book club (which I blog about at literarydrinking.blogspot.com)is reading Stone Butch Blues which is a novel by Leslie Feinberg, a transgendered LGBT activist. I'm also starting Divergent (and I'm sure Insurgent will be soon to follow), and who knows what else!

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  48. I just finished Then Again by Diane Keaton and balled after I read it. Not only does it make you appreciate your mom a little bit more, but it also teaches you to appreciate each stage of life no matter what you're doing. Keaton has had such an amazing life and didn't become a mom until she was 50! She has much to teach every woman!
    --julie

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  49. You know, I always forget to look in the biography section. I bet there's some great stuff over there that I don't even know exists. Definitely interested by the Diane Keaton novel, thanks!!

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