A Lazy Summer Reading List
I’m a summer reader.
For most of the year I struggle through books, leaving them half read or just patiently sitting on a shelf for months, waiting to be picked up.
But once it hits July I suddenly blaze my way through my reading pile in a matter of months.
As soon as I think of summer, I imagine a sun-lounger or hammock in a shady spot, a cold drink and a good book to get lost in.
Perhaps the it’s the mental slowing down; the long lazy days allow the mind to wander, the imagination to be reignited and the focus that a good book requires suddenly becomes alive.
Over the last couple of months I've read some amazing books and I thought I would share my favourites.
So here is my lazy summer reading list (some read and some waiting to be started). I hope you find a little reading inspiration!
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Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
In Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Elizabeth Gilbert delves deep into the topic of creativity.
To say this book was inspirational would be an understatement. She has completely shifted my perception of what it means to be a creative person, and the nature of creativity itself. I feel like this book came into my life at just the right moment, and will be revisited again and again for years to come.
Bringing down the 'creator' from his lofty heights and dispelling some of the myths around creativity, Gilbert re-casts it as an accessible and intrinsic part of human existence. She manages to make you feel like you can, and should, do anything that you dream of. She changes how you approach creativity as something within reach, that should be celebrated and enjoyed. I found Gilbert's perspective refreshing yet relatable.
Creativity is for everyone and Liz Gilbert breaks down the barriers keeping us from living a more creative life.
I adore Liz Gilbert's conversational writing style and her use of personal anecdotes - it makes what could be a slightly dry or perhaps preachy topic into a deeply personal, entertaining and moving book. I found Big Magic hugely inspirational and full of wisdom – applicable yet inspirational, it was the perfect balance between self-help and memoir.
If you enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love you will be sure to enjoy Big Magic.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
From the writer of When Harry met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, Heartburn is Nora Ephron's semi-autobiographical novel about the breakdown of her second marriage.
Her first and only novel, it tells the story of how heavily pregnant Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband is having an affair with a woman with "a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb".
We follow Rachel as she struggles to come to terms with the demise of her marriage and the difficult situation she finds herself in. She is a food writer, and the narration of her world falling apart is interspersed with recipes for 'Key Lime Pie' and 'Potatoes Anna'.
Ephron's dry New York humour is laugh-out-loud funny and her writing is full of hilariously cynical observations about the everyday realities of marriage and domestic life. Heartburn perfectly toes that delicate line where tragedy and comedy collide - I couldn't put this one down.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I devoured this novel in about 72 hours! A New York Times bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere is about race, the nature of motherhood and suffocating weight of family secrets.
Set against the backdrop of 'Shaker Heights', an idyllic mid-western suburbia, it tells the story of the picture-perfect Richardson Family and how their lives are turned upside-down by the arrival of a free spirited artist and her daughter, whose lives become slowly intertwined with the family's.
I really enjoyed the the writer's ability to juggle the many plotlines and multiple points of view, all whilst creating vivid characters with rich inner lives. She manages to portray the complexity of each character with empathy – the good and the bad sides of people are perfectly balanced. It leaves you questioning who is right and wrong, and whether following the rules is always the ethical thing to do. She brilliantly captures that bittersweet moment of coming-of age and the complex dynamics of family life.
Little Fires Everywhere is meticulously crafted and a perfect summer read if you appreciate a thought provoking novel with compelling characters and intricate plot-lines.
And a few on my 'to-read' list...
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
"Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?"
I am succumbing to peer pressure, after seeing about a zillion women reading this on the tube and then it shooting to the top of the bestseller list!
As I had an audible credit I decided to download this as an audiobook – there is something lovely about listening to a book when you're on a flight and I'm saving this one to listen to on the way to Australia.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
"Perfect families, perfect houses, perfect lives. Three mothers, Jane, Madeline and Celeste appear to have it all . . . but do they? They are about to find out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control."
I watched the HBO series of Moriarty's bestseller earlier in the year without realising that it was originally a novel, so this is next on the list!
I recently finished The Husband’s Secret on holiday and it struck the ideal balance between suspenseful page turner and light summer read.
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
The blurb reads 'Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida, makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss - who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married - and blogging about it.' Aviva has to move away and rebuild her life in light of the scandal ,'But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A.'
This book popped up on the Good Reads best fiction books 2017 list and I immediately added it to my summer reading pile. I am always drawn to funny or more light-hearted books in the summer and this book has had great reviews.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
"All over the world women are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain - even death. Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they've lost control. The Day of the Girls has arrived - but where will it end?".
This book ticks all my feminist dystopian fiction boxes and I've heard great things about this one so it's next on my list. Margaret Attwood's The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favourites so I think I'll really enjoy The Power.