As an English teacher, it’s no surprise that I’m an avid reader and always have been. I grew up going to the library regularly and poured through books faster than I could check them out. I primarily teach the classics in the classroom. This usually means that when I get home, I’m often tired of analyzing Shakespeare or Orwell; instead, I usually reach for something a little lighter in the evenings. Brandon and I both prefer to unwind by reading before bed. We try to do twenty to thirty minutes a night with some evenings being better than others. I’ve read some incredible books lately and wanted to share them with you as a summer reading list. Since I have summers off, I find that it’s my best time for reading. I try to get through one new book every two weeks. Here’s what I’ve read lately and what I’d recommend for your library. For all the guys, many of these are great for you as well. Or, scroll to the end to check out Brandon’s preference on magazines:
The Goldfinch: Traumatized by a tragic accident and the death of his mother, The Goldfinch tells the story of a young boy, Theo, as he navigates life. The novel spans over decades and has a heavy art influence. The main premise of the plot is that Theo has a stolen painting, along with a multitude of issues. It’s hard to explain what this book is about, due to the length and detail of the story. I’m recommending this one to guys and girls because of the fantastic storyline and its artistic writing.
The Woman in Cabin 10 (Not Pictured): A fantastic thriller with a cruise ship setting. A travel reporter with a scarring past stumbles upon a mysterious girl who suddenly disappears without a trace while on a fancy cruise ship. She begins to try and discover what’s happened, in an effort to prove she isn’t crazy and for the sake of the woman. I couldn’t put this one down and was shocked at the twist ending!
Big Little Lies: Now an HBO show (I’m dying to watch), this novel centers around four women and their different stories. As mothers in a wealthy area of California, these moms have secrets and issues that they’re trying to cover up. The plot is told in alternating perspectives and bounces from one point of view to the next.
Perfect Days: This is a kidnapping story and a major thriller! A disturbed medical student becomes obsessed with his “dream girl” and kidnaps her, tracing the path that the young woman writes about in her screenplay. Set in Brazil, this book is perfect for a beach or a vacation read. I flew through it!
The Sacred Search (Not Pictured): The Sacred Search changed my life. I’m not exaggerating here. The nonfiction book is Christian based and seeks to help anyone who is in the dating game. It gives scripture and advice that focuses you on why you are dating and if you are dating with intentionality in finding your spouse. I read this right before I started dating Brandon and it couldn’t have come at a better time!
Slouching Towards Bethlehem: This is actually a collection of essays. I love Joan Didion and her writing style and this is a nice one to have as you read little bits at a time. Each essay is a few pages and Didion is a master story teller. There’s something for everyone in this collection and I’d highly recommend it if you like to read just a little bit before bed.
The Girl Before: This is another psychological thriller told in alternating perspectives of two girls. Their common thread is that they lived in the same apartment, although it was at different times. There are several rules that the builder has enforced on the apartment and people claim that by living there, you become a different person and that the home is almost alive. I don’t want to give too much away with this one, but if you like a fast paced novel with twists and turns throughout the book, this will definitely keep you reading at night!
If I had to pick my top favorites from the above list, I’d select The Woman in Cabin 10 (for a psychological thriller that you can’t put down) and The Goldfinch for its merit and artistic writing style, plus a compelling storyline. Have you read any of these? Or, do you have any other suggestions I can add to my summer reading list?